The Coronavirus is proving to be the king of bugs and boy it’s reign is mighty destructive. How can we dethrone it? Yes, let’s be informed and vigilant so we may stay healthy and stop its spread. And let’s take care, really good care, of ourselves so our immune systems shift into full brilliance. So, get ready to weave some good-old-fashioned play into your days.
When we play, endorphins, our natural feel good hormones, increase, allowing us to move from the yuck that gets us stuck to a joyful attitude that influences future interactions and perspectives. Feeling happy lets us be more positive, flexible, and loving. Play hits the reset button. Our immune system, the first line of defense against viruses, responds with a giant thank you as it is rescued from the havoc stress inflicts. It shows its gratitude by boosting its power.
We often think of play as frivolous, something for children, or those with less serious pursuits or concerns. You might be thinking, this is a time when you really, really don’t have time to play. Life is busy enough without an unwelcome, infectious, deadly bug hanging around. I am reminded of the adage about meditation: The person who says they have no time for a 20-minute meditation needs to meditate for an hour. Same for play. The less we play, the less we amplify our well-being, and the more we need to. Get playing and don’t feel guilty–engaging in play increases creativity and productivity. We need it now more than ever.
Play lets humor trickle into the saddest of times. When we bring play to hardship, we see beyond what scares and hurts. It soothes. It carries us. When my father’s health was failing a few years ago, my sister and I managed to find comedic relief in each phone update. On the day he died, my sister told him, though he was no longer alert, I would arrive at 4:30 (per my GPS). I arrived at 4:33, he had passed away at 4:30. I threw myself on his chest sobbing. He was gone and I had not said my final good-bye. After some time, I said, still crying: “He never did like when I was late,” and then I started to laugh. We all did. He had always been punctual and did not tolerate lateness. He also reveled in being the source of a good joke. My humor allowed the remorse of missing this last farewell to dissipate. Our end was us; me a little late and dad being his big tease self. Playfulness rescues us from what is beyond our control and understanding.
The cool thing is that play is always available since being playful is all it takes to open the door. Play happens the instant something tickles us. It can last a second when we make a funny face or last the day when we devote ourselves to an activity. We can initiate it or respond to its invitation. Just dipping into play can shift us. No matter what we choose, play delights. It frees us from the noisy, critical parts of our minds by integrating the mind’s gifts with our bodies, emotions, and spirits. Even with the most organized forms of play, we don’t fully know what will happen, where the ball will bounce or what the painting will look like. Our full selves are engaged. We get lost to the point we become truly alive. We are transported to the present. Isn’t that what we are after?
What type of play appeals to you? What do you want on your “play-list” during this time? Don’t have a “play-list” or yours is feeling tired? Here are some ideas:
- Tell stories—get into it—you can always make some up if you have already shared your good ones or make a game of having your house-mates or Zoom pals guess between truth and fiction
- Check out some cartoons and share your favorites
- Take on a new persona when reading your emails or doing laundry
- Paint—if not painting, think what else might be a creative way for your brain to have some hands
- Put on a skit for your house-mates—or for your dog—or record and send—the best birthday card I ever received was a video of my friend dressed-up and talking in an accent about what she loves about me
- Play cards
- Skip—it is pretty hard to hold a negative thought in your head while doing this
- Sing—anywhere, anytime
- Daydream—our thoughts are a way to play and who knows where they will lead
- Dress in costume for dinner
If you would like to integrate a more playful approach to your daily life and positively create, connect with me at [email protected] or through my website www.agoodlife.coach