Play.

62220_tumblr_lgtr7xlcjg1qgv5d0o1_500_large_thumb“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.”  

-Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” -Plato

As an adult you don’t play, besides the momentarily lapse between your child and her imaginary friends. To play as an adult to many is to lose credibility, to be…an “immature adult”, “someone who can’t be serious”, “someone who doesn’t take LIFE seriously.”

BUT, I recently read an article on the need to play…not just as children, but as adults. You need the spontaneity of choice, the thrill of being childlike, the freedom to let go of the stresses in your life. I am not by any means suggesting that you throw caution to the wind and rid yourself of all adult responsibility, but I am suggesting to let go of your adult ego (even for brief periods of time) and free your child within.

Did you know there is even a National Institute For Play (www.nifplay.org) and they stated the following on their site.

Play is the gateway to vitality.

By its nature it is uniquely and intrinsically rewarding. It generates optimism, seeks out novelty, makes perseverance fun, leads to mastery, gives the immune system a bounce, fosters empathy and promotes a sense of belonging and community. Each of these play by-products are indices of personal health, and their shortage predicts impending health problems and personal fragility.

Play is not just for children, it is necessary to have playful communication and interaction to

satisfy relationships, proactive work environments, stress relief and better personal health.

Play is powerful in connecting people with one another.

Science has shown how corporations who incorporate play into their environment become more successful.

Tips For Playing in Life:

-Do something that scares you

-Run through rain puddles, dance in the rain, walk in a down pour, enjoy the weather

-Dance under the stars

-Turn on some fun music and dance with your kids in the kitchen

-Pick up an old sport you loved when you were little…rollerblade, tennis, hike…

-Go skinnydipping in your pool or hot tub

-Look for free fun like local concerts, films, fairs, a swap meet

-Have a game night each week where you invite friends or family over

-Visit every baseball park you wanted to see when you were a kid

-Take on a new challenge…learn to finally play the piano, dabble in something new

-Sit in a cafe and watch people

-Embrace the simple things

-Dont worry about what someone else will think

-Release your childhood spirit…play

-Go play games at a local arcade, Climb a tree, Go indoor rock climbing, visit a zoo or aquarium, make a sandcastle, go sledding,Tap into your child within.

-Learn something new to you…the game of table tennis, chess, checkers, try parasailing, windsurfing, bodysurfing.

-Skip, like a little kid…one day I was listening to my iPod on my daily walking route. I was on a main street that all my neighbors drove home on. I was listening to a great song that made me want to move my body, I yearned to jump, to skip, to let the music play through me. For a moment I worried about who would see me, but I decided I didn’t care. I began to skip, I felt a surge of exhilaration, a feeling of letting go, a feeling of freedom from care of anyone watching me. I began to smile and skip even bigger, higher. I was free. The child within me soared, smiled and laughed all the way home. It was wonderful!!

Get creative…paint, sculpt, scrapbook, take pictures. Go to a movie alone. Go get a pedicure and have them paint your toes wild. Go to a nearby town that you have never explored. Find a local museum and enjoy the art. Go on a bike ride. Find a thrift store and buy something unexpected. Go to a garage sale or an antique shop. Go to a local garden and smell every variety of flower.

Some good hobbies that help you enjoy play while also combating stress: gardening, photography, scrapbooking, having a aquarium, puzzles, drawing, painting, knitting, playing the piano, writing, etc.

Another great way to play is to vacation. This is a very underused time to play!! People feel guilty for leaving work & taking time for themselves, but you need to look at it as an investment in yourself, your health and happiness.

Another reason many people don’t vacation is because they feel they don’t have the time or money. A good remedy for this…staycation! Take a few days & stay home, laze around, have a pajama day, make fun food, read a good book, get creative and take the time to enjoy some PLAY time. Some Stay home time.

Have some fun…get outside of yourself and PLAY. It’s a new year to make some new changes that will improve your life.

Best wishes and lots of PLAY, Heather

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