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Play is the way

I have a confession to make – I completely lost a month and missed a blog post.
I am not quite sure how it happened but May disappeared without me noticing. Does this happen to you? Time passing and not being quite sure where it has gone?

It is usually a sign that we need to take a break. A break from the work and effort that is involved in our routines and daily lives.

Of course, it isn’t always that easy, is it? We have responsibilities and things that need to happen so everyone is where they have to be, doing what they need to do. But what about a micro -break? Can you fit one of those in? Thirty to sixty minutes where you so something purely for your own pleasure?

We all need time for this… and another name for it is PLAY! Play gets a bad press, because it is seen as frivolous and purposeless but I think it is essential.

Play is the way children learn and develop and the way that we all (adults included) de-stress and allow some space so that we can find our balance again.

Of course, the way adults play might look different to the way children play. Dr Stuart Brown who reminds us about the importance of play across our lives, talks about different play personalities:

The joker
The kinaesthetic – someone who likes moving, walking, dancing, climbing, gym going
The explorer – travelling at home and abroad, finding new places
The competitor – those who enjoy games and sports
The director – organising events, surprise parties, planning and plotting
The collector – all sorts of collections from stamps to cars to pottery
The artist/creator – including cooking and baking as well as other crafty and arty activities
The storyteller

Do you fit into one or more of these categories? What do you do that allows you to enter a state of “flow”?

Flow is a particular headspace we enter when we are engaged in something which absorbs our attention. So there is no thinking about what is next on our to-do list or worrying, but rather a singular focus on what we are doing. The task is tricky enough so that we have to pay attention but not so hard that we get frustrated. Time can fly by when we are in flow.

It is important because it is often during times when we are not actually thinking or trying to work out problems that solutions are found. Our brains and minds are always busy and things “run in the background” when we are otherwise occupied. We need times to allow this to happen and play can give these to us.

If it has been so long that you can’t think what might be play for you, cast your mind back to when you were a child. What sorts of things did you do in your spare time then? What was your chosen pastime? This might give you a clue as to what you might want to try.

Whatever you do, plan it in. At least once a week, but more often if you can manage it. You will notice a difference!

Play is the way.