How to Add More Play Into Your Wellness Routine
Welcome back to our Adult Summer Camp blog series! If you missed the first post, check it out here.
One way to keep your summer productive yet awesome—even while you’re completing natural medicine coursework—is by injecting more play, more creativity, and more FUN into your wellness routine.
The Health Benefits of Play
Even for adults, play is extremely beneficial to our health. While some dismiss play as “just for kids” or “immature,” researchers agree that play is healing, stimulates creativity, and cultivates healthy emotional intimacy.
But how do we define “play?” Essentially, you play when you focus on the experience, not the goal. For example, when you’re playing water basketball with the kids, you’re not focused on building muscles in your core or legs; you’re focused on the game, on the water, on the funny face Joey just made during his slam-dunk. When you challenge your husband to a dance-off, you’re not focused on building endurance; you’re focused on shakin’ your booty to the beat.
“But I’m not a playful person!”
I call your bluff. We were all kids once; it’s in our bones to play. If you feel like you need some extra umph to loosen up, create a “play history.” A term created by Stuart Brown, MD, in his book Play, taking a play history helps you re-connect with and take inventory of what excited you as a child.
For example, what were your favorite forms of play as a kid? What activities made you feel the most creative, the most alive? Write those down, and carve out ways to bring the essence of those activities back into your daily life.
3 Playful Activities to Add to Your Summer Wellness Routine
Remember, nurturing play requires that you forget about the goal and dive headlong into the experience. Okay, enough philosophizing. Let’s play!
Here are three playful activities you can do for your DIY Adult Summer Camp:
1. Host an outdoor DIY party with your friends
Who says DIY is a solo activity? Get the gang together and create some beautiful natural products like aromatic soap and body wash, lotion, candles, aftershave, essential oil body sprays, etc. I suggest working with summery botanicals and aromas like lavender, citruses, chamomile, and jasmine. The Apothecary Shoppe has a ton of DIY kits to get your party started.
Once everyone is done, hold a summer “white elephant” gift exchange, so everyone goes home with something unique.
2. Host a botanical walk + contest
Get your herby friends or family members together and go for an herbal hike. Bring along your botanical identification guides and a notebook. Then, write down every botanical you can identify. At the end of the hike, figure out who identified the most plants. I’ll leave it up to you to determine the prize! (Watch a quick responsible wildcrafting tutorial below with our department of herbal medicine chair and professor Scott Stuart––or watch the full lecture here.)
3. Go for a “Playout”
This activity is perfect for you athletic types, and I’m sure it will appeal to our students studying integrative sports nutrition or personal fitness.
A playout channels your inner kid on the swing set. While you don’t have to playout in a playground per se, it works very well. The concept is very simple: play to exercise. Swing from the monkey bars. Use the playground as an obstacle course. Get your heart going by pushing the merry-go-round as fast as you can. Here’s a detailed article on crafting a killer “playout” workout.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a content development manager for American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 Tartakovsky, M. (2015, November 15). Psychcentral. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/11/15/the-importance-of-play-for-adults/
 Brown, S. (2010). Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. New York: New York. Penguin.