Today I want to talk about something very serious: how to PLAY.
I truly believe that we are all creative beings, yet we don't play as often as we used to when we were kids.
Studies show that play plays a significant role in a child's development. Through play, the child learns how to interact with others, moral codes and testing the boundaries. But what about adults? Why is it a common belief that when we reach a certain age we "know everything" and don't think we need play as much as we used to?
As a matter of fact we need play during our entire life. I believe It's empowering to meet someone who truly embraces their ability to be in their childlike state of mind without caring about what other people think, as long as they get to experience what's most joyful for them.
What is play?
I would say that play is the very special state of mind where you forget time and space and you're focused on the joy and do it just for the sake of doing it. Nothing is to be gained from the activity besides the joy of doing it. Afterwards, you feel inspired and full of energy.
If you're a bullet journal enthusiast like me, you might enjoy spending time with your bullet journal as a sort of play & relaxation. If you're an artist, you know how it is to just lose yourself into the joy of creating art. 5 hours go by like that and you haven't even noticed it.
The act of play is very similar to flow, a concept founded by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975 and describing a "mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one's sense of time." (Wikipedia)
Why is play important?
Even if the most of us have experienced the flow state, we tend to look down on people who are acting as if they were playing. The flow state is considered a desirable state to achieve. But people in the "grown up world" tend to look at flow and play as childish and nothing they consider would be worthwhile even investigating the benefits of.
Inviting this state of mind would make many people much more effective at work. But it comes with a downside, which is that many people are afraid of being thought of as childish or not serious enough. If more people could recognize the benefits of being in a flow state, we would have a much healthier work environment.
I believe that you are wiser that that, and that you actually DO want to invite PLAY and FLOW into your planning and calendar in order to get into the flow state more often.
Creative activities you can start out with to add play every day:
Every Monday morning before you start your workday, I encourage you to sit with your planner for a while and go through the week. Add some "magic" and beauty to it.
It is a soothing and pleasurable activity for sure. I grab my pens & pencils, acrylic colors, markers and start the week in the most enjoyable way by letting my creativity flow with intuitive drawing & painting.
If you want to start adding some beauty and play into your calendar as well, here's my top tips for how you get started:
- Do some intuitive drawing exercises first thing in the morning.
- If you have a bullet journal, dedicate a spread/ collection for doodles, so that you can do it every day before the day starts.
- Do some some lettering in your calendar or bullet journal.
- Get creative with the layout of your weekly spread in your bullet journal, and try out something new! You might already use stickers/ washi tape, and if you do, you know how much fun it is. But also try out some new moves and try out something new every single morning. Make it a challenge to do a new look to your to do list every morning for a week.
- If you're a digital planner person and use Goodnotes for example, you have no limits! You can create stickers and fun stuff all day long, import stuff from the Internet to get creative with your planning.
And I can't tell you how rewarding it is. Even if you aren't able to block an entire day, try to block at least an hour or two every week to just spend time with that inner playful genius of yours. I know it's in there, and the thing it wants most is to be able to play again.