Space to play

Monday morning I woke up feeling low, grumpy, tired. I asked myself why?

Maybe after really full and busy weeks with a lot of work and a lot of doing, some space is opening up, for just being.  And when that space of being opens up more, I get to feel more what needs to be felt. That apparently I need to rest and nourish myself.  That indeed it is time now for more being instead of doing.

Playing space
I have consciously been pondering the Dutch word “speelruimte” in the past weeks. It translates to leeway or room for manoeuvre in English. But in the translation the part that I have been pondering is lost. Literally translated the word is “playing space”. Since my words for this year are play and playfulness, all of a sudden this word play caught my attention.  “Speelruimte” literally means room to play in your schedule.

I realized that what is nurturing for me is not only to play after work is done, but to allow myself space to play during work, as part of my work. So I need space to play in my work schedule as well. Space to read and listen to podcasts, to nourish myself with new ideas, new perspectives. Not only quick and focused reading to find a specific idea I need to use in a training for example. But reading with no particular goal in mind, just to be inspired. Listening to podcasts to enjoy the insights and life stories of other people.

Alive and inspired
And although the past two to three months were great in terms of focus and productivity I did not have (or allow myself?) space to play in my workday.  And I miss that, I crave that. Discovering new perspectives, insights just for the love and joy of this, is crucial for my wellbeing, my joy, my energy. It is vitally important nourishment for me.  This is what makes my work feel so much more alive, rich,  abundant. This is what makes me feel alive and inspired.

While writing this post my heaviness has started to lift.  Yes, this what this heaviness from this morning is telling me. It is time to nourish myself. Less doing, more being and nurturing yourself with new inspiration. It is time to play!

Science of play
After writing this I thought of the work of Dr. Stuart Brown, psychiatrist, clinical researcher and founder of the American National Institute for Play.

Dr. Stuart Brown argues that play is not something trivial. No, he writes “the opposite of play is not work- the opposite of play is depression”.  This feels so true to me. I know from experience what depression feels like (I was depressed for some time in my twenties). I know how dark and heavy it feels, like the life sparkle is squeezed out of you. Play brings sparkle and life to your day!

And if you want more reason to bring more play into your day. Think about this. Play is not a distraction from work, or the opposite of work. According to Dr. Stuart Brown, play is a crucial part of your work! Stuart Brown explains: “Respecting our biologically programmed need for play can transform work. It can bring back excitement and newness to our job. Play helps us deal with difficulties, provides a sense of expansiveness, promotes mastery of our craft, and is an essential part of the creative process. Most important, true play that comes from our inner needs and desires is the only path to finding lasting joy and satisfaction in our work. In the long run, work does not work without play” ( Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul).

Time to play

🌱Is there room to play in your workday?

🌱What does it look like for you to play?

🌱Can you create some space for play in your workday? (by saying no to something?)