“Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste good.”
Looking back at my blog, I see that, despite my best efforts, I only have one blog up.
How did I let this happen?
And then I looked at that last blog post.
Play is an important part of connection with life.
I wish I could say that there haven’t been any blogs posted because I was too busy playing.
But I can’t.
Life kind of happened. Work projects had to be worked on. Family stuff had to be familied. In all the doing of the stuff, there was no time for anything else. Even blogging. (Which should be fun, right? Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m one of the few people out there who like writing, so this is fun for me.)
And when life gets busy and overwhelming and too much...
Play always seems to be the first thing that we let go.
Which is a crying shame. We are never more present and more available to ourselves then when we are in the state of play. Remember what happens to that Ventral Vagal system? When we are in the state of play, our Ventral Vagal system stimulates our ability to soothe and relieve stress. Which—let’s face it—is much needed when life is throwing all sorts of stress your way.
We feel better. Life feels better. Shouldn't we be doing the thing that helps us to feel better?
But how to make time for play when there’s barely time for anything else?
Play doesn’t have to be an elaborate, well-thought out endeavor that takes days of planning and hours to perform. Play can be simple.
First, it might be a good idea to sit quietly for a second or two and ask what you might want right now. Go ahead. Check in with your thoughts. Check in with what you’re feeling. Check in with what your body might want to be doing.
And then listen—really listen—for an answer.
You don’t want to be sitting cooped up on a computer, typing away (because, unlike me, some of you may not enjoy that kind of thing!) Great listening! Your body is feeling a little wiggly? And the music you're playing is kind of bouncy and making your foot tap? Ask yourself—would you maybe like to get up and dance for a bit? Three minutes and boom—you’ve allowed yourself the opportunity to play.
Maybe it’s that short. Maybe it’s a little longer, like taking your dog outside to enjoy the day or reading a few chapters of that book you’ve been wanting to finish.
“But--? But--?” I hear you sputtering. “I ain’t got no time for that!”
How is play supposed to make us feel better?
I used to believe that there was no time for play. There was no time! But like I said, play doesn’t have to take forever. Sometimes a little bit is all you need. And listen--if your thoughts, feelings and your own body are telling you to take a break, maybe it would be a good idea to listen. The work will be there when you get back. The ability to stop and enjoy your life may not be if you keep putting it off. By giving yourself something, even a tiny bit, you will have more to give back--to yourself, to your work, and to everyone who might need something from you. It's a win-win situation.
So stop putting it off. Take a breath. See what you need. And just go out and do it. Walk the dog. Dance the dance. Eat the cake. Because this is the part that is Life.
Life can--and should--be enjoyed.
Need a place to figure out how to incorporate more play into your life? Give me a call to make an appointment, and let's figure it out together.
Sherry Alamdari, M.A., Registered Marriage and Family Therapy Intern
Under the Supervision of Bonnie Goldstein, PhD.
Sherry Alamdari is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapy Intern. As a therapist and as a human being, she's come to understand that we all let things go in our lives, and then wonder why our lives don't feel right. And this, she realizes, is what therapy is for. Therapy is that space to reflect on these things in order to create a better sense of well-being for ourselves. Sherry has worked in Community Mental Health and in schools to help develop this sense of well-being in her clients. She is currently in process for certification in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and works with Individuals, Families and Groups.