Over the last year or so I have felt really tired.

Tired to the point where even the things I normally enjoyed doing, felt like a chore. I went through many blood tests and made changes to my lifestyle, but not much seemed to help. I finally went to see my acupuncturist (who really does so much more than acupuncture) and he after he told me I had adrenal fatigue, he gave me supplements, suggested dietary changes and gave me one last prescription I was surprised to get.

As I was walking out the door he said, “One more thing… you need to have more fun! Go to more parties, take a weekend off with your wife without the kids and play! Have fun! Lighten up!” That suggestion took me completely by surprise, in fact it felt more like a chore — more exhausting than invigorating.

But as I started to think about it, I could see that fun was missing from my life. I would always choose to go to bed early instead of staying up late for a party. I would choose to wake up early and mediate and workout instead of dancing the night away. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized what an important part of my healing being playful is.

In his book Play, Stuart Brown writes about the importance of playfulness and how the opposite of play is not work, it is depression. Brown says without play we have no humor, no innovation, diminished creativity, and increased depression and physical inactivity; whereas life with play has humor, optimism, increased physical activity and deep engagement and that playfulness is the key to unlocking ones innate personal talents.

Stuart Brown writes “When play is denied over the long term, our mood darkens, we lose our sense of optimism and we become anhedonic, or incapable of feeling sustained pleasure

As I’ve begun to realize the importance of playing more in my life, I’ve been embracing the qualities of play, listed here:

  • Stepping out of normal routine
  • Finding novelty
  • Being open to serendipity
  • Enjoying the unexpected
  • Embracing a little risk
  • Finding pleasure in the heightened vividness of life

I really have been exploring how to be more playful in my life, and it really does make a difference. I have been enjoying traveling and stepping out of my normal routine: dancing, late night swimming, waterslides (twice in one week!) and paying attention to serendipities; and I must admit, I have been feeling significantly better.

If you are feeling stuck, lacking creativity, feeling depressed, exhausted or tired, ask yourself: How can I add more playfulness into my life?

Summer time is the perfect time to increase your playfulness, so get out there and remember how you felt when school was over and the summer fun was about to begin. Make this summer the best one yet!