I’ve heard the same message several times in my life. I can think back to the first time it showed up. A favorite college professor told us there was one four-letter word that is the secret to a happy marriage. As he wrote slowly, letter by letter, the class let out a chuckle, surprised as he revealed the word ‘play‘. To be honest, I didn’t quite understand it at the time.
As a part of my masters program, I studied creative problem solving. We learned ways to activate the creative mind, including a set of guidelines to keep an open mindset. One of these guidelines I found interesting was ‘Keep novelty alive.’ The professor gave examples of this during a brainstorming session. She reminded us, no idea is silly, useless, or too much. The question was, What could a chunk of money be used for in a school? Answers that followed this guideline were stuck on post-it’s. A spa room for the staff? Why not! A cuddle room of puppies? Sure! These ideas felt wild, exciting, and deliciously playful.
Recently, in doing self improvement work with my life coach, I’ve been introduced to the idea of my ‘inner child’. She is a fiesty one who often needs attention and love or she may act out with rebellious childish acts. I give her love through self care and doing things my inner child loves. What kinds of things does she love? Anything that feels like PLAY.
What does ‘play’ mean for you? What might it look like? When I think of adding more play into my life, it helps to think of things I loved as a kid. Below is a list of some things I enjoy. It might inspire your own list!
- A long shower with fancy soaps
- Upbeat music
- Petting animals
- Delicious smells like candles, essential oils, or something baking
- Water–sprinklers, pools, bath tub, creeks, lakes
- Junk TV shows
- Building forts (with pillows, blankets–wait, sorry, but if I need to explain this to you then we can’t be friends)
- Facetime with family or friends
- Making something for a friend, like a card or gift
- Reading comics (I did this with my dad as a child every Sunday)
- Hot tea and an entertaining book
- Disney sing-a-long songs
- Lying in the grass
- Painting my nails
- Being barefoot
Photo: Vincent AF