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“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Nobody seems to know where the proverb comes from, and we’re not sure who Jack is, but the saying is absolutely true. Kids find reasons to play every day. To maintain health and wellbeing, adults should make time for play, as well. Here are a few reasons why.

Why play more and work less?

Mental health experts at Harvard University note that most adults don’t play nearly enough. We work too hard and take a little time out for fun and frolic. Nobody is suggesting you quit your job and sail off to an enchanted island, but there are certainly a few things you can do to incorporate health-inspiring fun into your day-to-day life.

Work when you need to, but be sure to joke around and have a bit of fun with co-workers at break time. Host a game night at your house and invite your favorite friends over for a good time. Spend more time with your pets. Play on the floor or in the yard with your kids and once in awhile, let them make the rules. Better yet, turn off all televisions, video games, and cell phones and head to the park with your kids. Time spent swinging and chasing a frisbee can improve your overall outlook on life considerably, says Harvard Helpguide.

Beautiful benefits of playtime

Playtime is important for blowing off the mental steam we tend to gather during the workweek. Games such as chess and crossword puzzles may improve memory and brighten one’s mood in a big way. Being relaxed and feeling playful, whether with a kid, a pet, a buddy or a romantic partner, may boost creativity and stimulate the imagination. Social interaction, especially joyful playtime, can build brain function and ramp up problem-solving skills.

If most of your day is spent sitting in an office chair without taking time out for fun, you could be putting your health at risk, according to the Australian Institute of Business. In fact, the longer you work without fun, the greater your chances of developing depression and other mental stresses. Diabetes and coronary heart disease are also more common among sedentary workers who don’t have enough fun and relaxation in their lives.

Add art to your daily regimen of fun

All kids play and make art. It’s not until we’re older that we decide we have no talent and put away our crayons. In the 21st century, there’s no reason that every adult can’t experience the wonder of creativity. Even if you only have a ten-minute break, you can relax your mind and reset your brain with a cool art app like the coloring book app by Apalon Apps. Simply download and install at the Google Play site and start making art. The geometric mandalas included in the app are known to cause feelings of bliss.

No matter who you are or where you work, you can make a few minutes for relaxation and fun every day. Do so, and you’re sure to be a happier, healthier human.

Tilly Bishop encourages all adults to let their creativity come out to play! She writes about creativity and runs adult-education classes in painting and sketching.