On the importance of play

I have been so busy lately with the FB and IG pages from the On-line exhibition, I hardly have time to think. I spent a lot of time this week catching up with friends too, which is always good. Visiting by phone is the only way we can do it these days unless we can walk outside or stand around in a park.

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay 

This week I want to refocus the blog on inspiration as we all need sources of inspiration to keep us interested and interesting right?


I have been in “work mode” for the last few months, not taking time to play and have been wondering why I don’t give myself permission to do so.

We all make time to work even if the concept is different for each person. We also make time for our “important hobbies”, the ones that produce tangible results. But what about just pointless play, do we give ourselves permission to engage in this? 

I recently read an article by Ruth Terry on the Medium site that brought this home for me especially during these pandemic times.

In the article, she shares life lessons she learned from observing her cats. One of them is the importance of play and how “all work and no play can lead to depressive boredom, a mix of lethargy, agitation and restlessness.”

Here are a few tips I liked and that I want to share here:

As we all know, our bodies are meant to move so sitting on the couch most of the day doesn’t do any good and fresh air is important. I now start my days with one hour on the treadmill or walking outside and some strength exercises. My body is thanking me with staying healthy even if it is not pain-free. I have the osteopath for this.

We can’t give up on our grooming routine even if we stay inside most of the time and don’t get to see anyone. I heard yesterday about this man who now stays in his pyjamas all day, just stopped dressing in other clothes if he stays home. I can’t imagine living like this! Showering and dressing up properly does a world of good for our self-esteem and for people we live with. Shoulders back and good posture is great for the body too and a healthy body helps in keeping a healthy mind.

What about play?  We have been on an enforced boredom regiment for the last year and more.

For many of us, the pandemic is synonym of repetition and monotony. We walk the same walk, go to the same supermarket, sit on the same couch with the same person. We were excited about Zoom meetings at the beginning, our only connection to the outside world during confinement but are now dissatisfied with them. We need more.

So how about if we take the extra time we have to play without any goal in mind instead of spending it scrolling our phone, just because…? Or even better- what if we made the time to just play?

If you can, spend some time observing a child or an animal and see how he/she enjoys just playing with nothing but pleasure and discovery in mind. Think about the last time you played or spent time without a purpose or a goal in mind?

According to this  article by Michael Forman, play “releases endorphins, improves brain functionality, and stimulates creativity. And studies shows that play improves memory and stimulates the growth of the cerebral cortex. It helps in keeping us young and feeling energetic.”

Play is not only for children, it is healthy and fun for adults too. Unfortunately, we often overlook its benefits. If you are interested, go watch the TED talk from Stuart Brown “Play is more than just fun”.

He talks about the different types of play we can do and their benefits.

Here is how he splits the categories:

1- Rough and tumble play: physical with or without a ball or other,

2- Ritual play: games with et rules, board games, sports,

3- Imaginative play: creative activities, coloring, inventing stories, all foster our imagination,

4- Body play: that transport you to another world, extreme sports, yoga, hiking,

5- Object play”: would be building with legos, blocks, building, inventing constructions.

All these reap their own benefits and can be explored with discovery and pleasure in mind.

Invent your own way of playing. It is important to take some time to do so. Experiment and bring that freeing feeling back. It will do you a world of good!

Thank you for reading !

Suzanne

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2 Comments

    1. Thank you Margaret! We so often forget to play and it is so important for balance and mental health 😊 Thanks for commenting and enjoy your day !

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