Phones, tablets, computers, and TV get in the way of real play. Unplug and play to refresh body and mind.
Think back to that time in your life when you were a child when you felt so happy and free running around and laughing. Your life was full of play without ever realizing it. This play does not have to stop after childhood and should be brought into adulthood. Many adults do not get enough play in. It is important to take that time and switch the brain off from work mode and immerse yourself into that child-like mode where you are having so much fun. Oftentimes people feel guilty for stepping away from their work desks and playing, but it’s time to let go of that guilt because you deserve to take the time for yourself.
Taking time to play has many benefits. This action can help relieve anxiety and is something to look forward to after a long day. When you play, you are focused on the present moment and nothing else. Before you play, turn off distractions and all notifications, so you can fully enjoy the experience.
Allow yourself to have both scheduled and spontaneous play. You can schedule specific activities or just let it happen naturally. The key is to find the right balance. If you do not schedule, you might not get around to it.
There are many easy ways to incorporate small spontaneous acts of play in a day. One way is through humor. Ask yourself, when was the last time you laughed hard? Joy and laughter are essential components of being happy and everyday life. Allow yourself to let loose and laugh. If spontaneous play isn’t happening, then you need to get it scheduled.
Vacations and Play
Going on a vacation, whether it is to a new country or simply camping in your backyard, brings a whole new perspective. Vacations give the mind and body a break as it is like a life in another place. You have nothing holding you back and can start new, with a new sense of curiosity, wonder, and learning.
Pets and Play
Take your dog on a walk! Visit an animal shelter. Adopt a puppy. Having a dog automatically brings scheduled play into your life, as dogs demand play time. A pet is a great way to prompt play and also can increase your exercise. Also, the joy and the laughter a pet brings to your life is unspeakable. The energy of puppies and kids is going to bring out that child in you.
Imagine the freedom you felt when running around as a child. This same sense of freedom can be incorporated through exercise. There are many ways to make exercise fun and playful. Go on a run and explore the area, or a bike ride and feel the wind in the air. When it is warmer out, it is easier to go on walks and play more outside. Move your body in a way that feels good to you. Go back to that little person inside of you that used to or still does something.
Be spontaneous! Go out and do whatever calls out to you. This may be going to the pond and catching frogs and skipping rocks. Or dancing under the starry skies late at night. Or blowing bubbles and seeing how many you can pop. Check out a book from the library without reading the description on the back cover. Learn how to knit mittens. Drive without knowing where you are going. The options for play are endless. Feel that wonder and the wander and that play and that fun.
Unplugging might not be that easy for you. But we have some ideas that might help make it easier!
Leave your phone and fitness trackers at home and just allow yourself to be in nature. This will help you enjoy nature without the distractions. Set up times and boundaries around social media to hold yourself accountable. You can use apps and websites to track the time you spend on media. Or you can just check your iPhone since they have trackers built right in. Unfollow pages, groups, people that aren’t bringing value or happiness to your life. It is ok to not capture every moment and just be.
Forest bathing is the Japanese practice of taking the forest in through your senses. This is not exercise, such as hiking or jogging in the forest; it is simply being in nature. You connect to it through the senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. This practice is also called shinrin-yoku. Shinrin means forest while yoku means bathing. Forest bathing will help you unplug from technology and slow down. This can help you be in the present moment, de-stress, and relax. Once in the forest, let your body guide you and let nature enter your ears. Listen to where it wants to take you. Look around and smell the fragrance of the forest. Taste the freshness of the air, and take deep breaths. Touch and feel what surrounds you. Your sixth sense is a state of mind: happiness. Enjoy the moment. Small amounts of nature can impact your health positively.
This practice is also known as earthing, where you connect your body with the earth. There is a special kind of energy present in the ground. When you ground, it is as if you are putting your roots into the ground. You feel centered, solid, strong, balanced, less tense, and less stressed. When you are feeling disconnected, you have lost your electrical roots (so to speak). Grounding has many health benefits. These include decreased levels of inflammation and pain, reduced stress levels, and improved circulation.
So what are you waiting for? Unplug and play!