“You know, I used to be really fun. I’m serious!” My kids have two standard reactions to this...eyeroll coupled with “yeah, right,” or blank stare with side head tilt. Either reaction speaks for itself, they never believe me. And I hate to admit it, but I don’t blame them. Something clearly shifted in me when I became a mom, and the ‘fun-me’ somehow got buried under a tired, overwhelmed, seemingly more responsible version. In a nutshell, not that fun. But she is still in there, and one of the best ways to draw her out is to play.
Now if your radar just went off because you’re tired of hearing that you don’t play enough, and you really should, and it may even be a requirement to ever achieving your full potential, and blah blah blah… I am especially writing this for you! 😉 Play does not have to be hard to find time for, it isn’t limited to engaging in games, being silly, or skipping about (although I highly recommend these from time to time), and it is NOT just for kids!
The definition of play is, “to engage in activity for enjoyment rather than a serious or practical purpose”. That’s it - Just doing something that you enjoy, just because it’s enjoyable, not because it’s practical. Don’t you remember the exhilaration when the teacher would let you out for recess? How about the relief and excitement that washes over you when your plane is taking off toward a relaxing vacation? That feeling seems to become less frequent the older we get. It’s time to reclaim the joy that only comes with playing. Here’s how...
1. Shut down your devices.
Let’s be honest, along with the benefits of technological advances, our devices have also become a distraction, with never ending email, texts, social media, and web trolling. Quite often they become the opposite of play - not enjoyable, and full of seriousness and practicality. Turning them off from time to time can help you create the time and space for something else - enter play! If you need help to unplug more often, click here for some great tools.
2. Make your "play-list".
This list isn’t about your favorite songs, but about making a list of things that you enjoy doing. It might take some thought to get started, but once your brain turns on the fun switch, you’ll be surprised how many things start coming to mind. Try to include things to do both indoors and out, alone and with others, and that take a short amount of time, as well as a few hours or more. This will give you plenty to choose from when it’s time to play! If you need some ideas to get you started, here is my playlist: go on a hike, coffee with a friend, go to the movies, read in my backyard, date night at my favorite restaurant, go to the beach, play some music and sing (loudly), color or do something crafty, quiet time and self reflection
3. Schedule it!
It’s no secret that things often don’t get done unless we have them on the calendar. For those of us serious, and oh so responsible, something like play can easily move to the last on the to do list. But if we get better about scheduling time that we enjoy, it can really help get through the rest of the day’s practical responsibilities. Find a place in your calendar every week for some playtime and be reunited with your joyful self!
For more inspiration, check out this great article about PLAY!