Taking at least an hour each week or each day to check out and decompress from life’s responsibilities has actually become necessary, especially after the stress of this past year. I am constantly working on many projects and often time do not take a true moment for myself to just chill. I literally have to schedule my meditation practice into my calendar, which kind of makes me sad, but I still do it. In addition, I have to schedule my “play time”. Play is much more than fun and it’s for everyone, not just kids. Americans, primarily, forget to play.
Nothing enlivens brain activity like play. It’s been proven in neuroscience that keeping the brain active with video games in the elderly creates brain function that will most likely stave off symptoms of dementia. Neurotransmitters attached to rats in scienctific testing shows how important play is to the development of the brain, as well as in domesticated animals. Life without play, no games, no fun, no frivolous laughter or joy is just not what the human body was made for. In fact, when there is no consistent play in human lives, it often times leads to depression.
The basis of human trust in acting is through play. So, I will always be on board with collective play. That’s easier when someone else is egging you on. But in your quiet moments, within your own schedule, do you notice if you are taking time out to play, whether it be dancing around the house to good music, playing video games or jumping on a trampoline for fun? If the answer is no, I suggest you make a change. Remember back in the day, when everyone would play Solitaire at their computers and click the window down when your boss would walk by? There was a reason your brain needed to have that opportunity to check out. That game has basically gone out of fashion, as most people play on their mobile devices with a plethora of gaming apps to choose from, but sometimes you just need to find something on the computer to challenge your brain, instead of mindlessly going down a YouTube rabbit hole watching stupid videos when you decide to take a break.
Online gaming has become bigger than ever. In fact, it is monetized and competative. One of my favorite games is Ori and the Blind Forest. If you have never heard of this game, click that link above and set your eyes on the most beautiful video game you will ever see and hear. I’m totally rocking it on Ori. I have to admit, that I had to look online for some extra help once, to get through a level that was giving me trouble, but other than that, I love how challenging it is and look forward to the next steps.
Now, video games like Ori are pretty advanced in every way; a literal feast for your senses. That is a total experience that you need to be present for and the other day I was multi-tasking at my computer and I was craving some old school games to play while I was uploading a video edit. I couldn’t really leave the computer, so just to pass the time, I found a version of an old school invaders game called Neon Invaders. If you have the same craving for some old school basic fun like I did, you can find that game on plays.org which has featured a bunch of these old favorites in addition to other contemporary games. They are constantly adding more games, so I have bookmarked it in my browser for these moments where I need to just take a break. Just playing for 15 minutes in my day, helps me redirect and focus when I get back to my work.
Ok, in addition, on that same site is this one which might be my fave, because it is actually pretty difficult if you are not paying attention, using your up/down arrows on the computer keypad. If you are a fan of Pac-Man, you will love that one, but like I said, you have to pay attention to make any traction to get to the next level. Lots of cool easter eggs on that one.
So, the next time, you are worried about scheduling your “me time” which essentially should consist of general self-care, as well as play time, don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Sometimes, we need to have pure unintentional fun that literally means nothing else to your day except you getting to decrompress for five or ten minutes, or better yet, an hour. Most of us have been working from home, so take a mental break in your own space where it makes sense. We never have to stop being kids. That is a myth. In fact, it’s the one thing we should aspire to. Stay a kid when it comes to play time. You will thank yourself for it.