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We think of play and playfulness as something only for children, but experts consistently agree: play is essential for adults’ physical health, mental aptitude, relational closeness, and overall sense of well-being.

Which means play is a powerful thing, an essential thing for us to build into our life. Finding rituals around play are so important. Outside of all the proven benefits, anyone who plays with their partner knows: play gives us an injection of positivity to our relationship. A freshness, a repose, a jolt of energetic joy. Do you have rituals of play built into your life?

Summer is one of the best times to find new rituals for play. Recently I took a day off with my family and enjoyed a day at a lake. We played on the shore, picnicked, watched the boats, and just relaxed in the shade of the pine trees. It was refreshing to breathe the pine air. Where can you go to play? To explore, do something you normally wouldn’t do, find something new? What summer activity can you do together that’s going to make you laugh? That’s what we’ve got to seek together, especially with the way the world is. Play is more important than ever. It can feel like the first thing you want to push away when you’re feeling overwhelmed, but remember: Play is not an expendable extra. Play is absolutely, positively, essential, and making time to play can be one of the most courageous things we do.

Where will you build a ritual of play this week?