As a CEO, it can be easy to get swept up by the hectic rush of text messages, deadlines and endless emails. In fact, there are 2.4 million emails being sent every second; our phones and computers have become an extension of our body.

This is leaving little time to slow down and play. Play may sound like a childish concept but it can be vital for your wellbeing and business.

As a business leader, you may experience creativity and imagination blocks so engaging in play, like learning a new musical instrument or picking up a craft hobby, can relieve stress. Unstructured play can fuel your imagination, creativity, problem-solving abilities and emotional wellbeing.

Here are five reasons why you should be slowing down and playing more:

  1. Your stress levels go down

    Play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins. The constant email notifications and deadlines can be very stressful so engaging in relaxing and enjoyable activities lowers the ‘stress hormone’.

    Having a hobby where you can sit down for a few hours and block out the constant noise of society can work wonders for your mental health and stress levels.

  2. You stimulate your mind

    Engaging in slow and creative activities has been proven to benefit the brain by working both hemispheres. We need to actively tap into logic and problem solving, but also the creative and imaginative side of our minds.

  3. Work is more fun and innovative

    Too often successful people close their minds and hearts to the concept of slowing down and become very fond of burning themselves out.

    Play at work encourages us to take more creative risks and think more innovatively. I know from personal experience that it increases energy and prevents burnout. It helps you see problems in new ways.

  4. You form stronger connections with the world around you

    Play helps with reconnecting to moments in time. We are so disconnected from nature in this digital world that we’re barely pay attention to what’s around us. Moments are missed because we are more concerned with the iPhone in our hand than simple moments of joy.

  5. Keeps you feeling young

    As we grow old, we not only ignore play but yearn to be young again. Play is essential not only for children but for adults too.

    Playing can boost your energy and vitality, improving your resistance to disease. Picking up a craft may give you a sense of nostalgia of your childhood, when you did crafts in primary school.

It is important as CEOs not to lose our sense of self in the busy working day. Start meditation. Learn a new language. Go camping. Create a garden. Even simply stop what you are doing whether that’s staring at a computer screen all day or attending meeting after meeting, look out the window and appreciate the life you have.