A Day to Play
As children, summer means a few months of play! I can remember that feeling on the last day of school – the endless summer stretched in front of me. Everything seemed new and possible and free! We went to the lake, made forts on the front porch or in the yard, swam for hours and then walked uptown with towels wrapped around us as clothing to get popsicles. My father would throw meat on the grill and I would run back and forth through the resulting clouds of smoke. We would cut a giant watermelon and eat it outside all day long. Chasing fireflies at night and capturing them in a jar with holes poked in the top was a frequent game I enjoyed. And still do.
What were your favorite things to do as a child? When was the last time you spent some time doing those things?
As adults, we get caught up in work and summer home repairs and chaperoning our children or grandchildren to camp or play dates. We may go on a vacation, but a lot goes into preparing to leave and acclimating back to work and routine when we return. Summer often loses the spontaneity of play we experience as children.
What if practicing extreme self care gave you time to play? Maybe you can or can’t spend the day swimming or walking to get a popsicle, but there are also fun things you can do to relieve stress and invite more play into your life.
You can play a board game with a friend or with family members. Sometimes a monthly board game night is a great way to re-introduce play into our adult lives and there are many games to choose from these days. Adult coloring books are also a quick and easy way to lighten the load – they often bring a meditative, zen like experience to adults. We’ve forgotten how peaceful it can feel to color inside or outside the lines. Add watercolors or watercolor pencils and you’ve got an even more peaceful way of moving color around a page.
What about putting together a puzzle? This has the same effect as coloring – focus on putting the pieces in just the right order creates calm and a meditative state in the brain.
You could have a picnic lunch in the backyard or at the park. Ride a bike through the neighborhood.
Don’t have time to swim or coloring books/puzzles at hand? There are apps that allow you to color or put puzzle together. Yes, they are a little less satisfying to some, but they work in a pinch. If you’re looking to maintain a healthy brain, crossword puzzle books or apps are also a way of letting go of the stresses of the day and entering into a space dedicated for quiet,, fun time.
Today or one day soon, give yourself permission to play and see the effect play time has on your self care.