Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Women and the Art of Playing

We all know about the importance of play for kids' emotional growth and development. It can enhance imagination, increase social skills and boost self-confidence. So why don't we women place more value on play for ourselves?

Early on, most young girls tend to be collaborative, communicative and caring – you can see it when they play house and mother their dolls. And these traits become even more entrenched as the years fly by. As women, we often put the needs of family before our own and are kept busy nurturing our aging parents and growing kids.

We could take a lesson from the opposite sex, many of whom find time to let off steam with a pick-up basketball game or a regular poker night. And there's plenty of expert advice to back up the necessity of that. According to the founder of the National Institute for Play, Dr. Stuart Brown, play is much more than just fun. In his TED Talk, he goes into great detail explaining it as a fundamental need in healthy adulthood - it increases our capacity for creativity, problem solving, adapting to new situations, learning and happiness.

Especially with the added stress that comes with these uncertain economic times, you may think that being able to take precious time away from work and family is unrealistic. But, as members of the Sandwich Generation, it's vital to nourish ourselves so we can be emotionally strong enough to help those who depend on us.

Why don't you check out this active community of women who call themselves Mice at Play? Their main goal is to bring fun into their lives through constructive and positive play-dates, lectures, trips and workshops – in fact, they call it 'fun with a purpose.'

And then try to start your own personal play revolution. Think about your fondest memories of playing as a child. What are a few similar activities you could integrate into your life right now? How can you feel reconnected to your creative and playful side? And how far are you willing to go outside your comfort zone? Just imagine the potential benefits to your physical health, level of happiness and feelings of wellbeing. And who couldn't use a few extra laughs?!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Creativity is so important for letting off steam. Play also increases flow states which have been associated with ultimate happiness. The kind of constant contentment and cheerfulness. I enjoyed your blog :)

5:16 PM  
Blogger Lanre said...

We tend to age faster when our day is full of work and no play. Re-inventing our playful activities from past years could really do a lot to our health. Great post.

5:31 AM  
Blogger Nourishing Relationships said...

You're right, Jane - the idea of FLOW is a state of mind in which we're totally immersed in what we're doing. Developed by Dr. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, it's an energized focus that can lead to feelings of bliss.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Nourishing Relationships said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lanre. With the stress of these tough economic times and our fast paced lives, finding a balance between work and play needs to be a priority for all of us.

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Robin Tramble aka The Empowerment Diva said...

How empowering and freeing to think about playtime. Yes it is a lost art. They often say that we see it as play and don't respect their playtime when they consider it just as serious as we consider our work. I often share with others when feeling overwhelm to take a break and do something they absolutely enjoy. Your creative juices flow and passion is renewed. Thanks for sharing.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Alexis said...

Excellent post. I am a huge advocate of play. I believe that balance is the key to life and you have to take time out for fun and relaxation often. I have to admit that I can get caught up in working too much at times, but I definitely recommit to my playtime as often as possible. Glad to see there are communities promoting this as well.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Nourishing Relationships said...

I hope you're all taking a break from work and playing this weekend!

4:34 PM  
Anonymous online ged said...

I like your blogs and i appreciate it.this is more knowledgeable for me.

4:33 AM  
Anonymous Jean said...

Love this post. It is so true that most busy women do not play enough. I think that it should be a scheduled night each week to just do whatever you want to do, this way it just becomes a habit. Most people don't realize just how much stress this activity actually relieves.

6:26 AM  

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