Planning for Play

As summer comes to an end often we feel it’s time to “get back to work.” The time for fun and play is over. But fun and play can add energy to your life all year ’round.

It seems fun is usually fit in when we have finished our work. And we never seem to finish our work so we rarely allow ourselves to play. It’s time to plan for play.

Planning for Play:

  • Find three fun activities or events in the weekend paper you’d like to attend and plan to do at least one.
  • Gather an email list of friends so when someone has an idea like going to the art exhibit or seeing the Time Traveler’s Wife they can email the list and find people to go with. Our women’s group at church is doing this.
  • Re-invigorate a hobby you have let go of and plan some time this weekend to participate.
  • Find a fun activity that also interests one or more of your kids. Then you are still parenting and having time together, but you both have fun. My 15 year old daughter and I are doing Wreck this Journal and How to Be an Explorer of the World together.
  • Take a class that looks fun. It’s harder to back out of it if you have paid for it.
  • What did you like doing as a kid? Bike, hike, do crafts, do puzzles, play an instrument? Do any of these things sound fun now?
  • Find a project that you can get lost in. Maybe refinishing some furniture, creating an herb garden, writing your memoirs, or researching your genealogy. Now add time to your calendar for your project.
  • Since you want to keep healthy why don’t you find exercise that is fun? Dance around your living room. Take a hike in a beautiful place. Go bike riding with your kids. Find a tennis partner to play with. Join a hockey league. Play frisbee golf.
  • Play with friends. Have a game night, a movie night, dress up and go to tea.
  • Think about different activities. What makes you smile and gives you a boost of energy just thinking about it? Plan to do it at least once this month.
  • Don’t always say no because you have things you “have to do.” So the family has to get their own meal sometimes. Maybe the house doesn’t get cleaned one day. Perhaps you don’t sit in that boring meeting. This is your life, you need to do what you want to do once in awhile.
  • Plan something to look forward to every day, whether it’s a chapter in a novel, playing a song on the piano, going out with friends, or going to your dance class. Make sure every day has something in it that brings you joy.
  • Keep a fun file folder with things from magazines or ideas of activities that look like they would be fun. When you get stuck with what would be fun this week you can open up the file folder.
  • And be open to spontaneous fun, like playing in the leaves.

I know there are tons of excuses why you can’t or don’t have time for fun and play. But, everyone needs downtime to recharge. Most likely you already do passive activities to relax like watching TV, surfing the internet, reading, playing Farmville, or vegging. And while that’s fine, you may find you get more energy pursuing active fun.

Often excuses are made because you feel guilty you aren’t being productive. But, if you know that a healthy human being needs time to recuperate from the daily stresses of life, then you realize fun is productive. From all the people I have coached, many who think of themselves as lazy, the problems rarely stem from too much playing. Problems arise from exhaustion and impossible expectations of themselves. Give yourself permission to play a bit, guilt-free.

What fun can you plan for the next few days?


Photo credit: Will Game