This morning as I was leaving the house in my usual fluster my young son glanced up at me and said “Do I have to go to nursery? Can’t we just play dinosaurs?”. I have to admit, for more than a moment I contemplated it. I‘d have rather played all day than deal with a Monday morning in the office.
Play can be the first step towards a more mindful, healthy and creative lifestyle. The trouble is, as adults we have completely forgotten how to do it. As children we used play to learn about problem solving and creativity. As adults we dismiss play and something frivolous and silly but it is essential to our wellbeing.
In today’s busy world where FOMO (fear of missing out) means our time is quickly eaten up with activities and plans we can’t seem to find the time to just try things, fail at things, mess around and be silly. Play should be about forgetting your stresses and taking part in creative and unstructured activities.
Giving ourselves time to explore play can be hugely beneficial for our wellbeing. We need to try and get over the fact that play can be labelled as “childish”, moving past the idea that we should somehow be apologetic or embarrassed about being silly. When we watch children play we never feel like that. We watch their wonderful imaginations shine, we smile when they laugh. The sense of fun I get from watching my children play is contagious.
So what has this got to do with the Living Unplugged philosophy? Well, play should include others, and it simply works better away from the distraction of devices. Play also allows us to explore creative activities and it gives us permission to fail at them too – after all, play is about development. The benefits of play are well documented. It can help you to relieve stress as fun and pleasure releases endorphins, increasing our feelings of wellbeing. Certain activities can also increase brain function and boost creativity, helping you to learn more quickly. And, let’s not forget the fact that relationships and connections with those around you can also improve.
To make sure you are able to get playtime into your life there are a few simple things you can do:
- Enjoy a games night – this doesn’t have to be a predictable game of Monopoly. We enjoy Cards against Humanity and Exploding Kittens to name a couple!
- Embrace the simple games – a frisbee or a bat and ball can quickly add interest and fun to a trip to the beach or the park.
- Play with your children – I mean really play, get down on the floor and join in their little world
- Try something new and messy – clay, mud, paint all of these things can be enormous fun. Instead of paintbrushes use your hands and watch things deteriorate into silliness
- Nerf guns and water pistols – these aren’t just for kids, invite friends over for a Nerf gun war or a water fight.
No matter what you do it’s important to give yourselves permission to focus on these essentials of wellbeing. Self-care doesn’t have to be just about good food and exercise, it can also be about laughter, spontaneity and a little bit of silliness.