A common misconception is that playtime is just for kids. But just like the Harry Potter books and jam butties, adults need it in their lives too.

The truth is that we can all utilize a healthy dose of merriment to relax, fuel our imagination and help us to problem solve.

As a responsible adult it can be difficult to be spontaneous. You’ll probably have a job and other commitments in your life like a family, pets or even worse, a box-set addiction.

You need to schedule time in for play. Without planning, real life will end up getting in the way like an ugly photo-bomber and it won’t happen at all.

But what do you mean by play?

Playful games for adults

The dictionary tell us that play is "engaging in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose." The problem with this definition is that play has numerous practical purposes. For example, It helps us to learn about each other and how we react to situations.

Play can be as simple as a game of I-Spy or taking an unusual route to work. It’s about putting your focus in a specific direction, away from the daily grind. It feels fun because our brain rewards us for doing something out of the ordinary.

Play is pretty much the best way to learn about and connect with other people because when we play we have to deal with challenging situations that expose our personality. Nowadays many employers use play as a means of problem solving and increasing productivity and staff morale.

Playful Limbo dancePhoto by Michael Sprague

Socialising with friends is a good place to start.

‘But I’m on social media all the time!’ I hear you say.

Believe it or not, hanging out on Facebook isn’t really socializing. Especially if you’re sitting on the toilet, sobbing at wedding photos of your ex.

Pick up the phone, get in touch with your actual friends. Arrange something. And then put the smartphone down before you get sucked back into the social media vortex!

Ahem. Obviously make sure you finish reading this article first. *cough*

Playing music

Put aside some time to do something fun.

Certain ‘inspirational’ quotes seem to suggest we should all just do what we enjoy ALL THE TIME. The reality is that unless you’re Keith Richards that’s not always possible.

What is fun for you? What was fun before life got so serious? Put some time in your diary to just let go. (Unless you’re waterskiing, in which case it’s probably best to hold on.)

The American poet Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr once said, ‘Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.’

Put some play back into your life and become a happier, more productive you.