If it feels like you have less leisure time and fewer unstructured “play” hours in your life, you’re not alone. Consider these statistics:
- The average married couple works 26 percent longer each year than similar working couples did thirty years ago.
- Leisure time among children ages 12 and under has declined from 40 percent of a child’s day in 1981 to 25 percent of a child’s day in 1997, and about one in four American adults reports no leisure-time physical activity.
- A landmark Surgeon General’s Report identified lack of physical activity, including during leisure, as a serious health threat in the U.S.
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, 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. Play 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:
1: Turn-off. Turn off the television, computer, beeper and cell phone for at least two hours a day.
2: Let your mind wander. Recall what you used to enjoy doing or what you always wanted to do before we became so technology-oriented.
3: 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.
4: 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.
5: 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, remember this advice from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.”
Author’s content adapted under license, © 2008 Claire Communications
I am retired from 40+ years of helping individuals and teams build lives and organizations they love. One of the great joys of my retirement from professional practice is having greater bandwidth to donate my professional and creative talents to support and promote animal and social welfare charities.
During my 30 years as an organization transformation consultant, I served as a senior partner in four of the world’s largest, most prestigious global professional services firms. In 2005, I took a five-year sabbatical to find healing and peace because non-stop work had taken its toll.
My recovery from burnout led to finding my purpose guiding others on their journeys. As a board-certified coach, author, consultant, radio host, Reiki Master and EFT/tapping practitioner, I share hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world.
111419 DJW Sid CH Pet Corner Photo ShootI help clients achieve rapid, extraordinary, sustainable results by connecting who they are with what they do, a connection often lost through stress and the sheer busy-ness of daily life. Courageous self-awareness and unconditional self-love lead to honest choices based on priorities that nurture you and those around you on a journey to wholeness.
Decades in coaching, consulting, change management, organization development, human resources and mixed media artistic expression honed my business sense, professionalism, creativity, intuition, leadership and communication skills. The result? Practical tools that help you become more insightful, creative, committed, productive and fulfilled.
Even the most dedicated and hard-working individuals can shift from frustration to a sense of futility when their values, passion, work, and lives become disconnected. One of the problems with not taking care of our health is that the effects of ignoring it are often slow to show up. We continue to juggle family responsibilities, work and finances until we lose ourselves, waking up one day 50 pounds heavier in body and soul—no good to ourselves or anyone else.
I love working with people who are ready to take life-changing action to make their dreams a reality. At each moment, you have inside you all the wisdom you seek to choose your life and your way of showing up. Limiting thoughts, beliefs and feelings can block you from moving forward. An absence of love and concern for yourself can result in negative head talk that holds you back with discouraging messages about who you are and what you can do.
By listening and caring deeply, I guide you in connecting with your own inner wisdom. We identify the way you’d like to live. We determine what’s blocking you and release you from the hold those blocks have over you—unleashing the positive energy that will fuel you forward. Together we develop a plan to move you closer to your heart’s desire.
My books, blog, radio show and signature coaching programs help individuals and organizations harness the transformative energy of love to turn unexplored possibilities into fulfilling realities and step into their greatness. What’s love got to do with it? Everything! My book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life! (Hay House/ Balboa Press 2013) shares my story and the stories of 10 of my clients along with my signature Discovery Framework.
For fun, I love reading, sewing, knitting, yin yoga, afternoon tea, opera and movies. I live in Williamsburg, Virginia with my spouse, Wilson Abney, and the cat who runs our life, Maisy Jane.