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. Now with the additional pressure of the Covid 19 pandemic getting worse, many of us are feeling pretty gloomy.   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 be childlike as you 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. Knit, crochet or other handcrafts – As a child I loved making things.  I had a loom to make potholders. At about 7 or 8 I learned to knit and crochet. I remember how much I loved doing it.  Now my granddaughter has taken up knitting.  She is making hats for anyone who wants one. It is the knitting she enjoys and the output gives others pleasure.
  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 through and moats around 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. You could find making something fun and relaxing.  Go for it whatever feel like play. 

Treat Yourself-Hire a coach
Working from home often blurs the boundary between work and home.  Finding a way to play can help you keep the boundary.  If you find it difficult to play and would like to unblock your resistance, coaching can help.  Playing can be the first step in dealing with anxiety and stress.  How would it feel to have 30 anxiety free minutes?  If you want to find out, call me at 781-598-0388 or email me at asparker@asparker.com


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