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Go Out And Play! How Midlife Play Can Energize You With A New Perspective And A Lot Of Fun

Episode 38 | (00:00):

Hey there, friend, what are you doing in here? Go out and play! Do you remember when your mother used to tell you that? Well, today we're gonna be talking about how midlife play can energize you with a new perspective and a whole lot of fun if you just get out there and do it.

So if you're feeling a little meh, a little blah these days, this could be the secret ingredient that you're missing. I'm gonna tell you about what midlife play is, how it benefits you in your life and at your work.

And then I'm gonna leave you with a list of ideas to consider so you can figure out how you're going to be incorporating play into your life, starting today, all right? You ready? Yeah. This is gonna be a good one. I know. I'm excited too. Let's go!

Hey there, Easy Ager. If you're not already an Easy Aging® Insider, go to right after this episode and sign up.

As I'm recording this, it's the second week in June and summer is almost here. I mean, it's officially coming in on the 21st but let's just go with it. And let's just say, summer is upon us. On Facebook, I have seen a number of you midlifers with graduates, and I just wanted to offer a quick congratulations.

Whether it's a high school or a college graduate you have in your family, whether you're a parent or a grandparent or an aunt or an uncle or whatever it is, I just wanna say, that's quite an achievement. And two words for you here: Well done!

All right, so today we're going to be talking about midlife play and playing. Now, if you think play is just for kids, think again. Because understanding how play benefits you as an adult can be your ticket to less stress, more energy and a new attitude, even a new mindset, that energizes you and refreshes you.

Remember when you were growing up and your mother said, "Go outside and play"? Well, she probably did that because you were driving her crazy inside the house and she just wanted you out of the house, right? But that was a different time. That was when our parents didn't have to keep an eye on us 24/7.

And half the time, I am exceptionally confident that my parents didn't even know where my brother and I were until we came barreling through the door when the street lights came on. That was our sign. The street lights have come on. It's time for you to go home now. But we were like a pack of wolves. We were just running around all over the place.

Now, when your mom told you to go outside and play, little did she realize that she was encouraging you to do something that was going to benefit you for the rest of your life. So if you're feeling a little blah this summer — maybe the heat's getting to you — play could be the secret ingredient that's missing from your life.

So let's check out a few things about midlife play and how it can benefit you, even at work. And I'm gonna give you a few things to consider, a list of things to consider about how you want to be playing this summer, all right?

So first, let's define play. What is it? Honestly, midlife play can be anything you want it to be as long as you find it relaxing and fun. That's pretty simple, right? You can play games. You can play pranks. You can play sports. You can also collect stamps. You can watch a movie. You can paint a canvas.

The "what" of play doesn't actually matter. All that matters is that you engage with it and you enjoy it and you feel refreshed at the end of it.

So that's what play is or isn't. It's a pretty wide berth, isn't it? But here are some benefits of playing and enjoying play on a regular basis, whatever form you choose.

Midlife play can lower your stress levels. When you're having fun, you can trigger a release of endorphins in your body. These endorphins are your natural, feel good chemicals. And when they start flooding your body, you'll experience an overall sense of wellbeing.

Have you ever had that happen where you're just laughing with friends or you're having a great time, and you're like, (sigh) "All is right with the world."

And one fun fact: these endorphins can even relieve pain temporarily. Sometimes I'll have a headache and then I'll start laughing with friends, or I'll start doing something and getting really engrossed in what I'm doing and my headache disappears, for a while at least. Always consider these endorphins can help you if you have any pain.

Another thing midlife play can do is improve your relationships. You know, when you walk in the door with a playful nature, you're laughing, you're having fun with other people, you smile easily... that alone can increase intimacy and trust within your personal and professional relationships.

And being playful can also help you as you meet new people and form new friendships. Because when you have a lighthearted, playful mindset, people just naturally gravitate toward you. It's just the way things are.

Midlife play enhances brain function. I tell you, this is one of my favorite ones. If you like puzzles or crosswords or chess or anything like that, your brain is silently saying, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you." Because any time you give your gray matter a challenge, you are improving your brain function and thwarting memory problems.

Play can help prevent depression. Play can stimulate your mind. No matter where you are in midlife, we all learn best when we're having fun, right? So if you're playing and having a good time, more than likely you're going to remember more and you're going to learn more. Always a plus.

And play can help boost your creativity and your problem-solving skills. Play can even give you more clarity in midlife, because as you relax and you get outta your head and you just lighten up a little bit, you're gonna be opening yourself up to possibilities. You're gonna be more receptive to new ideas. And you're going to start getting very clear on who you are and what you want at this point in your life.

And last but not least, midlife play helps you feel younger and more energetic. And when you have energy and vitality, you are at your very, very best. And who doesn't want that?

Those are some of the benefits of play in general. Now, play in your work. You think, "Can I play at work?" Well, according to Lynn Barnett, who's a professor of recreation, sports and tourism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Whew, that was a mouthful!), midlife play can help you at work because it helps you accelerate learning, boost your productivity and heighten job satisfaction.

She adds that "highly playful adults" experience the same stressors as other people, but they perceive and react to those stressors differently. And that allows them to shrug things off at work more easily.

So those are some of the benefits of how play can help you in life and at work. But let's talk a little bit about how to play. How am I supposed to be playing Michelle? What does it look like? Well, here's the deal ...

As an Easy Ager, we know that things don't have to look a certain way. So honestly, there's no right or wrong way to play. It can be mental play. It can be physical play. It can be goofy. You know, you're hanging out and being goofy and laughing with your friends. You could be playing hopscotch.

You could be enjoying a hobby so much that you lose track of time. If something interests you, explore it. It could be fun. And if it's not fun, go on to something else. Don't worry about it.

What I'm doing right now is, I'm currently revisiting the rules of backgammon and chess. Oh my gosh, it's been so long since I played either one of these. I don't even remember how to play backgammon, so it's kind of like starting from scratch. It's just like the proverbial blank slate, but it's fun. I'm learning how to play this again.

I do remember playing chess and backgammon quite a bit when I was younger so I thought, "Oh, this will be kind of fun. Let's see what we got."

So here's a list of things to spark some ideas for you on how you're gonna be incorporating play into your life in the next few days.

You can enjoy games that you played when you were a child. Now, normally I would say go to the "five and dime," but I'm not sure five and dimes even exist anymore. Do they? Oh, well maybe they do. I'm sure they exist somewhere.

Anyway, I'll just say, go to Walmart or Target or the Dollar Store. Dollar Tree may have what you need. Pick up some marbles or some jacks or a jump rope, grab a kite to fly, throw a Frisbee. If you can still do it, do a hula hoop.

I don't think I've been able to do a hula hoop since I've gotten hips. But I was really good at it when I was younger.

You can also revisit old hobbies, take up new hobbies, play with your children, play with your grandchildren, play with your pet. Just get outside, go to the neighborhood park, go to a walking trail, do something that interests you, something that's gonna leave you feeling refreshed at the end of it.

So let's have a moment of honesty here. Does Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime or whatever you're watching...

If you sit and watch that for hours and hours on end, does that really make you feel refreshed at the end of all of it? Or are you just tired and you just wanna go to sleep? Think about it, all right? There are other things you can do besides watch TV or play video games.

And now that we can get out and about again a little bit more, think about hosting a regular game night at your house and inviting some friends over. Participate in a sports league. I wanna do this one: play miniature golf or shoot pool or go bowling.

The key here is to just start hanging out with people who are playful and uplifting to you. Just start hanging out with them. It's gonna be a very contagious feeling, and you're gonna become more playful and uplifting yourself.

So those are just a few ideas to get you going to think about how you can start incorporating play into your life. To recap, midlife play is a really vital part of our lives. It helps us relax. It helps us have fun and lighten up a little bit. Taking yourself too seriously can make you grumpy and honestly, kind of boring.

Don't be boring. Enjoy life to its fullest, and find your joy again and get out there and play this summer. And when you figure out what you're going to do and how you're going to play, come on over to the Facebook group and tell us: how are you scheduling more play into your life and what activities refresh you the most?

The name of the group is Easy Aging for the Baby Boomer and Gen X Years. So come on over and join us and join in on the conversation, okay? And again, if you're not an Easy Aging® Insider, go to and sign up now.

That's it for today. I hope this gave you some good ideas on how to play and until next time, peace, love and blessings to you and yours. Take care. Bye-bye!


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