How are you doing with your play time?
Not sure you should even have a play time? Are you too grown up and mature for downtime, rest, and even . . . play? Well, maybe this is part of what you’re missing in life, and you’re beginning to pay the price.
Research conducted by Dr. Stuart Brown, psychiatrist, clinical researcher, and founder of the National Institute for Play, reveals that a lack of downtime leads to lower work productivity, social isolation, and even depression. Brown says, “The opposite of play is not work—the opposite of play is depression” (Dare to Lead, 107).
Through extensive studies, Dr. Brown and his institute have discovered that play increases empathy, creativity and innovation. It actually impacts our brain waves by creating a “cool down” from the frenetic pace of synapses permitting neurons to pass electrical or chemical signals to other neurons.
If you want to be more productive at work, become intentional about cultivating play and sleep. Dr. Brene Brown, research professor at the University of Houston, puts it this way: “We have to let go of exhaustion, busyness, and productivity as status symbols and measures of self-worth. We are impressing no one” (ibid., 106).
Practically speaking, this means many of us need to make some changes. We need to establish boundaries by shutting off email and social media at a set time in order to focus on our families and our spiritual and emotional health. We need to stop celebrating people who work eighty-hours per week and stop bragging about how we’re tethered to our laptops, as though that somehow makes us important.
Are you living at an unsustainable pace? If so, you are opening yourself up to some dangerous side effects of depression, anxiety, and burnout. And you are continuing to feed a culture of workaholic competitiveness in which no one wins.
Jesus’ solution was simple. “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31, NIV). Go with Jesus. Find a quiet place. Get some rest.
My mentor, Alan Ahlgrim, always says, “Change of place + change of pace + change of people = change of perspective.”
Not bad advice. Sounds like it came from Jesus.
Sometimes I lay awake at night with my heart pounding in my chest. Sometimes I can’t “shut off my brain” as I try to think through a problem at work. Sometimes I find the joy draining out of my soul. When these things happen, I realize that my work pace has overtaken my faith place, and I need to come away with Jesus, find a quiet place, and get some rest. And sometimes that even includes . . . play.