The importance of rest & play
The summer brings us all a chance to find a second gear and tap into our fun sides! I think this year, finding time to play is especially important after a missed summer in 2020!
The mental and physical health benefits of play are HUGE, and we’re looking at some of them in this month’s lifetonic, PLUS I’ll give you a kick start list for some ways you might want to inject a bit of fun into the summer month’s ahead.
We’re also looking at the flip side of having fun, which is making time for rest.
As we transition out of a full lockdown (fingers crossed), there can be a tendency to over commit ourselves! So this month, I’m prepping you to find a balance between rest and play.
So let’s step away from any to-do list for July and make an intentional decision to nurture our health and wellbeing by having more rest AND play!
What are rest and play?
Rest is truly a time to do nothing. It’s a blank spot in your schedule to stop, reflect, and just be with you. It is also a time to sleep; it’s true we need sleep. Rest can be a 10-minute break to sit outside at work, or it can be a few minutes to sit on the couch at home without turning on the TV, checking your phone, or hopping on the laptop! It can be a short (disco!) nap, or a moment to just kick back and close your eyes.
Play is to do something just for the fun and enjoyment of it, with no goal or expected outcome. When we are in play, it opens us to being present, and it invites us to experience joy.
For everyone play will look different; it might be reflected in your hobbies and interests or the relationships you have in your life. Play can be activities you do on your own, but it is also great when we can do them with other people in our lives. When we share in play, we strengthen connections with others; our children, our partners and even our communities, depending on what we do.
One of the biggest and best benefits of play, is enhancing bonding; either on a personal level or a social level.
Ultimately we can use it as a way to connect and forget about our worries, and that’s what can make it so good for our health.
Why are rest and play important?
Rest and play provide us the opportunity to clear our heads, process emotional experiences, and sort our thoughts. Although we might not be directly focused on the processing and sorting of thoughts, quite often it happens indirectly.
Play inherently makes way for creativity and innovation, strengthening our ability to problem solve and navigate difficult decisions. Including more play in our lives also encourages us to be present and experience positive emotions like joy and laughter, which in turn helps to balance our lives when we are going through difficult times.
During rest, our brain is able to process with less influence from the cognitive functions that are active throughout the day, also giving that cognitive part of our brain a break. When we get sufficient rest, and sleep, we also increase our emotional resiliency, giving us a greater capacity to cope under stressful situations.
What gets in the way of rest and play?
So why do we keep ourselves from rest and play?
For everyone it might look a little different, but for a lot of us we value productivity. Being a productive person means getting things done; when we get things done we see that as an achievement.
We lead busy lives, in part because we value those achievements, so to make time for rest and play would mean we would need to value our own well-being. Sometimes slowing down is worth more than finishing a task, and to play would mean we could allow ourselves to experience joy.
Making space for rest and play, if it isn’t easy to fit into your schedule, needs to be intentional. It needs to be looking at your day and making time to play, even if it is just 10 or 20 minutes (hello Bodytonic Calender for this month).
Taking a rest at work because you are having a hard time focusing can be as easy as doing nothing! Simply just be.
Ideas for more rest and play
Start to make a list of things you like to do for fun, ask the rest of your family or some friends to do the same, and see if anything overlaps.
The overlaps are the things you can do to play together!
Am starting you off with a few suggestions for having FUN this July:
- Do something childlike that just makes you laugh. Take a frisbee to the park, have a water balloon fight with your children, try a cartwheel (I did this a few years ago when my younger cousin from Australia visited. She made me do one and I felt strangely joyous after it! See if it works for you too.
- Get moving! Hop on a scooter, go for a bike ride around your, see how long you can hula hoop grab some ropes and get some neighbours and their children out to skip them – laugh at yourself when you feel uncoordinated!
- Keep it simple. Grab some chalk and play hopscotch on the pavement, or set up a fun scavenger challenge with some friends, family or neighbours.
- Speaking of neighbours, have a neighbourhood BBQ, make a playlist and make sure everyone dances!
- Get out the board games! Laughter is so important for our overall wellness. Why not try a new board game this month? I am highly recommending Speak Out!
Please share in our Facebook community what you’ll lead with…I’d love to know!
Have a fun July!
Love Julie x
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