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So, What Can Play Look Like? How Do I Find My Play?    

So, What Can Play Look Like? How Do I Find My Play?

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for play; it is highly individualized depending on what brings the most joy and happiness to one’s life. That being said, here are some examples of what play can look like:

  • Physical activity in the outdoors: walking, running, pick-up sports games, hiking, biking, kayaking, swimming.
  • Brain games to get us out of our own head: puzzles, sudoku, board games, crossword puzzles.
  • Unstructured artistic endeavors: dancing, singing, playing instruments, doodling, drawing, painting, making music, sewing, tie dying, crafts.
  • Creative hobbies: magic tricks, construction toys, science kits, making bread from scratch.

The modern-day work ethic de-prioritizes play by characterizing it as extraneous, and possibly even immature. This false notion can oftentimes implicitly or explicitly make us eschew setting aside time for play. Here are some ways to prioritize play in your life:

  • Find the right type of play for you; play will never become a priority if it is not a joyful experience.
  • Alot time each day to engage in a playful activity.
  • Try for at least 10-15 minutes a day of a small activity.
  • Try for at least 1 hour a week of a big activity.
  • Surround yourself with people that support and engage in playful activities.

Our Inner Child

Encapsulated in the concept of play is the livening of the inner-child - something that we all hold within us. The inner child is a real, psychological reality that lives in our unconscious. It is our fragmented childhood that lives under our consciousness that relates to so many of our behavioral, emotional and relationship difficulties.

So many of our wounds, even our outlook on life, was shaped during childhood. In order to learn more about ourselves, why we are the way we are, we need to find that child, reconnect with them, and talk to them. Healing the traumas of our childhood can contribute to feeling better about our present day self.

Simply becoming aware of your inner child is part of the battle of learning to heal them. To live healthfully in adulthood requires us to accept the pain of the past and the primary responsibility for taking care of our inner child’s needs. Even more, it’s about accepting yourself as a “good enough” parent to them now.

One of the ways we can most simply engage and interact with our inner child is through play. Being silly nourishes our inner child. Playing for the sake of playing imbues a sense of awe and wonder. Along with these feelings, you will find that your thoughts and worries of adulthood simmer down and subside, leaving you to bring that perspective with you when it’s time to come back to the “real” world.