The Art of Playing

We often go from one responsibility to another in a mad dash to get “everything done”. Like chasing a butterfly, accomplishing our goal is typically just out of our reach and can leave us overwhelmed and exhausted.  When all of our activities are serious or of a practical nature, there is little time to let down or play.

For children, play is instinctual. It is they way they explore and learn about how the world works. As adults, we can learn much from them.

When my son was in elementary school, I asked him to empty the dishwasher as his chore for the day. When I came back later to check how he was doing, I found the radio blaring and he was dancing and singing into a spatula. Frustrated that he appeared to be dawdling I shouted “Honey, can’t you just hurry up and get this done?” He looked me straight in the eye and responded with such certainty, “MOM (pause) If you have to work, you have to make it fun! I will NEVER die of a heart attack”. I laughed, he was SO right.

In this hectic pace of life, how can we make it fun? Although it is very important to schedule vacations, you don’t have to wait until you go on one to find some enjoyment in life. You can find ways in your everyday life to be content, peaceful, and even playful. Of course there are no rules, but I find some small things very helpful:

  • When I’m super focused or mentally scattered, I typically am holding my breath. When I finally notice, I intentionally breathe. This helps me stop the mental chatter and chaos for a moment, and then ask myself “How can I make this more fun?”
  • Make your environment comfortable: open windows, or turn up the heat or sit in the sun, play music that energizes or calms.
  • Drink a favorite beverage.
  • Set a specific time to take a break, making sure not to fill it with another task IE checking emails, making calls, etc.  Instead, leave the area if you can and go for a walk, mindfully exploring the environment. My favorite is walking around my yard looking for signs of spring. You can also search You Tube for topics that make you laugh. Truly you aren’t “wasting time”. Taking a break can help you clear the clutter from your head so when you return to your task you can think better, tap into your creativity and problem solve so much faster.
  • Always have something to look forward to. It can be as simple as taking a hot bath, reading your favorite book for a short period of time at the end of the day or a trip that you spend months planning. The anticipation of planning itself can be exciting and great to look forward to.
  • Playing board games or cards can be a great opportunity to socialize and laugh. Remember, if you’re not on a professional league, it’s not so much about winning but rather about being playful. Don’t take it too seriously or it takes all the FUN out of it.
  • Find and make time for a hobby. Doing something that is fun or you feel passionate about will energize you. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Sometimes there are classes in the community that teach a new skill. If you’re having a hard time coming up with something, explore your past! What gave you joy then and find ways to bring it back into your life now.

Remember, THRIVERS always find time to play!

Victoria

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