Allowing Time for Play
All work and no play makes everyone a dull boy (or girl). But how can we make time for play when there always seems to be so much work to do? It took me several years into adulthood to figure out that no matter how much work I did on a particular day, there would inevitably be more waiting as soon as the next day started. Whether it’s university papers, dirty dishes or laundry, or take-home work from our day jobs, there will always be something more left to do. Adults need breaks from work. We need time to play, just like kids need time to play.
The key to finding time to play, and adults do need time to play, is to make time for play. Play will look different for each of us, and it likely doesn’t involve Lego or playdough (although, maybe it does…).
First, we have to figure out what we want our play time to look like.
What do we like to do for fun? What makes us happy? What gives us a good, solid break from the monotony of our daily routines?
Here are some ideas to get us started:
• Reading a novel (for fun, not work-related)
• Doing a little self-pampering (painting our toenails, getting a new haircut, taking a long bubble bath)
• Creating something (painting, knitting, making a delicious snack that isn’t going to be shared with anyone else, planting a garden)
• Trying something new (anything we want, so long as it’s fun and enjoyable!)
• A quiet walk in the neighbourhood without children
• Drinking coffee or tea outside in the sunshine
We just have to pick something that is completely for fun and relaxation.
Now, we pick a time of day for doing this awesome, fun activity (like, tomorrow afternoon, this evening, or even five minutes from now.)
If we have a hard time feeling relaxed and like having fun when there is a longer-than-usual list of things to do (all that work!), we can do some of it so we don't go crazy, but we need to remember that it will all still be there later, too. And even if we do it all now, there will be new work when we wake up. It's not going anywhere, so why frantically try to get it all done every time we think about it? Sometimes, the work can wait!
When it's time for play, we need to actually play. We can’t stop every 5-10 minutes to do housework. We can’t let ourselves constantly think about the school or day job work that's constantly waiting for us. Let’s enjoy our play time. We need to. We need a mental and physical break from the go-go-go our society continually tells us we need to be a part of.
Play time can be alone, or with someone, but if we’re not actually having fun, if our fun is really just disguised work, or if the fun is really someone else’s idea of fun, it’s not going to give us the break and boost we need.
Once we’ve had a good, fun break (yahoo!), it’s time to tackle that work we’ve mentioned (blech). We can’t put it off indefinitely. Once we’ve had our fun, relaxing, enjoyable play time, we should feel energized and ready to tackle some of that work.
(And then it’s play time again, of course!)
Are you scheduling in your play time, or are you letting your daily workload bog you down? Which activities do you choose for your play time? We all need to remember that us grownups need our fun time, too!