I think the old saying, “There are two things you can be certain of—death and taxes” should be modified.
I think we need to add stress. I don’t know a single soul that hasn’t experienced some stress in their lives.
And we all know stress can do bad things to the body and the mind if that stress is not relieved.
And all work and no play can lead to a pretty miserable existence.
Part of taking care of ourselves means taking time to play. Yes, play.
I remember having a particularly rough day—I wasn’t feeling well and I remember reading something on Facebook that really made me laugh out loud. It felt good to laugh. I thought about a bible verse that says a merry heart does good like a medicine and on that day it really did.
Look, life can be hard sometimes. It can be painful. It can be terribly busy. Work and family responsibilities can be demanding, and if you don’t take a moment to play—especially with those you love, you’ll miss out on the beauty life has to offer. You could also jeopardize your health even relationships if you don’t take care of yourself.
So here are a few ideas on how busy adults can engage in the power of play.
Adult Coloring Books
Coloring books for adults have become quite popular! Many of my Facebook friends confess to keeping them in their office and pulling them out when stress levels rise. This particular coloring book claims to have stress relieving patterns. Grab a box of crayons, pull out your coloring book and lose yourself in the pages. Some swear it’s therapeutic and others say it helps them to live in the moment. You can’t think about the coworker who dropped the ball…again…if you’re busy tracing patterns and coloring them in.
This is by far one of my favorite ways to play. Talk about eliminating stress. When I worked with a trainer, my reward for doing everything I was supposed to was wailing away on the punching bag. Talk about a release. If you’ve never worked on a punching bag before, I highly recommend. One night when I couldn’t sleep and I was worried about a million things, I quietly got out of bed, put on my boxing gloves and shadow boxed until I felt better. If you work from home or have your own office…you might want to consider one of these! Or at least the boxing gloves.
OK, this next one is not so much about play as it is comfort.
Give a Hug
You probably had one of these when you were little or maybe even a teenager. Hugging one of these things can bring comfort when you’re overwhelmed. There’s a funny meme going around that says, “Sometimes I just want someone to hug me and say, ‘I know it’s hard. You’re going to be OK. Now here’s a coffee and five million dollars.” It’s true! Sometimes you just need a hug, even if it’s from a cuddly teddy bear.
My sister and I played with these all the time growing up. I played jacks at school with friends, even by myself on the kitchen floor. All you have to do is find a smooth surface, clear your desk if you have to and see how long it takes you to get to two-sies and double bounces.
Other Ways to Play
Michica and I worked together for a local newspaper and when things got really nutty in the office, we’d go outside and crush acorns with the heel of our shoes. We’d laugh and listen for the ker-splat the acorns made. 10-15 minutes of acorn crushing and we were ready to get back to work. Some days required multiple breaks but it’s how we engaged the power of play to lessen workplace stress.
You can crush acorns, walk your dog, play with a toddler or sit outside and watch the clouds; the important thing to remember is to do something healthy and positive to de-stress.
It really is good for you…just like a medicine.