The Importance of Play

June 28, 2023

Every year, I pick a one-word theme for the upcoming year. It is a fun exercise to kick off a near year and it also helps serve as a good reminder as the days tick by of what I want to prioritize and how I want to spend my time.

My word for 2023 was play – allow me to explain.

I’ve been a long-time admirer of the work of Dr. Brene Brown. For a period of time, she hosted a podcast and on one particular episode, she discussed the concept of play. She referenced the work of another researcher when discussing the concept of play (Dr. Stuart Brown). He defines play as “an apparently purposeless activity that is fun to do and pleasurable.”

Brene shared how she prioritizes play as a source of restorative energy for her and her family, noting that Dr. Stuart Brown states that the “opposite of play isn’t work. The opposite of play is depression.”

I was struck by this discussion about play. I quickly realized I had not been making it a priority in my life (time spent without a purpose? Who has time for that, ha!). But just as quickly, I could appreciate how restorative it is. I could recognize the difference in my energy while I’m doing something simply for fun – hiking, biking, playing a sport, playing a board game – and how I’m able to lose myself in the activity and simply enjoy it.

So, I chose play as my one-word theme for 2023! As we reach the half-way part of the year, I’ll admit that I have done an average job (at best) prioritizing play thus far. Work and tasks appear to be my default setting, but I continue to believe I will benefit immensely from more time spent without a set purpose. The year isn’t over and there is still time to incorporate more play into my days. This long weekend is a great time to start doing just that!

How about you? What sources of “play” do you enjoy? Hit reply and let me know.

Wishing you a safe and wonderful holiday weekend, filled with all sorts of time spent without any real purpose!

PS – The Friday Five is going to take a holiday break as well. We won’t publish next week but look forward to returning on Friday July 14th

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