Play As A Way Of Coping With Stress

Play As A Way Of Coping With Stress

Play As A Way Of Coping With Stress 1707 2560 Peyton Rockford

Play As A Way Of Coping With Stress

Do you remember being a child? The infinite nature of the world around you? The objects of everyday life around you becoming tools for play? But then you had to start “adulting” and the simple bliss of living got squashed or forgotten. Would you believe that play is the most essential part of a human being? Play is wired into us and contributes to our very survival! Play is proven to help people in coping with stress, boosting creativity, and providing a sense of belonging.

Through silliness and light-hearted fun, we are able to leave the stress of daily life behind us and engage in activities for the sake of the experience, not the outcome. In the midst of play, our brains are able to take detours to wherever they want to go and feed into an endless supply of creativity and imagination. In this realm of guilt-free and stress-free living, a space is created for safety and comfort. When we can learn to re-introduce play into our adult lives, we are able to find ease in the midst of the many difficult things we have to do in a day.

This doesn’t sound like being an adult at all, does it?

Adding play into our daily rhythms doesn’t sound very “responsible.” However, the demands of everyday life can place us at greater risk for burnout, depression, and anxiety. As a result, we can use play can help to prevent that. But first, we need to know if we are teetering on the edge of burnout.

Some clear indications of burnout include:

  • A sense of failure
  • Self-doubt
  • Helplessness
  • Detachment
  • Loneliness
  • Loss of motivation
  • Negative outlook
  • Decreased sense of satisfaction in completed tasks 

Don’t ignore the warning signs. In being mindful of our emotions and what our bodies are telling us, we are more apt to listen and take steps to prevent a downward spiral. When you are feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, it is important to take a deep breath and say, “what can I do for myself today?” It is important to create a list of go-to activities before you are experiencing burnout to lessen the stress and burden of finding a solution in the midst of emotional exhaustion. 

In these moments of seemingly little hope, a simple act of care for the self in small ways amounts to increased pleasure, motivation, and satisfaction. When we are able to engage with our inner-child we have the opportunity to be playful and imaginative. When we play we are coping with stress by practicing self care. Playing emphasizes the pursuit of joy, not purpose.

What are some ways to give yourself permission to play? 

Join a group: running, ultimate frisbee, YMCA classes, Zumba, painting classes, BINGO night, karaoke night

Build it into your routine: morning dance party with child, favorite playlist to sing along to while making dinner, exercise

Involve the family: fly kites, go to the park, run races together, trampoline park, family playlist for chores 

Ideas for play: 

  • Hula hooping
  • Running
  • Biking
  • Flying kites
  • Dancing
  • Singing
  • Roller skating
  • Gardening
  • Joking with coworkers
  • Playing with your dog
  • Goofing off with friends
  • Puzzles
  • Go for a walk in the rain and through the puddles

The ways in which we can play as adults are endless. In our never-ending pursuit of joy through pleasure we are able to experience how to live in the moment, notice the world around us, and formulate a deeper appreciation for our lives and the people in it. Ultimately, play is fun, adulting is not, but who is to say that adulting can’t mean playing? 

At Thrive Collective, Dr. Terry and Dr. Menon assist adults in learning about emotional intuition and burnout. With their guidance you have the ability to gain insight into risks of burnout and make a plan proactively for those times. Dr. Terry and Dr. Menon are eager to help you in your journey to wellness. Book your free consultation now.