You are currently viewing Episode 123 – Play

Episode 123 – Play

Why you gotta be so serious? Life is meant to be enjoyed, and play is a huge part of that. It’s well known that play is how children learn so many important skills but what about adults? 

In today’s episode we’re talking about how to break down the barriers to play and how much fun you can have when you open up to your inner child. 

You’ll be looking for things that make you giggle in no time.

Search Smooth Stones on your favorite podcast app to listen. 

It’s going to be the best!

To schedule a free connection call, click HERE

Follow me on Instagram! @amy.smoothstonescoaching

Visit my website.

Photo by Canva

Music by ZingDog on Pond5


Welcome. I have to tell you, I am sitting in my office in the basement and my room is twice as bright as it has been because I didn’t realize for a really long time that one of my light bulbs was burnt out. Like there’s actually two light bulbs inside my light, and one of them, it had broken off and.

The little, you know, the metal part was inside there and there was no actual light attached to it, and I wasn’t able to get it out on my own. And I kept thinking, oh, I’ll take the breaker, turn off the breaker and I’ll fix it. And then I just didn’t, and I just sat in my office kind of in the dark this whole time.

Uh, for, I don’t even know how many years it’s been since I turned this room into my office. It used to be kind of a guest room, but I took it over. Anyways, I am loving this light. It almost seems too bright and in the resto of our basement, so this is why we’ve been doing some electrical work. Uh, my husband and my father-in-law, were working on this.

I do a ton of DIY projects. I, but they thankfully were doing the electrical and we had these old like round, let’s just say what they are, the boob lights guys, and. We just had these three lights in our whole basement and it was so dark and dreary and ridiculous. And so we bought these little lights that you can put, you just kind of drill a hole and stick ’em up there.

They’re like can lights, but you don’t need a can anymore because they’re l e d. Right? You had to have a can cuz it was hot and whatever. You just pop ’em in there and they sit there and the funny thing is, and here’s. Here’s where we’re getting number one. I love it. And I’m just about to start pulling up carpet and painting, getting rid of, I’ve talked about this before.

The chocolate brown trim. We have taken a little bit longer to get going on this project, but we’re, we’re on it now. It is happening. Uh, follow me on Instagram. I’ll try to take pictures, although I forget sometimes. But the thing is it was like a little bit of money and a little bit of time and everything is brighter.

And my husband was like, why didn’t we do this five years ago? What is our problem? Like we totally should have done this before instead of suffering with this dreary basement. And I think it’s a little bit like coaching a lot of times. You know, you’re, you’re not sure if you want to, you’re not sure if you wanna make the investment, you’re not sure.

Uh, you know, we just gotta live our lives dim. We live our lives with burnt out light bulbs and we live our lives with these dreary, it’s just kind of dreary, but we’re used to it, right? And it’s not that bad and it’s fine, and we’re just going along. It’s not a big deal. But then, When you take the little bit of time, you make a little bit of effort, you put a little bit of money into it, what a difference.

I mean, it is so much brighter. Life is so much brighter. Everything’s so much brighter. Everything’s so much clearer and easier. And the cool thing about the l e D lights is I’m thinking, These are gonna use a lot less electricity, a lot less energy. And I think that’s the same with coaching. When we take out those old, horrible lights with the mismatched light bulbs and like the dead bugs and all of it, we put in these efficient light bulbs.

We p we manage our mind, we learn to manage our energy. We like streamline it. Oh my goodness, you guys, life is so much better. I want that for you. So if you’ve been thinking about coaching, come and talk to me as always. There is a link in the show notes. You can sign up for a connection call. We just have a discussion.

You tell me what’s up. I tell you how coaching can help you. Um, and then we take the next step, whatever you decide. But that is what it’s like, that is my analogy of the day. Stop sitting around with like half burnt out broken lights and, and just like, Get some brightness. Okay, let’s talk about today’s topic.

Now, when I was planning out my topics, I’m telling you, I feel like this has been a theme that everything is so heavy. I wanted to feel lighter, especially in December. Come on, like it can be really heavy when you’re grieving. It can also be a lot of fun if we let it. So that is why today is about play.

Let me tell you about my youngest rainbow baby. He is five and he is in an UNO loving phase, so the card game Uno, and he’s actually really good at it and he can definitely beat me even if I’m trying, it’s. It’s really funny. And a few days ago in the morning he asked me if I would play unna with him.

Like, mom, please will you play unna with me? So cute. But my brain wants to think of all the reasons I can’t. Like I haven’t gotten dressed yet and we need to pick up all the breakfast stuff. And I, I don’t really wanna get out down on the floor with him, cuz he loves of course, to play on the floor. And, uh, my entire to-do list is going through my mind.

And you know, the drill, you know what this is like. Um, whatever it is for you, whatever your reasons you don’t wanna play with a child or whoever it is. But then I decided that none of that really matters. Life is short, and there’s this cute little boy who just wants to play. So I said yes, and we played a few games and then I did everything else after, and it was just fine, like it really was.

And while I was playing, I tried to be where I was and. It, it’s pretty easy to get lost. In a card game like that and kind of let everything else quiet down in your mind. And the funny thing is, if I ever asked my son to play Unna with me, he would easily answer yes. You would be so excited. And you might think that’s because, well, he’s a kid and he doesn’t have a big to-do list.

And that is probably part of it, but mostly I think that children are just so good at being in the moment and enjoying themselves and they love hard and they always wanna do things with their family and the people they care about. And unfortunately that changes as they get older. Uh, I have teenagers so I can attest to that.

But children feel most happy and most safe while playing with the people they love. And I think we should take a page out of their book. So I’m gonna ask you what my son asked me. Will you play with me? Ever since I had to cancel my retreat because Covid wasn’t quite as fer as I thought it was in spring 2021.

I’ve been wanting to plan another one, so hopefully we can be playing in person really soon. But for now, let’s just relax and learn about play and why it’s so important. And why is this important for you? Why should you learn about play? Well, again, as adults, we are kind of boring and we have all the excuses why we shouldn’t.

You might even be saying, why should I listen to a podcast about play? I don’t wanna play. I’m busy. That’s even more reason why you should listen. And I promise, uh, as always, I try to keep these really packed, full of information, short and sweet, so that you can just enjoy and continue on with all the things you have to do.

But especially even for grievers, right? We definitely don’t think about playing a lot. So the first thing you need to do as we start is to shush your grownup brain that wants to give you all the reasons that this isn’t for you. You don’t have time. You can’t add one more thing to your list. You’re already failing at self-care.

So how are you supposed to add more play? Tell your brain to chill. All we’re gonna do is explore. So trust yourself to figure out how to incorporate this into your life. It’s really supposed to be fun, not drudgery friends. And like I said, let’s make this full of goodness, and then you take what you learned today and get out and start playing.

What is play is when we engage in an activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose. Now that really could be anything, right? It says engage in an activity, so we really get to define play however we want. Well, why is play so important? Why should we do it? There are a lot of reasons, and actually I went down this rabbit hole of researching play as I was like looking up ideas for this episode and, um, pulling things together.

And I just, I love it. So here’s some reasons. It relieves stress, so it’s fun and can trigger the release of, um, ugh, the release of endorphins. The body’s natural feel-good chemicals, endorphins promote an overall sense of wellbeing and can even temporarily relieve pain. And I think you may have noticed that, right?

If you are in grief, but you go out and do something fun, something that you enjoy or you laugh, or there’s a funny movie or whatever, it’s like, For that moment in time, you’re not struggling in, um, emotional pain Play improves brain function like playing chess, completing puzzles or other activities that challenge our brain can help prevent memory problems and improve our brain function.

And also playing with family and friends can help ward off stress and depression. That’s another thing that be, can be hard when you’re grieving. It’s like, I don’t really wanna go to a party. I’m a little overwhelmed. And you don’t have to, but open up to it, right? Like maybe it could be fun. I remember, uh, a friend of ours used to have this Pictionary party.

I think it was on like Sunday nights, just, it was an open house. Anybody could come in and play this vicious Pictionary game. Uh, and it was so much fun. And I, I love it. I miss that. I always think like I should do that, and then I don’t. Play also stimulates the mind and boosts creativity, right? This is why young children learn so much when they are playing and we can’t do as adults.

So you learn a, a task better when it’s fun and you’re relaxed and playful. It can stimulate your imagination and help you adapt and solve problems. I think we know this is true too. Like when you are just bogged down and burnt out and it is like no fun at all. It, it’s easy to feel stuck. So like just play, play also improves our relationships and connections.

When we laugh together, we are gonna like, have more empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy. Um, It doesn’t even have to be a certain thing you’re doing, it’s just being together and being in the same state of mind and just having a playful nature. I love, I love that term, right? It says here, developing a playful nature can help you loosen up in stressful situations, break the ice with strangers, make new friends.

And even form new business relationships. And I think this is why Angel moms just click together cuz we do feel safe playing and having fun cuz we know the people understand that, you know, there’s a fun side to us as well as a grieving side. And we, we just let ourselves be ourselves and maybe try doing that with other people.

Right, the people around you that you might feel a little more worried about playing with, and it keeps you feeling young and energetic. So George Bernard Shaw said, we don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing. So play can boost your energy, vitality, improve your resistance to disease so that you can function at your best.

I was actually thinking about animals and I, I love animals, I love nature. And I was thinking about, for example, dolphins or whales, you know, they, they’ve been studied and proven that like they jump and swim and play and, and just zip around inside the ocean and, um, come alongside boats and jump in the wake and, and all these things.

Some of it, yeah. Is. Like maybe to get food or whatever it is, but a lot of it is just play, right? There are many animals that still play. Of course, they play more when they’re young, and it’s so cute and we love to watch those nature documentaries, but animals still play. Like it’s something natural within us that we just shut down as we get older.

And so I think we actively need to fight against that, right? And just say no, like, I’m gonna play, I’m going to incorporate play because it has so many benefits. It’s really great for relationships. It can heal, resentments, disagreements, and hurts. And through a regular play, we learn to trust one another and feel safe.

And I think that’s really true. True. Like how, when was the last time you really played with your partner? A lot of times, even if we, we do dates, it’s like we eat together, we watch a movie together, we, we go for a drive. Um, that’s what my husband and I do a lot. If you do something together, if you have an adventure together, if you have new experiences together and just have fun, that is gonna bond you together and create memories.

And that’s something I’ve been trying to incorporate in our marriage is just let’s, let’s do things when we play together, even just a little bit, it, it really bonds us. It heals emotional wounds. There’s. There’s so many good things, right? We know that play therapy is so good for children, but what about us?

What about getting our hands dirty? What about like, like I said, doing something together with our partner or with someone who maybe we have struggled with, um, people in our family. How can we use play to increase our emotional health and make positive changes? There’s a man called Stuart Brown, Dr.

Stewart Brown, and he has really talked about all of this, and it is really more than just fun. It, it just benefits us so much. And as we do this, I think because I spend a lot of time in our brains here, right? We talk a lot about our thoughts, we talk a lot about our feelings. Now play seems like an action, but I want you to take a minute and think, when I play, what am I thinking?

What am I feeling? A lot of times the benefit of play is we’re really just thinking about the activity. We are not thinking about everything around us. We’re really just in it. We’re there, we’re in the moment. And I think that is a benefit because especially like if you’re drawn to thought work, a lot of people I work with were really in our heads or like we like to be right?

And we like, um, Understanding things. We like getting things done and, um, being productive and all, all of this, but play just. It lets you let go of all of that. And so, I mean, while you’re playing, I hope that you wouldn’t have a ton of thoughts except this is fun and you wouldn’t have a ton of feelings except like a lightness and a brightness and a bubbliness.

And just let yourself enjoy and be in the moment. Like think about tickling. Now, I have had a bad experience with tickling, um, so it’s not fun for me, but I was actually thinking like maybe I should. Learn to just enjoy being tickled. Not that it happens a lot, but my husband thinks it’s funny how much I hate tickling.

And so he’ll like encourage the children to tickle me. Um, or he’ll do it a little bit and he knows it drives me crazy. But I thought, what if I tried, like playing? What if I enjoyed it? What if I let myself enjoy it instead of thinking about. The reason why I, the reason why I don’t like tickling, which comes from my childhood.

But yeah, it just, cuz what, what are you thinking and feeling when you’re being tickled? You just, for most people it’s just kind of delight and, and that experience of like your body and reactions and it’s just, I mean, you’re just in it and it’s a beautiful thing. Okay, so there are a couple types of play that Dr.

Brown talks about that are really beneficial. So I’m gonna run through those and, and I want you to think about ways you can incorporate this again as an adult, as a grieving adult, as an angel, mom, a, all the hats you wear, you still need to play because like we just listed, all the reasons why. Let’s talk about this.

Uh, the first one’s called Rough and tumble play, so it helps us learn. So there’s, he says like diving, batting, tug of war, capture the flags, scavenger hunts, kickball, dodge ball, all of these things. So any kind of, basically just getting out there and playing helps us develop emotional regulation and cognitive, emotional and physical mastery.

I think, um, I guess like pickleball would fall into this. I feel like I haven’t tried pickleball. It is all the rage. And I think the fun thing is that is a sport that almost anyone can play and people can really have fun. And the how popular it is really shows you that we’re craving that we are craving ways to play as adults.

So let’s put pickleball into that. Like rough and double play. You got a ball, you gotta. Racket or whatever. You paddle and you’re, you know, there’s trash talking and there’s, it’s just, it’s fun, right? So get out there and do some rough and tumble play. I know, like my husband and my sons have this game where they, it’s a sock fight.

I’m not sure how we evolved into sock fight, but they built a little fort with pillows and they, we just throw socks at each other. And they love it and it’s just fun and bonding and silly and you know, just how can you do that? All right. There’s ritual play, which is like chess board games or activities or sports with rules and structure.

And in ritual play, we can create strategized design and engage in activities that bring people together for a common purpose or goal. I love these kind of games. I love strategy games. I love like Scrabble. It’s probably my favorite. Oh, and, and so yeah, how can you do it? How can you do some of these games?

Find a favorite game. There’s so many good games out there, so many good board games. It’s a great thing to do for Christmas presents. Then there’s imaginative play. This is just like when we were kids and we would run around and just pretend. So there’s coloring, storytelling, painting, drawing, crafting, acting, comedy, improv.

All these things use our imagination. So how can you incorporate that? I mean, even going to an improv show, there’s a lot of those. Most places you can find something like that and participate, jump in and be part of it. And I love all the art, right? I think we also tell ourselves we don’t have time for art or acting or whatever it is, but it’s important.

Then there’s body play. So this is something that comes from a spontaneous desire to get ourselves out of gravity. There’s yoga, Pilates, hiking, rafting, roller coasters, mountain climbing, surfing, snorkeling, anything we’re doing where we’re like using our body. Really just enjoying. And again, that is immersive.

Right when you are, I guess if you’re whitewater rafting, you’re not thinking about your to-do list, like you’re paddling and you’re filling the water, and you’re filling the wind, and you’re laughing and you’re scared and you know all of these things. It’s beautiful. Then there is the last one, which is object play.

And this really brings us back to our childhoods. It’s like doing legos, Jenga, building forts, um, snowball fights, manipulating objects, building and designing all fall into the object play category. And do you do this now if you have living kids in the, in your home? You might have opportunities to do this with them, but sometimes we’re like, oh, this is kind of a chore that I have to play with them.

I’m just doing it cause I wanna be a good parent. But what if you just did it and enjoyed it? Um, we have these magnet tiles and they’re actually super fun to play with and they’ve been a great toy. And I mean, we also have kinetic sand that, um, my kids love. And my teenagers love it. Actually, one of my teenagers was in therapy and that’s what her therapist had was just this big bucket of kinetic sand.

If you haven’t done it, it’s like sand that’s coated in this goo stuff and it never dries out and it’s kind of hard when you squeeze it, but then it also will flow and you can make shapes and then you, it’s, it’s just kind of fun. What if you just played with it? What if you just took some time and played and enjoy and.

Use your hands. I think that’s why I love DIY projects like woodworking, painting, um, all of these, cuz it is a way that I can still play as an adult and I can just turn off my brain and it just feels really, really good. And if you build something, you get to enjoy it after. All right. I’m gonna wrap this up with just pointing out.

I just gave you all the benefits of play. I gave you a bunch of types of play and what their benefits are and how we can use them to improve our lives. Your brain loves to conserve energy. It does not like to do things differently, and it is gonna give you all the reasons why you can’t play more. I want you to thank it for trying to conserve your energy and trying to keep you safe, and I want you to come up with like three reasons that.

You are gonna incorporate more play into your life and how can you make it easy? You guys know I am a huge fan of the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, and he always says, you gotta make it so easy. So even let’s say we’re doing the dishes, well, what if you just put extra bubbles? What if you make it a game?

Um, that’s the thing about play for children. It’s spontaneous. It just happens. For adults, we need to work at allowing it to be spontaneous. We have to work at making it a habit. But I hope it’s not hard work, right? I’m just saying you have to overcome your brain sometimes where kids, they don’t have to do that, but.

I think if you make it a part of your life and in a topic habits, he also says like, have a statement of who you are. Like I am becoming a person who lets herself play every day. I’m becoming a person who looks for ways to play. I’m becoming a person who enjoys playing, who invites people to play with them.

Right. Uh, in college I had a roommate and that’s what she would always say. Like, do you wanna go play? And I’d never heard that. Even like as an 18, 19 year old, I was like, whoa. Nobody ever says that. They say, do you wanna hang out? Do you wanna get together? Do you wanna meet up for dinner? Do you wanna study together?

But she would say, do you wanna play? And so I’m gonna ask you that question as I say goodbye. Do you wanna play? And will you let yourself play? You deserve it out of anybody. You deserve fun and light in your life. It is the holiday season. Like enjoy it. Don’t make it so serious. Maybe I’ll go juggle I I actually can juggle.

Maybe we’ll go juggle some Christmas balls that we have to put on the tree and decorate. But yeah, just, just have fun, lighten up. Life is heavy. Uh, we don’t have to let it crush us. We get a fight against it a little bit. Be a rebel. Get out there and play. I’ll see you next time. Are you tired of feeling like your baby’s death was somehow your fault?

Go to Smooth Stones and get my free mini course. How to Stop Blaming Yourself After Loss.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.