“There is for many a poverty of play.”
  —Donald Winnicott

self-care: play


Self-care is the practice of sufficiently prioritizing what helps you feel well.  As one option for self-care, play time can be highly restorative, putting serious things back in perspective as one part of your life, but not all of it.  If you take play time seriously as one of your regular activities, you often brighten the other ones.

English psychologist and pediatrician Donald Winnicott once wrote, “It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality.”  He regarded this benefit of using your whole personality as the likeliest means to discover your true self and be fully authentic.

Why exactly does play help?  We know children use it to learn and prepare,  if not also purely for fun.  For adults it can provide additional expansion as a time for dropping all the roles we take on during everyday life, on purpose and not.  When we play, we shift into deep involvement in spontaneous experience.

What and how to play are both entirely up you.  Let your needs and enjoyment guide you.  In some cases you may be looking for a quick burst of play, something to promptly reinvigorate you, but not long-term immersion.  In other cases, you may want sustained play and deeper forms of fun and discovery.  Go for it!

Do you want to feel happy?  Do you want to feel alive?  Are those wishes the lost motivation behind why you get excessively busy in the first place?  Reclaim those aspirations in the immediate present by playing when you want to.  Let them express themselves as the fruit and whimsy of wonderful play.