All work, no play?

When you’re a kid, you want to be grownup. When you’re an adult, all you want to do is go back to preschool when you could nap every day. You’re exhausted of having that never-ending to-do-list waiting for you each morning. And once you get a chunk of those tasks done, you’re too tired for play. So incorporate play into your working day.

What is play?

Play is generally something that is imaginative with rules that leave plenty of space for creativity. It allows you to get lost in the responsibilities of adulting, especially during stressful days.

Why would you want to play if it is silly, unpredictable, and time-consuming? Play is originally for babies and young children to get to know themselves. They practice life skills to develop their bodies. It is no different in adults. Play improves stress management and overall well-being. So next time you feel overwhelmed, incorporate play to cope with stress.

Reflect and Recognize

There is no correct way to play since it stems from creativity. One option is to write down your inner critic’s thoughts. Ideas like “I can’t do this”, “Everyone hates me”, or “I’m not smart enough” are just your inner critic keeping you safe from failure. Reflect and recognize how harsh you are on yourself and do something that makes you feel good.

Other ideas are to narrow down what your favorite games were as a child. If you liked playing with play-doh, take a pottery class. If you enjoyed climbing trees, adventure into rock climbing. Or even climb trees—as long as they’re strong enough. And do these activities without sharing them. Do not seek external validation from a like or comment. You don’t need to post every aspect of your life to make it feel real.

There’s Always Time

Play does not have to take up your whole day. I get it. Work feels like it is your whole life and then you have responsibilities on top of that. There is always time for play if you prioritize it. It could be belting out a song on the drive home, dancing in the kitchen, or taking a bike ride instead of driving to work. And if you still don’t have time, set some aside. Use this moment to reflect, decompress, or daydream. You have 24 hours in a day. Five minutes is only .35% of your day.

Get lost in your childhood dreams. Don’t let life get in the way of play. Be that princess, pirate, or superhero for just a few minutes and feel that exhilaration once again. Free your inner child.

Find more from Marilyn here.