The amount of self-judgment I’ve seen with myself in just writing these play-themed posts of this month has been a humbling experience. Initially, I observed thoughts like “what nonsense are you wasting your time talking about” and just looked on with amusement about my resistance to having fun. Since I bring this up with clients, and they’ve often felt bashful about not knowing what to do with themselves by way of play, I wanted to put myself to test. Damn, it _is_ hard!
In this post, I’m going to break it down for you as to what counts as play. Let’s get started –
Playing is a self-directed activity. It must be a voluntary – not repetitive – thing you do. It must be a fun pleasurable activity for its own sake, not because you want to out-do someone or want some result for yourself at the end. This means two people can be involved in the same activity – say going to the gym or going for a run. The one doing for the sheer fun of it is playing while the other who’s doing it as a weight management step is not. So, your attitude matters more than the activity itself.
But then, what specific activity do you indulge in? This is something you must customize to your personality and tastes. You’d not enjoy the same kind of activity as everyone, and you may even have a preference for playing with self or play activity with others involved. Look back to your childhood for clues and just pick up whatever you’re most drawn to.
The biggest challenge is around making it happen – so, schedule it in your calendar. And when the time comes, just get started. It may seem very forced and artificial initially – it sure felt that way for me. And truth be told, it still feels like that way, and it’s okay. I find myself chilling down as I keep at it.
What I’ve seen me help is this – the activity must be planned out. As in, if I have to come up with some fun ideas at the spur of the moment, it doesn’t go all that well. Contrary to what you may think, planning doesn’t spoil the surprise element – it only feeds the excitement and anticipation of what is to come.
To give you a glimpse into what my play sessions looked like this month – I’ve had two so far that went very well and am eagerly looking forward to the next one. The first one was a laugh out loud session with me, seeing some hilarious snippets of sitcoms of yesteryear. The second one was particularly amazing when I went out for a drive and walk around town with my husband to see the cherry blossoms. For this upcoming one, I’ve picked up some lovely colorful origami paper for just a couple of dollars and borrowed an origami book from the library to enjoy some quiet paper folding time with myself, music playing in the background.
What’s going on in your head? I’d love it if you shared some possible ideas that you’re likely to explore in the coming days.