We often hear about how important play is for a child’s development. It allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them. And when a child needs emotional or psychological support, for example for trauma, it is often resolved through Play Therapy.
But what about adults?
We reach a certain age, and play seems to be thought of as “not sensible”. We gain responsibilities, and as we do so, we stop playing. We don’t have time for it. We have “real issues” to deal with. We become more and more stressed about life. And we become stuck indoors behind computer screens, instead of being outside, running around and laughing, discharging all that pent up energy. I personally believe that the more adult responsibilities we take on, the more important play is!
We seem to have turned to “mindfulness” over the past few years, as a method of dealing with stress. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment. Not worrying about the past which cannot be changed, or the future which hasn’t happened yet. Which can be incredibly helpful.
But play is just that. When you are playing, you are not doing it for a reason other than for the sake of playing, laughing, having fun. You can be completely immersed in what you are doing.
When did you last play? What did you do? What do you enjoy?
For me, I would hunt for Easter eggs, play hide and seek in the woods, and paint hollowed-out egg shells in the Spring. I loved lying on the grass, picking clovers, making fairy dresses out of leaves, and making daisy chains, rolling down a grassy hill, in the Summer. I loved kicking leaves and playing conkers in the Autumn. I loved snowball fights and making snowmen in the winter.
I still do all of this!
And as I have grown up, I have added a few other things along the way. Water fights, mountain biking, fun runs, Five Rhythms Dance, play fighting with my dog, camping, making bonfires, playing the violin, making art, appreciating art…..play can be endless. It is just about enjoying doing something for its own sake.
With all the troubles in the world and pressures on relationships, playing with your partner can remind you of what being in a relationship can be all about. It can create new ways of being intimate with each other, and enjoying each others’ company.
Being grown-ups does not mean that we always have to take everything so seriously. Humour and play can really help to dissipate tension in a relationship. It means that you stop focusing on what isn’t going right, and on something positive instead.
If you can’t remember what you liked about play, think back to when you were a child, the things you used to enjoy. What did they involve?
Write a list. Share it with your partner. Ask them to do the same – you might remind each-other of long forgotten types of play. Find which types of play you had in common when you were young.
And then go and build that sandcastle or fort, fly that model plane or kite, and toast marshmallows over that bonfire.
And tell me all about what you did – I would love to know!!
P.S. If you would like me to guide you through your relationship ups and downs, to give you the support you need to make your relationship thrive, sign up for my newsletter which is packed with helpful information and advice. You can also download my FREE Communication Guide for Couples or my Four Seasons Relationship Course, a course delivered over 4 modules, providing you with the foundations for reconnecting with your partner using the four seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter as a guide. And subscribe to my Facebook Livestreams to make sure you are notified every time I go live, so that you can interact with me and ask me all of your relationship questions.
PPS. COMING SOON: For those of you who feel you would benefit from more in-depth expert guidance, to learn the exact tools and techniques needed for resolving conflict in an effective and loving way, I am soon to release my BRAND NEW Compassionate Conflict for Couples course. This is a 4 week programme designed to guide you and your partner through conflict in a calm, effective and loving way, so that you can go from hurt, frustration and blame, to FINALLY resolving conflict compassionately, positively, and feeling heard – without feeling like you have both lost a battle. I will be posting more information soon but in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for more information. And the sooner the better because there is a SPECIAL BONUS for the first 10 people to sign up for the course! To make sure you don’t miss out, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org, or send me a PM on Facebook.