Spring is here, the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing, time to get out to play. That was my first-draft opening sentence, not necessarily original, but timely. Then all hell broke loose in the world. Everywhere around us there is increasing instability with the rise of the pandemic, stock market volatility, and political madness. Yet, spring still calls on us to enjoy the renewal. Our spirits pull on us to resist the negativity around us and lighten-up. The best antidote to the relentless stress encroaching upon our wellness is play.
Research has shown that the health benefits we derive from play, enable us to continue to thrive in life. At times like these, our tendency may be to slip into the neutral zone of spacing out on our computers or the television. However, these extreme realities call for balancing with the radical response of having fun! We need to play!
The benefits of PLAY are:
- Stress Relieve from the release of endorphins
- Stimulation of your mind boosts creativity
- Improved brain functioning can prevent memory problems
- Improved relationships and connections to others
- Promotes youthful energy
Sometime between childhood and adulthood many people give up play, except for that annual vacation. Children play every day with no agenda other than to laugh and enjoy themselves as time flies by. Play is not just for kids! Adults need to play, to lose track of time in the joyful abandonment of pleasure and excitement. According to Stuart Brown founder of the National Institute of Play, the key elements of play are freedom and self-direction and whatever it is the experience is pleasurable. Play can be as simple as; a hike in the park, painting, playing an instrument, singing, dancing, following the lead of your children while you play with them. There are countless options. Think about what kinds of play you have enjoyed during your life and get to it!
Right now play safe and improvise. Try play that can be done solo or at home with your family, in open spaces outside or virtually. A few months ago, a member of my small book club could not travel for our dinner and book discussion. We improvised, gathering around the table, we had her join us virtually; the computer screen was put in front of her place setting so we could see her lovely face. It was a great night of sisterhood and thoughtful, heartfelt discussion. Go to a virtual dance parties with DJs now on social media providing the soundtrack.