I have a very important question: When was the last time you woke up completely rested…or the last time you totally lost track of time and lost yourself in the joy of play?
I hope your answer is “yesterday” or “this morning”! But if the answer is that you don’t remember, let’s explore.
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Children lose themselves in the bliss of movement through play: spinning in circles, rolling down hills, dancing. They approach movement with childlike curiosity and the joy they’re able to access uncovers heightened presence, discovery, trance flow state, and state of blissfulness.
Play is not a luxury, it is a bare necessity. In fact, our bodies, minds, and souls need play to be happy. Have you ever heard the saying “All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl?” It is true. If you don’t play, your soul might slowly shrink away, and your light won’t shine as brightly.
Conditioning around rest and play
Our society conditions people to rush, get things done, go, go, go. We learn that rest and play are luxuries, not necessities. We place unrealistic expectations and double standards on ourselves and other women. As a result, we might tend to neglect our feminine aspects.
Contrary to what many people believe, rest and play are highly productive because they regenerate all of our mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional reserves.
The biological importance of play and rest
Are you familiar with Oxytocin? You may know Oxytocin as the love hormone. It reduces stress levels and helps us escape fight or flight response.
You cannot store oxytocin or its stress relieving and bonding benefits. When you have a good experience, the oxytocin floods your brain, but you can’t live off of that one release. We are biologically wired to have daily practices release oxytocin and we have a lifestyle that requires it.
That’s why daily rest and play is so important. They help us fill our tanks so that we can actually be more loving, more creative, more productive, more effective, more fulfilled in our lives and work.
My favorite form of play is dance. I spend a lot of my time and energy thinking in my head space, which takes me out of my body, and dance is how I come back to myself. It’s always been how I reach that state of joy and flow since I was a little girl.
How to use rest and play for nourishment and regeneration
If you have trouble making time for rest or play, consider what your subconscious is saying to you. What is the reason you’re having trouble making time for your basic human needs?
You are the cause of your own life. If you’re choosing to prioritize work, business, other people above your own needs, perhaps you are choosing to see life from a particular perspective.
For example, in my own struggle with workoholism, some of the lenses that I saw my life through were “If I’m not working I’m not making money;” “If I’m not making money I’m not worth anything;” “I have to work hard to make money.”
Instead, I have been working on shifting my perspective to one thing: I am important and I matter.
For me, this was a revolutionary new thought. I wonder if it is revolutionary to others as well. In order to honor ourselves, we must consider that “My needs are important; I am important.” As we learn to honor ourselves, our needs, and desires, we can incorporate more rest and play into our personal and professional lives because we realize their importance.
Shift your perspective to open new pathways in the brain
When you shift your perspective from putting something else above your enjoyment of your own life, to putting yourself and your wellness first, imagine what could be possible. Imagine what kinds of opportunities might come your way; what kind of creative bandwidth you could open in your consciousness; what kind of discoveries you could make—like a baby or a child playing and discovering new perspectives and ways of relating with the world around them.
My hope for you is to continue turning your conditioning on its head. To say thank you but no thank you to those voices that want you to speed up, do more, override your needs. Instead, to take time to slow down, create time to rest, play, and welcome your feminine aspects.
Here are some journaling questions to remind you of your favorite ways to rest and play:
- What is the body and spirit longing for?
- How can you create an opportunity to meet those needs?
- Do you think you create enough time for yourself to play?
- What comes up for you when you consider the word “play”?
- Write down the ways the you would play as a child?
- During which activities do you get lost in joy, trance, or discovery?
- Ideally, how would you rest and recharge?