Why You Should Step Away from Your To-Do List…and Play!

Fall is setting in here in Middle Tennessee, and leaves have started changing. This is one of my favorite times of year to hike. My wife and I were out for a hike not long ago, and along the trail we spotted a pair of squirrels chasing each other from tree to tree. They’d run up and around one tree like a corkscrew, spiral back down and leap to another. Watching them play together was a joy. It reminded me how easy it can be to forget to play.

Play by Justin Foster

When was the last time you played? I’m not talking about ordering the vanilla and banana side-by-side milkshake this weekend when you usually get chocolate. When was the last time you set aside your busyness and really dove in, immersed yourself in something that you genuinely enjoy? For those of you with children, they model this for you on a consistent basis.

I love to play. Yet, often I get laser focused on getting things done or planning what needs to get done. I don’t believe I’m alone in that. I suppose that is wired into how I was created. The truth is, I was also wired for play. Sometimes I just need a reminder. Maybe you do too.

So, let this serve as a reminder for you. Go play, have fun. Because when you do there are 3 rewards waiting for you. 


When we play, we are rejuvenated, refreshed and re-energized. Losing ourselves in a game, a story or an adventure feeds our minds, our hearts and our souls. If you’re feeling run down or overwhelmed, make time to play.


When we play, the act itself opens up our imaginations. We expand our creativity, ingenuity and problem solving abilities. Each of those will help us in other areas of our lives too. When I play, I think differently, visualize things and exercise my creative side. I need that. It excites me and it also helps me in other facets of life.


When we play, we roll with the punches and go where our minds take us. We’re whimsical. Play is when I can stop planning, organizing and thinking ahead and just live in the moment. That’s not my natural tendency, but I love the times when I can lose track of time and logic and embrace each passing whim like our cat when she races around the house. She races up and down the stairs like a maniac just for fun.

We need to play. Yes, we need to have fun, laugh, be silly. When we do, we can reap the rewards of rejuvenation, imagination and spontaneity. Stop being a slave to your task list and things you say are making you “crazy busy.” Trust me, you need a break. Let go of all that and play.

Question: What do you do for play? I’d love for you to share your ideas with other readers in the comments section below. 


Please note: I encourage reader discussion, however, I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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