While it sucked to be isolated with COVID for 10 days, I was grateful for the huge lesson I learned in that time: remembering the power of play.
Instead of going down a Netflix rabbithole like a normal person, I stayed true to my workaholic tendencies and kept finding ways to be productive. What else could I clean, read, or write? Someone pointed out that I always seem to be on a hamster wheel of thinking about what comes next.
I was blessed by serendipity while cleaning out a few boxes of childhood items my parents brought over. I found drawings I made when I was six years old, smiling and tearing up at how carefree I was, unshackled by adult responsibilities and anxieties.
In the weeks surrounding my recovery, I’d been stressed to the point of burnout. There wasn’t much I was looking forward to, and people in my life noticed I wasn’t smiling or joking around as much. I decided to add more joy to my life, inspired by my six-year-old self.
These are a few habits I started incorporating:
- Playing more video games with my brothers
- Organizing board game nights with friends
- Taking pole classes instead of just teaching
- Going to museums and enjoying walks
- Hanging out with my two huskies
- Relaxing in hot baths and jacuzzis
We need play as adults. It stimulates our brains, boosts creativity, gives us more energy, releases endorphins, improves brain functionality and memory, and helps us be more present. Against all logic, I often choose the dopamine cycles of work and stress over play.
I want to be more intentional about this and learn from others who don’t take life as seriously. It won’t be a perfect process, but it’s a prospect that always excites me. I’d love to hear how YOU discover the power of play in your life and remember to keep chasing joy.
If you’re more of a visual or auditory learner, here’s a speech I gave for my Toastmasters club that inspired this blog post: