How many times have you puzzled over something while staring at the computer, only to gain insight while swimming laps or working out? I have had many such moments.
- Sometimes, leaning into the grind is what we need to do to be more productive.
- Sometimes, inviting more playfulness leads to flashes of insight.
With the recent decline in many recreational activities due to Covid-19 and more screen time than ever, we need to find ways to build back our interest in exercise, having fun, and finding new ways to challenge ourselves. I think summer is a perfect time!
What a shame that as adults we sometimes lose sight of the fun and importance of playful moments. Our culture encourages hard work, hours on our screens, and availability to almost everyone almost all the time. What is the cost of giving up play?
Play helps my life coaching clients do these key things:
- Reduce their resistance to new things
- Feel better / more relaxed
- Access more creativity
- Become more resourceful
- Become more successful
- Have more fun
- Become more fun to be around!
Play isn’t just for summer, either. It’s something we can do all year round.
How to Use Play to Your Advantage
Play is a celebration of life. It is the acknowledgment that what I am now is enough. I am whole, and therefore, I have every right to play. I play every day as an act of gratitude for this life I get to live.
Some people seem more playful than others. For example, I think (and my friends agree) that I have a great sense of humor! I love a good laugh and a fun party. However, sometimes I recognize that I still need to carve out playtime for myself. Playfulness is the best tonic for me when I feel overworked or bogged down by family challenges. An early morning swim, playing with my neighbor’s dog, a call with a grandchild does wonders for me. After I do any of those things I feel energized and rejuvenated … and ready to take on large and small tasks. Play is something that’s not just for physical exercise, or out of obligation to other people. It’s something purely for me. It’s part of staying in balance.
Start your own personal experiment about how play makes your life better. Research shows that happy people are energetic, have a zest for life and learning, and love to challenge themselves with new skills.
- Playtime with kids or grandkids. You can’t really engage with young kids without entering the world of play with them. Let them show you the way and leave your grown-up mind behind.
- Take a walk or day trip without any plans or route. To make it extra playful, toss a coin to decide on the direction you’ll start out in. Then just go wherever you are drawn. Let your playfulness lead the way.
- Make art without agenda. Go to Michael’s, buy some supplies and start sketching, watercolor, sculpting, or whatever you did when you were younger (I bet you did all of these!) Let go of your need for your art to be any “good.” Just enjoy the process of creating it.
- A magnetic poetry kit, crossword puzzles, etc. Keep them where you spend a lot of your hours and play with them whenever you get creatively blocked.
- Host an outdoor gathering focused on “fun.” Get some horseshoes, art supplies, and just hang out and have fun. Laugh as much as possible.
- Get outside. Break the routine of your day with a walk in nature or around the block, and leave your phone, music, and pedometer at home. This isn’t a workout, you are at play!
- Play with your dog. If you don’t own one, borrow one from a friend, volunteer to walk the dogs at an animal shelter, or go hang out at a local dog park. Even just watching dogs play at the local dog park can be fun!
- Keep kids’ toys at your desk. Having them around will automatically lighten things up, but playing with them when you’re bored or in a bad mood will help even more.
- Dance. Running, walking or exercising to music is one thing. But really cutting loose and dancing is another. Kids are great at this!
Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation and we can work on your goals together. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.