Do You Allow Yourself to Play Every Day?

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Play is not just for children. Adults need play too. The question is...do you allow yourself to play every day?

Adults need play to inspire creativity, as a coping mechanism, and as a way to maintain healthy relationships. And while I know that play is good for us, I had a very powerful play epiphany the other evening while reading Surf Lessons: Exploring the Power of Nature to Awaken Your Abundance by Master Coach Nona Jordan.

In her book, Nona asks readers to brainstorm daily play practices AND 20 ideas for “take your breath away” play. She reminds us that play can be active and exuberant, but it can also be relaxed and nourishing (aka naps).

My “playlist” of core daily play practices came easily at first: reading, sitting outside in the sun, practicing yoga, listening to music, cuddling, and hiking. But when it came to enumerating 20 “take my breath away” play activities – I was hit over the head with my aha.

I have not been prioritizing true, carefree play in my daily life.

I often relate play to travel and adventure. As in, it is easy for me to think of ideas for play when I am away from home or exploring in nature. I’ve lost myself in a sculpture class, felt my heartbeat race during surf lessons, laughed and smiled throughout a dance lesson, and enjoyed painting pottery when I’ve been out and about.

But when it comes to regular daily life – I get a bit more stuck.

And….to take it one step further – other than listening to music and reading, I relegate play to the evenings or weekends instead of prioritizing it as a daily practice.

Admittedly, I was a bit surprised by these revelations. I’ve pigeon-holed my sense of play. I've also allowed my sense of play to be tied very closely to my work as a life coach and yoga teacher. And while I'm ok with that on some levels, I understand the importance of separating the two as Nona says: “No matter what you do or how creative and playful it feels, it’s essential the practices allow you to walk away and experience the world through a different lens.”

Oops.

My Take My Breath Away Playlist

When I first drafted this list, it was short. I'm not sure it was "risky" or involved any risk. As I noticed the judgments, expectations, and limiting definitions that were holding me back, new ideas started to bloom. And then it was as if I couldn't stop myself.

But since I know myself well enough to know that I am a planner – but not always a doer – I am sharing my list with you. As a way to be accountable, but also as a way to put my intentions to play more into the universe.  

Nona describes “play at the edges” as activities that “elicit a quickened heartbeat and a rush of excitement,” My goal was to maintain a balance between play that is readily available without leaving the house, options that involve a bit more effort but are still local, and activities that while they are still theoretically connected to my work, really do make my heartbeat faster and my soul happy.

  1. Turn up the music loud enough that I can hear it between rooms and sing out loud.
  2. Spend the morning cuddling in bed.
  3. Surround myself with candles while I read.
  4. Take a 2-hour juicy and meditative yoga class.
  5. Move furniture, just because.
  6. Nap on my patio.
  7. Write surprise love notes to my family.
  8. Take a painting class at one of the wine/painting studios nearby with girlfriends.
  9. Go camping (this made me laugh because I’m not a camper...but I’m feeling particularly drawn to the idea of spending more time outside).
  10. Take a SUP yoga class.
  11. Have coffee at a new local coffee shop with a friend.
  12. Spend a day looking at real estate with a water view.
  13. Take a rock climbing class.
  14. Watch the sunrise while I write my morning journal pages.
  15. Go for a moonlight swim.
  16. Play in puddles.
  17. Get my makeup done.
  18. Sleep under the stars.
  19. Meet long-distance friends for a Skype tea or coffee date.
  20. Take a family yoga class.
  21. Surprise my husband with a candlelit dinner at home.
  22. Spend a day at a spa.
  23. Watch the sunrise.
  24. Write letters to friends, just because.
  25. Spend time looking at old photo albums.
  26. Take the day off and go for a hike with my family and puppy.

It is funny...because just one day after I wrote this list – I found myself with a two-hour block of time and a big choice. I could go to a coffee shop with my computer and work or I could go to a coffee shop and read, just for fun. Not only did I go to the coffee shop and read for fun, but my sense of play took me to a new location – where all I could do was smile.

Play works. We just have to give ourselves permission to let it do its magic.

I am ready to commit to more play as a daily practice. Are you with me?