Last night, my friend Alison interviewed me for her awesome podcast called "Permission to Play." In her words, "I interview people who are interrupting their industry, breaking the rules, and following their heart's curiosity." I absolutely loved the idea. Then it got me thinking about how to incorporate more play in our lives as adults. You can catch the podcast in which she interviews me here.
So here are my thoughts on how to incorporate PLAY more in your life:
Yeah, we know all of the research about how it's so bad for us to multi-task and how single-tasking is the new multi-tasking. We know that LED light before going to bed makes it even harder to fall asleep at night. We know that checking social media and keeping up with the Joneses makes us more depressed. Did you know that hunching over a screen also makes you less assertive? So unplug for just 10 minutes a day and create some space in your mind to even begin thinking about PLAYING.
2. THE ART OF DOING NOTHING
When was the last time you did PURE, AWESOMENESS, ELATED nothingness? Be honest. When you just sat and had nowhere to be, nothing to do, no appointments, no agenda, and you just were? I totally catch myself grabbing my phone when I'm waiting for someone or in between appointments. I feel you. Recently, I've been trying to catch the beautiful sunsets I can see from my apartment. I try to savor and capture the beautiful reds, oranges, and sometimes purples that are left behind even after the sun goes down. Try doing nothing. It'll further help create space and ideas for PLAY.
Do you remember when you were a child and you would just while your time staring up at the sky or imagining some wild and crazy adventure? Which then led you to actually having a wild and crazy adventure? Those were the days. Did you know that daydreaming is actually good for us?! Hallelulujah! A new study came out that showed daydreaming is actually not a sign of ADHD but that we are creative and smart! Whaaaaat?! Get your daydreaming caps on.
4. CREATIVE CONFIDENCE
In most of my workshops, I have participants draw something. Invariably, there will be one or two participants who will say, "I'm not good at drawing," or they will try to hide their drawing as I walk by. I get it, I've been there. I used to feel that way all the time, up until I read this book: Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley. It's written by two brothers; David founded an awesome global design company called Ideo (pronounced like idea but with an "o"). He also founded the Stanford Design School otherwise known as the d.school and gave a great TED Talk about how to build your Creative Confidence. And no, you don't have to be an artist to be creative and PLAY.
5. USE YOUR HANDS MORE
My dad recently took up woodworking after retirement. He has since built my niece a rocking horse, he has built my mom a 1940s Packard car (similar to the one her grandfather used to drive), and his latest project is a Woody: a station wagon that was popular in the 1960s (!). In a recent phone conversation he admitted he always wanted to use his hands to do this kind of work, and he is so grateful he gets to do it now in retirement. I think there is a certain level of satisfaction to make something WITH your hands. For me, baking and cooking is that something. It makes the meal taste that much better.
6. SCHEDULE PLAYDATES
I have a lot of friends who have kids, and I imagine they also schedule playdates. One of my girlfriends came over with two of her daughters a month ago, and they asked me point blank, "Do you have daughters? Where are they?" They were looking for play dates. My friend laughed it off, but it got me thinking that we adults could do the same. After all, play takes on a whole new meaning when you have play dates.
7. GET GAMING
I don't mean on a device or video games. I mean in real life. Last weekend, Edgar and I pulled out Taboo. For those of you who haven't played it or heard of it, you have to describe a word without using the list of words on the card. Edgar and I had so much fun using inside jokes, being a little bit competitive WITH each other, laughing like kids, and PLAYing.
8. EMBRACE YOUR INNER CHILD
It's funny how as children, we spend so much of our time trying to "grow up" that as adults we often forget to "grow down" and embrace the inner child within. Sometimes when I interact with my niece, I realize that in her world, everything is uncomplicated and simple: she just wants to PLAY and enjoy life. That's it. Wait, life can actually be that simple. We just overcomplicate things.
9. DON'T TAKE YOURSELF SO SERIOUSLY
Last night I watched a movie about J.D. Salinger's life called Rebel in the Rye. After The Catcher in the Rye came out and Salinger became more well-known, people started approaching him and asking him about his novel more. At a dinner party, where he met his future wife, she asked him, "Why are you taking yourself so seriously? It's just a book. I mean, I didn't really even like it that much." Yeah, Salinger, you need to incorporate a little bit more play in your life.
10. COMFORT ZONE
When you play, you're exploring, you're pushing yourself to stray from the norm to the new. Even though initially being outside of your comfort zone feels scary and nerve-wracking, it is actually good for your brain and helps you build new neural pathways! We can actually change our brains.
So what are you waiting for? PLAY more!
*Dedicated to + inspired by my friend Alison who inspires others around her to PLAY.*