How often do you just play? Not work, or compete, but simply play because something feels good or is fun?
As children so much of our time was focused on playing. There was no fear of making a mistake or doing it wrong. There was something natural and innate about using our imaginations to create worlds outside of the physical and just play.
Our adult minds make us believe that playing is not important and that there needs to be a goal or an objective for an activity or exercise to be “worth it.” But play is not trivial.
It has been scientifically acknowledged that play is good for the brain, that perhaps it’s even as crucial as sleep or food. Play is about pleasure, engagement – voluntarily enjoying yourself and being in the moment.
When I was younger my ambition spilled over into my free time activities. Working out was about keeping my body a particular way. I didn’t enjoy the gym or running, but wanted to check them off my list. It wasn’t until I injured myself that I realized how little fun I was having and started to dial into what would feel good and actually be fun. Now I only do workouts that make me feel good while I’m doing them and after, like yoga, intensati, hiking with pals etc. My entire relationship to movement changed from shifting my priorities. If it’s not fun…I will find something that is!
One of the most valuable things you can gain by prioritizing play is using your imagination, which is one of the most unique things about you and the part of the brain that adults rarely stimulate.
Developmentally, play teaches kids how to be fair and cooperate with others, (and yes it seems that some grown-ups could use a refresher course on this!).
If you’re stuck for how you can get out there and play more, try a game night with friends, if you enjoy group play. Or take your dog/kids/spouse to the park (try to leave your phone at home), and just chill out. Even playful banter with your partner can be psychologically healthy for your brain and for your relationship.
All of this information inspired today’s Hello Freedom episode. I’m interviewing the queens of play, two of my girlfriends and the founders of Soul Camp, which is all about playing. Soul Camp is a wellness sleep away camp for adults, where you leave your worries (and your iPhones) behind to gather and participate in workshops, classes, and seminars to nourish your entire self. Listen in as Michelle Goldblum and Allison Leipzig join me to talk about what they’ve learned about play since they started Soul Camp, how the camp encourages play and some simple ways you can add more play into your daily life. Click here to listen now!
Love love love,
Image courtesy of killerturnip.