It's Fun and Easy to Energize Your Life With Play

Is there a simple answer to avoid burnout in a busy life, or to progress from fatigue and burnout to a more balanced life?


I believe there is.


beach play



Play.


My 4-year-old grandson shows me the way.  As we toss a crocheted Frisbee around the living room, his smiles and cries of glee are the same whether he misses a catch or not.  It's just fun to play, and the results are never judged.  If you miss, just try again, because maybe you'll make it next time!  You can always change the rules.  And when you get tired of the game, there's always something else to do – get out the remote-control racecar, build something with Lego, or pick a book off the shelf.


By embracing an attitude of play, we

  • stay aware in the moment
  • decide to enjoy whatever we're doing
  • silence doubt and self-criticism
  • give ourselves the freedom to try something new, or to do something familiar in a new way
  • allow ourselves to take a break from tasks
  • leave room for creativity

Play isn't just a particular game – it's an attitude that lets us experience joy and success in every endeavor.





Can work be play?


Can tackling a work project or writing an article be play?  Can doing the laundry or cooking a meal be play?


Yes!  If we're focused on the activity and it brings us satisfaction, then it's play.


  • As I sat down to write this post I didn't think of it as work, but as a chance to share my ideas, tinker with words, and maybe even inspire someone else to add more play to his or her life.  
  • When dusting the furniture I don't have to think of it as a boring chore if I put on some upbeat music, dance along while I clean, and take time to admire the gleaming result.  

  • Fixing a meal doesn't have to be drudgery if I feel happy about providing nourishment for myself or someone else and arrange the food artfully.  I cut my grandson's peanut butter sandwich into four little triangles and arrange them around the plate, place a cute miniature bowl of yogurt in the middle, and fill in with thin slices of Pink Lady apple and a few baby carrots.


When we concentrate on adding more play, we build a mindset of attention, energy, and joy.  And as with anything else, the more we do it the easier it gets.


Just think – we can choose to drag ourselves through our to-do list, complaining all the way, or we can choose to play!


Play has power, and it's a potent antidote to discouragement and burnout.





How can I add more play to my life?


watercolors
All it takes is some time travel.  Think about the activities you loved doing as a child of 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 years old.  What were they?  Take a moment to savor those fun feelings as you write a list of the things you used to enjoy.  This list becomes your blueprint for how to add play to your adult life.


As a child, I like to dance and march around (usually while pretending I had long, flowing blond tresses instead of short, wavy auburn hair).  I especially loved the Triumphal March from Verdi's Aida and Rossini's Barber of Seville overture.


I also liked to color and do all kinds of paper crafts to decorate my room, arranging things just so.  And I loved to read and tried writing a few stories.  Together, my brother and I made up silly poems and our own words to well-known songs.  I continued that game with my own kids.


You can see by my previous descriptions of writing, dusting, and preparing food that I've figured out how to incorporate my favorite childhood pastimes into my work today.  Once you've remembered your own favorites you can play around with how to fit them into the rhythms of your tasks.


Let the child in you inspire a happier mindset with more resilience and creativity to meet the challenges of life.  You can do more than avoid burnout – you can have more fun!


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