Play Hard

Time to PlayI’ve covered loving hard and working hard so it’s only fair that we talk about playing hard. It is really important that with the work and stress we are typically under most of the time to take time off. Whether that is two weeks away for a family vacation, joining a sports league, or spending a weekend communing with nature or just unplugged, it is important to find your way to play and engage in it.

In my life I have played on a volleyball league, been on a bowling league, played softball a time or two, walked in a lot of fundraising walks, and walked through Disneyland and through many landmarks in other states and in Europe.

All of that constitutes “play” as far as I’m concerned. It took me out of my everyday stressors¬†and let me relax and enjoy playing.

If nothing else, sit out in your backyard or beside someone’s pool and read, write, listen to music, do anything but work or stay on your electronic devices. Step out of that box and turn your phone on silent or airplane mode. Just for a couple of hours. It should make you feel refreshed–at least for a minute or two–until you walk back into your stressors.

But you need something to look forward to. If you can take a trip, do it. Even if it is just driving to another city for lunch or driving to another area of your state to look at landscape different from what you are used to. And do it often. Don’t wait months to get our of your “normal.” Do it as regularly as you can.

Our children and grandchildren don’t know what it’s like to play outside all day long, to play Red Rover or tag, to play tetherball or dodgeball, to get dirty and sweaty and have some of the best times with friends ever. It’s a real shame that adults have become so overprotective that kids aren’t allowed to do any of these things because they are “too dangerous.” We need to let kids be kids and we need to be kids ourselves every once in a while.

Be silly. Have fun. Do something crazy. Get out of your own way and enjoy life for a while. It will make a difference in your work and in your home life when you take the time to play.

Even while you’re at work, have fun. At one job I had we started the Happiness Posse where three of us got together and did things for the people we worked with like passing out ice cream bars, holding a Play-Doh sculpting contest, passing a carnation out to everyone, just generally doing things to distract people for two minutes and encourage them to be happy. It was a success and people loved it. It was unexpected and always enjoyed. I was actually surprised at the entries to the Play-Doh sculpting contest because I didn’t think people would participate, but they did! And it was cutthroat competition!

Another thing I’ve done is putting together a newsletter with the happy things going on in coworkers’ lives. They send pictures of vacations, family celebrations, etc. to share with everyone else. You can’t read it and not feel the happiness (and an added bonus of getting to know the people you work with a little bit better).

You can play hard in many different ways, it’s just important to play. Life is too short to constantly work and not enjoy any of the results of your efforts. Make plans now to play–in whatever way entices you right now. I hope you have a great time and plan the next play date with yourself as soon as you can.

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