Summer Is Here – Take Time to Add Play to your Workday

July 19, 2016 Summer Is Here – Take Time to Add Play to your Workday

The late A. Bartlett Giamatti, former president of Yale University and one-time commissioner of Major League Baseball said, “You can learn more about a society by observing the way they play as opposed to how they work.”

Our high tech life with its accelerated pace has fostered a culture that seems to be always working, always rushed, and always connected. With cell phones interrupting the theater, laptop computers at the beach, internet connections at every other café, and home offices that beckon us all hours of the night and day, it’s hard to separate “play” from “work.” Yet to maintain balance in our lives, and for our ultimate well-being, play is important.

Lenore Terr, a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of Beyond Love and Work: Why Adults Need to Play, argues that play is crucial at every stage of life. In play, we discover pleasure, cultivate feelings of accomplishment, and acquire a sense of belonging. When we play, we learn and mature and find an outlet for stress. “Play is a lost key,” Terr writes. “It unlocks the door to ourselves.”

When we are completely involved in play our cares and worries disappear. Sailing, playing a game of tennis, or being thoroughly engrossed in a good novel, we feel pleasurably alive and light-hearted. There is nothing like play that allows us to be present in the moment.

If you feel like you don’t have enough play time in your life (and who doesn’t), try these suggestions:

Turn-off. Turn off the television, computer, beeper and cell phone for at least two hours a day.

Let your mind wander. Recall what you used to enjoy doing or what you always wanted to do before we became so technology-oriented.

Include others. Invite someone over to play, just like you used to when you were a kid. Nothing planned, nothing structured. Let your play evolve naturally.

Think physical. Go for a walk, ride your bike, rent some skates, break out the croquet set from the basement, go for a swim or a run.

Pretend. Pretend you don’t have any cares or worries. Pretend you have all the time in the world to laugh and play and enjoy. Pretend there is no moment other than this.

Any time you have the choice of whether to work “just one more hour” or give yourself over to play, consider what Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.”