In Self care

When was the last time you’ve taken a day or hour and just played? Has it been awhile?

If it’s been more than a week, it’s been too long!

Are you already thinking… “There’s no way I can play. I’m too busy” or “I only allow myself to play if everything is done on my check list…and that never happens!”

If these are your thoughts, then dear friend, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. You are exactly the person I want to speak to!

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines play as “brisk, fitful, or light movement.” The word itself conjures up scenarios of kids running and laughing.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that kids never have trouble playing. It is, in fact, at the very core of who they are! At what point does that desire to play and have fun fall by the wayside?

Does it start when the pressure to compete and please begins to take a toll? When the list of “gotta get x, y, z done” becomes more important than the “let’s have fun” list?

Why is it that our society honors and respects those that work their tail off and disgraces those who choose to pause and rest? Isn’t play, after all, an opportunity to rest?

Play and rest is exactly what we need to restore and renew us! Play allows our body to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing us to unwind and heal.

And unwind we must – every.single.day – to help prevent stress from running amuck in our bodies, causing inflammation and progression of illness and disease.

It was just a few years back that I decided to be different. I decided to live counter to how society expected me to live. I made a choice to slow down and play.

I heeded God’s advice: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

Play brings us a joyful heart. Stress, exhaustion, and burnout is what crushes our spirit.

So, what does play look like for you? For me, it is being present with my kids and joining them for a game of tag or shooting hoops. It is taking a break from work and going shopping for an hour… or two! 

It is stopping work at night so that I can take a walk with my husband. It is restoring old, but meaningful furniture to give it new life. It is taking an entire afternoon and spending it with my family watching the Twins score 5 runs in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox’s! 

I love to play! But, I’m also human and sometimes I forget. I get into my driven-Angie mode and make getting  x,y,z done more important than play.

The end result is not pretty – agitation, unfocused attention, and muscle tension that turns me into a hot mess. 

Until… I remember to play.

And then, my soul and body remind me why play is so important.

Are you ready to have a joyful heart? Is today the day you choose to break out of the mold and choose fun over lists?

It doesn’t require an entire day or even a half. Maybe it’s just an hour or 30 minutes to take time for you. 

How about it? Are you ready to make the choice to be different? I guarantee you, your soul will thank you! 

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Angie

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