Stop staring at that screen. Go outside. Play. Get some fresh air.

That might be something you tell your kids, but do you take your own advice? You should. Play is good for grown-ups too!

Do you remember at what age you stopped feeling playful or thought you were just too old to act like a kid? Adulthood is serious business right? We have bills to pay. And more bills to pay. We have a stressful job (or two) in order to pay those bills. And if you’re a parent you have little lives to manage. And if you are in what they call the sandwich generation, you have children and aging parents to care for. That’s a lot of responsibilities. You might be saying to yourself, “who has time to play?” or “I can’t take a break because no one else will take care of things the way I do.” You are valuable and you are needed. But how can you be there for others if you’re overwhelmed and starting to unravel yourself?

Our smartphones and computers stop working when their batteries are empty so it’s not fair to expect more from yourself. But play can be your charger that restores your energy. Researchers are discovering that play can be the important means to reducing stress and enhancing overall well-being.

If you’re already biking, running or throwing a ball around with your kids, that’s great. That sort of play has its benefits but true “play” needs to be just for fun with no agenda or goal. You can try coloring, skipping, staring at the clouds to see what shapes they make—think back to what you enjoyed when you were a kid. Do something just for the pure enjoyment and recreation of it with no seriousness or practical purpose. With dishes in the sink, bills to pay, and college financial aid forms waiting, it can be so hard but play doesn’t have to take long for you to enjoy some benefit. Face it. There will never be “enough time” to get everything done so don’t burn yourself out trying. Read more about the value of play for adults.

Here at Edward’s Garden Center we encourage our visitors –big and small—to explore and enjoy our gardens and check out our big wooden checker set and train track. So stop by and set your grown-up duties aside for awhile. Recharge your personal battery with some good old-fashioned play.