Ten Ways to Relax With Play

15 years of work in Corporate America almost made me lose my ability to be playful.  At this time of year most of us feel the stress of getting everything ready for the holidays.  Take a play break this month.  It’s time for all of us (me too) to lighten up. Here are 10 suggestions:

  1. Cut, paste and color something – As a child you probably liked to color a picture or make a collage?  Do something artistic now without judging the work.  Enjoy the feel of doing it.  The goal is to enjoy doing this.  It is not about the picture itself.
  2. Dance – Who doesn’t like to move with music?  Take a break, choose some music you enjoy and dance with wild abandon.  Really let loose.  I know it takes me a while to lose my inhibited style.  I’ll need to close the windows, shades and doors for this one.
  3. Sing – Here is my favorite.  I do this a lot in the shower, in the car or in my office when no one is around.  To have even more fun use your hairbrush as a microphone and pretend you are a rock star.
  4. Bubbles – This one I learned from my grandchildren when they were younger. They would blow bubbles and then break them as the bubbles danced through the air.   I love blowing bubbles and then watching them float.  Sometimes I like to catch them on my finger which is tricky because they often break.
  5. Swinging on a swing – Go to a playground or carnival.  Swing on a swing and feel the wind in your face, use a jungle gym or the monkey bars and swing from place to place or sit on a merry go round and go for the brass ring.  Just thinking of doing this makes me smile.  It is too cold to do this right now in Massachusetts.  It will have to wait until spring.
  6. Enjoy a yoyo, a Nerf ball, or a paddle with ball.  I’ve never mastered a yoyo but they look like fun if you know what you are doing.  I end up winding the string most of the time.  I do like to use the paddle that has a ball connected to it with an elastic.  Fun to try to keep the ball moving and hitting the paddle.    Playing with a Nerf ball can be fun too.  Any ball will do but Nerf balls are squishy and colorful.
  7. Mindful Walk – Walking is a great stress reliever.  Next time you walk begin to notice what is around you – the flowers, birds, the sounds, the trees, the people etc.  See where the sounds you hear come from, notice where the birds fly to, look at the leaves on the tree and all the flowers growing.  (I’ll need to wait for spring to see flowers and leaves but there is still lots to notice in the winter.)
  8. String games – Have you ever played Cat’s Cradle?  String games are lots of fun.  You need a partner to do Cat’s Cradle but there are many things you can do alone like making a Brooklyn Bridge, a cup and saucer, a broom,  or a crown all in string. Sometimes it takes a bit of imagination to see what you have made but it is fun to do over and over.  Make up a new design yourself.
  9. Stickers – Another way to make a collage or mosaic is with stickers.  If you have an assortment of stickers you can make an abstract creation and have fun while doing it.
  10. Building with blocks, Legos, or sand. How high can you pile the blocks, Legos or sand?  Some people become quite artistic when it comes to sand.  I love making tunnels and moats on a big sand castle.   There are lots of instruction books for making things out of Legos but I’d rather make my own creation.  Again this is more about relaxing and having fun and not about making something.

What ways do you have to de-stress this time of year?


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