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How’d it go?  Did you find a way to play?  How’d it feel?

Or did you blow it off?  Did you skip it, skip your chance to play because you felt like it was a silly waste of time?

I get it.  It’s tricky.  The idea of integrating play into our daily routine can feel irresponsible.  We have things to do; meetings, family, relationships, dishes.  I know.  I often feel the same way.  However…

If you don’t give to yourself, how can you expect to give to anyone else?  Think of these opportunities to play as resets, as chances to refresh your mind, your body and your soul so you can operate at a higher level, so you can be more awake, more alive and more appreciative of the world around you.  Get happy!

I created a personal list of more than 100 different ways I can play.  These are just a few:

  1. Buy flowers for yourself
  2. Have a campfire
  3. Hug a stranger
  4. Paint
  5. Write
  6. Get lost
  7. Explore
  8. Go to a museum
  9. Play with your pet
  10. Go to a farmer’s market

Some of the things on this list take longer than others, but as with the list itself, you can adapt things to suit your time constraints.  Want to write something but don’t have time to hash out an entire novel?  Send someone a postcard.  Hand write your grocery list.  Make up a short story about one of your childhood friends.  Anything.  But have fun with it.

And don’t judge it!  This is a huge part of this whole thing – play isn’t concerned with outcome.

When we were kids, we didn’t go outside to play cops and robbers or to build forts with the mindset of “I’m only going to have fun if I win.”  There was no such thing as winning in these playful endeavors.

But somehow, as adults, and especially for us tennis players, our enjoyment of our play time has become dependent on the outcome.  Don’t do that.

Play because you want to play.  Play because you like to play.  Play because you want to be outdoors or with your friends.  Do not be concerned with outcomes.  Just play.

Whatever you do, really take a moment to get in line with the fact that this matters.  You matter.  Not only are you worth it, this time you take every day, but you need it.  We can’t stay on top of our game if we never take time to play.

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