Don't forget about Play!Jun 01, 2022
How often do you take time to play? Really truly, just play? If you are like most women these days the answer to that question is probably, “not very often”. How sad that as we become adults we forget about the joy of letting loose and embracing what is possible when we play.
Watching children play is such a great example of what it is like to be carefree and uninhibited. They get fully invested in the game at hand, they don’t care who is watching or what it might look like on the outside, they just play. Not only are children unafraid to look and act silly, it is usually the entire point in the moment. Making their friends laugh is a high priority along with simply having a good time, the pure enjoyment of whatever game that is happening is the number one focus. Just walk by a playground and listen to the laughter, it is one of the most magical sounds on earth.
My friend Sarah is one of the best examples of someone who knows how to play. The last time I was visiting her I found myself dressed as a big yellow banana dancing around the living room to the song “Day-O (the Banana Boat Song)” with a bunch of friends (ha, ha see what I did there with “bunch”). Now, had I been told ahead of time that this was going to happen, I would have stressed over it and I likely would have conjured up a million excuses as to why I could not participate in this particular activity. Oh, did I mention this dance was being recorded and was going to be played in front of a large group of our peers during a “talent show”? Yeah, that happened. The thing is, I just did it, and you know what? I HAD SO MUCH FUN! It was so silly and so funny to be dancing around as a big old yellow banana, the epitome of playfulness.
This experience happened because Sarah normalizes play. It is intrinsically who she is. She can gamify anything, she is not afraid to look silly and have fun. Sarah will draw you in and include you in a way that is completely accepting and safe. I admire this quality so much as it is something that has not always come naturally to me. When I am in her presence I know there will be play, laughter and most importantly, true connection. Sarah has a way of making you feel uninhibited and adventurous, what a gift that is!
Over the years I have gotten better at letting my playful side out, but it has taken an effort on my part to do so. I used to be so afraid of being laughed at that I would stand on the sidelines and watch as others would have a great time. I would say I was fine just watching, that I didn’t want to be part of whatever “silliness” was happening, but that was simply not true at all. On the inside I was longing to be carefree and less self-conscious. I was always thinking about who might be watching and judging me. As it turns out, nobody was watching and judging me more than I was myself, what kind of friend was I being to me? I’ll tell you, a terrible mean one, not a friend at all!
These days I am putting playtime on my priority list, I am committed to finding the time to play regularly. It may sound ridiculous to schedule in playtime, but if I don’t, it won’t happen.
We could all stand to have a little more play in our lives don’t you think? You may be asking, “how do you do that”? Well, here are some tips for making play happen:
Play in friendships requires you to Embrace the Present Moment
Bring play back into your life! Being willing to be fully present in the moment is key to allowing more play into your life. Empty your mind of the day's worries, let the to-do lists slip away for awhile, you won’t lose them, I promise. Allow yourself to get lost in the fun of doing something you love. When you decide to invite some play time into your life, do it with intention. If you are thinking about the next work project or what you are going to make for dinner you will lose part of the joy of your playtime. Stay in the moment with whatever it is you have chosen to do. Bringing along a friend is a great way to stay in the present moment. Inviting someone to have a playdate with you will not only support you in making sure you are playing more, it will spread the joy to your friend as well!
Play in friendships means to Trust Yourself
Trusting yourself is essential when in the pursuit of play. When you have decided it’s play time, do it full on! Don’t hold back, jump in with both feet. Don’t overthink it. The beauty of play time is that you can’t do it wrong! Ask yourself, “what kinds of activities do I enjoy”? What are the things that when you do them you can easily lose track of time while doing them? Make a choice to trust yourself enough to lose yourself in the activity/fun at hand.
Play in friendships means Hope
Were you ever the kid standing on the sidelines just hoping you would get picked to be part of the game? I was, and it could be a really lonely and defeating feeling to not hear your name called out. Well, I have great news for you! You no longer have to wait and hope to get picked, you are the captain of the team now, you get to play every single time you decide to! How great is that!?! The world is your playground, go bounce around in it and have a blast! Call a friend or two and invite them along, you just might make their day, maybe they were just hoping to be “picked” ? The joy you could give to others as well as yourself is immeasurable when you stop waiting and take action.
Play in friendships takes Time
Make time for play! When things are important to us, we can make the time for them. Including time for play in your life will bring you the joy that you need. Having “no time” for the things that you enjoy is a myth. Time management may be an issue, prioritization may come into play, but everyone has the same amount of hours in a day, so take ownership over how you spend those hours. Don’t let time be your excuse for cutting play out of your life. If it is important to you, you can find the time, and you will thank yourself for doing so!
: ) Sheri
P.S. Want to have the opportunity to PLAY in-person?? Consider joining us for our In-person Connection Retreat this September in Las Vegas, there is no better place to play!
If you are tired of being lonely and struggling with friendship or would like to learn more ways to have better friendships join us at our free events and workshops. Together we are always better!! https://authenticfriendships.com/
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