Healthy Habits – The Importance of Play

Healthy Habits – The Importance of Play

THE CHANGE: Incorporate play into your daily routine.

WHY: When we approach everything as a form of playing, then everything we do can be fun. Nothing is boring, drudgery, tedious.

It’s a matter of remembering what it was like to be a child. Take my 6-year-old daughter Noelle as an example. Everything she does becomes a game, an opportunity for wonder and exploration, or at the very least an opportunity to sing a song. She’s never bored. Why is that? Because she doesn’t see anything as boring. Everything is new, and there’s always a game you can play.

TheImportance of Play - Girl Singing

We can do that too. Every chore can be turned into play. Every walk to the store can be infused with a beginner’s mind, so that we see our surroundings afresh, ripe for exploration. Every boring work task can be turned into a challenge, a game.

My 8-year-old son Seth runs everywhere, jumps everywhere. We’re walking along the street and he’s a werewolf, a wizard, a superhero. A living room becomes a place to make a fort, Styrofoam becomes a toy, and if there’s nothing to play with, he’s pacing around making up stories in his head. How can you ever be bored when you see life like this?


1. Pick a 10-minute spot in your workday, and mark it on your calendar as play. Actually, any activity can be play, but we often get bored with work tasks, so let’s infuse play into work.

The Importance of Play - Break dancer

2. During this 10-minute spot, see what you can do to turn your current work task into play. There are lots of ideas: sing as you do it, give yourself a challenge, give yourself points for doing different things, imagine you’re in a movie when you walk into a meeting, dance, see how fast you can do something, pretend you’re a wizard, pretend everyone around you is a vampire, call your co-workers “Jeeves”, talk to your computer and give it a name, do a victory dance when you finish something, pretend you’re new at whatever you’re doing and you’ve never done it before.

I can’t stress the importance of work as play enough. It has turned my life into something joyful, it’s allowed me to create and accomplish so much more than ever before, and I love every minute of it. I wish you nothing less than this simple happiness.

This article courtesy of Leo Babauta. For more from Leo visit

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  • Thank you for the reminder. I think a lot of today’s kids need to be taught how to pretend. I don’t see our neighborhood kids playing cowboys or Batman like I did as a kid. Even hide & seek seems to be a lost art. Teaching them how to play will bring it all back to us.

    • Gia

      Great comment Peggy Sue. I totally agree that in teaching and allowing our children to play more we receive a new perspective on our own lives! Much Joy! ~Gia~

  • Great advice Leo. My two favourite games are people watching and getting my body to work better. I play them whenever I can :)


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