How can you get more of magic time to yourself and with those you love? It’s building a resistance to the endless call of your social feeds, work and our over-the-top hustle culture. Here are some tips on finding playful moments.
Our digital worlds are amazing for connecting. But, they also act as a blackhole. Venture too close to the event horizon, and— Bloop. You’ve lost two hours to cute dog fails on YouTube. When you feel yourself slipping into that digital trance or feeling stressed, it’s time to find some delight.
And one of the best ways to feel human again is to play hard.
Not Just for Kids
An all-work-no-play culture dominates the professional realm. But there's an argument that it’s a “state of play we should cultivate,” to think like a game designer and build “meaningful quests” into our work life. Research shows play is important for adults too. It’s a “powerful catalyst—for discovery, for problem-solving, and for innovation.” So, why do we neglect play in our adult lives? We’re probably too busy. We get caught up in our daily to-do list.
But, what does play look like for adults? Dr. Stuart Brown, who leads the National Institute for Play, describes play as “something done for its own sake…It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.”
So, what brings you delight? What helps you lose yourself, feel engaged, and increase joy? What’s something you enjoy, just for the sake of doing it?
Playing is a vehicle for connection. This is why the best leaders use team building games and silliness during long meetings. It’s why adults love board game nights and—some—bowling leagues. hanging with? In the context of friendship, a meandering conversation with someone you love may be all you need for “play.”
Play doesn’t have to be complex. It’s something simple and life-giving. Those around you also benefit from your state of play. When mistakes or conflict happen, a state of play can help with repairing connection and bring much-needed levity. Life is short. If you’re feeling drained or “stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread,” then take Bilbo Baggins’s lead: Have an adventure and discover delight.