I have created a new offering and I am super excited about how it is going so far. If you haven’t already heard, The self-reflection challenge is made up of 30 light and encouraging videos. Best of all this challenge is free and self-paced and has no end date! This challenge will be ready whenever you want to catch up on videos, start it all over again or share it with someone.
How you see yourself
What self-care means to you
Self-love and compassion
What really matters to you, dreams goals and other magical stuff!
The challenge covers a wide range of topics to help you reflect in a fun, useful and maybe even a little challenging way.
Sharing what you are learning from each video is a great way of getting the most out of this challenge. Let others encourage you and also let others know what you think about their comments.
I will be answering each question along with you so you can get to know me a little too. I have to admit that I am feeling the fear and doing it anyway with this challenge but I believe who we are, deserves to be seen, showed off and celebrated. Our dreams and ideas are important!
I talk about self-care a lot as part of my work. I probably talk about it so much because I used to be so terrible at it. Self-care was the first way I began to make changes in myself and become more aware of my own needs. It took a lot of practice to make time for myself without feeling guilty or unproductive. I’d feel selfish and indulgent anytime I spent time on myself. I’d feel there were more important things to be doing. It took me a long time to realise that self-care is an act of self-love.
Eventually, it finally clicked that spending time on what I needed to feel good was important for me and those around me. When I am at my best I am a better parent and partner. My work is better, I am more present in what I am doing. I am also more able to support others when my own needs are taken care of.
So, I have created a video talking all about my favourite ways to take care of myself. I am experimenting with using video and this topic felt like a great one to play around with on camera!
These are my current top five self-care activities. I use these activities and loads of other ways to refuel and care for myself. They are my ways to relax and play and be creative. They help me feel well and good when life is busy and stressful when I feel like I am constantly on an errand for someone.
What did you think of my video? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave me a comment and let me know what your favourite ways to take care of yourself too.
Recently I was in Gdansk with my husband for a mini-break. We took advantage of our temporary child-free status and signed up for one of the city’s free walking tours. If you haven’t been to Gdansk I would recommend seeing the city via one of these walking tours. You get to hear so many unique stories and are shown so many little details. It was interesting to see the things that are easy to miss as you take in the scenery around you.
If you have been to Gdansk, you will know that the old town is a stunning mixture of medieval, gothic and renaissance architecture. During our walking tour, our guide showed us the Dlugi Targ (Long Street) and its opulent-looking townhouses of the rich merchants of the middle ages. He told us stories of how the merchants designed their houses. The design was a grand display of their wealth. They used Roman gods and myths to decorate their houses to also display their values to their customers. They wanted to demonstrate that they were good, honest and fair tradespeople as well being wealthy and successful.
As we wandered through the city listening to the tales of the merchants, I began to think about how we show ourselves to others today. The merchants of Gdansk used their houses to convey the values they had to others. Nowadays, I think it is less likely that we would decorate the outside of our homes to show who we are. We do, however, consume home decor to display our personality, values and taste.
When it comes to who we are, we try to display a side of ourselves that is going to be accepted by others. We want to be liked and viewed favourably just like the Gdansk merchants. These townhouses were all about generating trust, business contracts and wealth. We may do the same in our work with the way we present ourselves to others. I think it is also true that we display ourselves in a certain way personally too.
I began to think about what hid behind those opulent fronts. All the family quarrels, hidden debts and imperfections. We play the game of hiding and displaying the “appropriate” sides of who we are in certain situations. You may have felt the conflict of doing this if you have ever been in the company of two very different social circles. For example, as a teenager I remember acting a certain way with my friends but I certainly modified myself when I was in front of my parents. If the two were ever in the same company simultaneously, I became nervous about trying to be both a fun and playful friend as well as the sensible and dutiful daughter. If you have ever felt this internal clash between the two sides of yourself then you will know what I mean.
We adapt and display different parts of who we are in different settings. This got me to thinking about the sides of myself I used to or still do struggle to hide (or struggle to stop hiding!) I used to hide my own thoughts and opinions with certain groups of people for fear of being judged. In discussions, I often kept quiet and agreed to things that I really didn’t like in favour of going along with the group. At times, I have hidden the part of me that wants bright red hair and turquoise nail polish because “it’s not what a sensible, thirty-something, mum does”. I have kept quiet about the part of me that hated my partner’s job because it paid well. Where have you hidden? Where have you dampened your spirit in favour of going along with the convention?
It can be a dangerous game to censor ourselves too readily. A little censorship can be helpful if you are a merchant trying to land a lucrative contract but be careful not to hide too much of yourself. Being you is what make life fun and free. Our differences and passions, our uniqueness and quirkiness are our greatest gifts and to hide them away from the world never to be enjoyed is a tragedy.
My nails are currently decorated like turquoise mermaid tails and my hair is a vibrant burgundy (according to the box). I may be the only mum at the parents meeting at school with winged eyeliner and bright nails but that is me. It is what makes me different and unique and hiding those parts of me is such a shame. I’d rather let myself shine whenever I can. I am done hiding and I recommend you ditch it too. When you are who you are unapologetically, it is so much easier. You do not feel the clash of being who you should be and who you are. You don’t have to manage several identities. It’s much less work and much more honest. Most importantly, there is less pressure to be something you are not which is freeing and liberating!
Can you notice when you tell yourself what you should be doing? If you can notice it and question whether you really need to compromise, this is the first step to stopping hiding. I have started asking myself, “Who do you want to be here?” and I find it really helpful. Do you want to be the girl who stays quiet or the one who speaks up? The brilliant thing is that the choice is yours from each second to the next. You can make a change as you are ready and when it suits you. You can be brave and put yourself out there or choose to stay quiet and safe when you feel vulnerable. We all have a choice and that is where the freedom lies.
Do you indulge yourself? Can you let yourself have what you want without guilt? How easy do you find it to say and do what you really want? I am talking about self Indulgence. According to dictionary.com, the meaning of indulgent is indulging one’s own desires, passions, whims, etc., especially without restraint.
the concept of indulgence often has a negative connotation. Self-indulgence is often associated with narcism and selfishness and being inconsiderate of others. It is often considered as a negative trait in a person rather than something to be admired. On the other hand, productivity, being organised, getting more done and striving is prized as the sign of a good worthwhile human. Someone with their life together, all organised. We all want to be more
On the other hand, productivity, being organised, getting more done and striving is prized as the sign of a good and valuable person. Someone with their life together, with their ducks in a row. the idea often leaves us wanting to be more.
It can be so easy to push and tell ourselves that our self-care, desires or passions are not as important as the “serious stuff”. Paying the bills, working, being productive and accomplishing always seem to be valued as great ways to spend time. Proudly announcing that we spent a day wrapped in our duvet just doesn’t scream success in our society.
I have the potential to be an expert in self-denial but I am working on letting my self-indulgent side out. When I feel pressured or busy, I find myself putting off pleasurable activities till later. I am even aware that it will do me harm in the long run. I hold productivity and achieving so dearly that everything else drops down the priority list. Maybe IIs it cos I like to be the martyr? maybe I am waiting for someone else to jump in take care of me. Do I want to be seen as superhuman? Or is it that I just put things off for later feeling it’s not important. It’s probably a combination of all of these things to varying degrees on different days.
The thing is I am not taking care of myself when I repeatedly put off and deny myself pleasure. When I deny any self-indulgence the first few times nothing really happens. I get on with things and sometimes I feel really good about how much I get done and how productive I feel. The next time I do it I do not even notice it and very soon I start to feel stiff and tired and lose my creativity and inspiration.
If I continue denying myself after this point, what I get is increased feelings of panic and desperation. I begin to feel hard put upon and then soon after I will blow up over things and I am not sure why. I have to force myself to get through my obligations and I just generally feel terrible. At this point, I stop and usually have a meltdown followed by a Netflix binge and a packet of biscuits. Then I let myself do what I need to do.
This all feels very bingy, it’s like I am on some sort of pleasure diet. You know when you are on some crazy faddy diet that cuts out a whole food group and you feel crappy. Well, I put myself on a pleasure diet I deny all forms of pleasure till I binge and then feel unproductive and guilty. I suspect this to be as unhealthy as its food equivalent. This doesn’t work, just like a diet, denial of any kind doesn’t work. Martha Beck explores this concept of how we can add more joy and practice being more self-indulgent in her book The Joy Diet. It’s really great reading if you want to go a little further than this article.
What can be done today, right now as we think about why we deny ourselves pleasure so easily and feel so terrible for it? The thing is that deep down we always know what we really need. We often hide it with layers and layers of social conditioning and expectations. This includes layers of beliefs and expectations that we have taken to our hearts. Ideas about being a woman, an employee, a business owner, friend, daughter, wife and a mother. What a good person does, what the right thing to do is and how we should look while we go about our daily lives. These expectations, ideas and beliefs can add guilt, pressure and stress if they are at total odds with reality.
You are worth more than that. What if we loved ourselves enough to know when to say stop we before we reach meltdown. Imagine if we valued ourselves enough to give ourselves what you need. What if we supported ourselves like we support others?
What is working for me right now is listening to the voice that I have so often neglected. The one that tells me when I am tired and tells me to go for a walk instead of writing one more email. It is saying yes to pleasure, what I really want and give myself a yes day rather than continually telling myself no to what I want.
Even simpler than that is to notice how you really feel. Notice when you are denying yourself, notice when you put things off that you enjoy. Notice when you tell yourself that what you want is not important. When you say you will have fun later, when is that? Do you do it later or just put joy off again? What is your pattern or habit? Keep a note of how often you are denying yourself pleasure. Keep a note of how you feel when you do this and how it feels after. When do you stop, do you ever? Do you want to be able to do this more? Do you ever feel guilty for taking time for yourself or do you enjoy it and treasure it when it finally comes.
Examine it like you would something important, study and note how you feel and treat yourself.
Taking time out inspires my work. I can write a blog post in half an hour rather than eight when I am replenished, excited and inspired. When I feel good, I can talk with passion and emotion on video. Being at my best means I am a better, more present coach. As a mum, I am a more patient and empathetic. I am a hell of a lot more fun, happier I am a better partner and friend.
There was a time in my life when most days would be spent running around, endlessly busy and stressed. I would criticise myself for not being better at what I was doing and give myself a hard time for not being more than I was.
I’d tell myself that I didn’t have the time for things that were enjoyable or relaxing. Even when I did slow down, I would worry about all the tasks I needed to get back to and worry about forgetting tasks from my schedule. Comparing myself with others left me feeling down, I wished to be more focused, more organised and able.
I am glad to say that I eventually found this level of self-torture unbearable. This meant taking on the difficult task of changing the way I treated myself. These days, I am proud to say that there are many days where I show myself kindness, compassion, and love.
For example, as I wrote this article, I paused and made time to listen and really soak up a song I like that was playing on the radio. Doing this without feeling guilty and unproductive has taken some practice. It is little everyday things that make a huge difference.
To be at my best and my happiest, I need to make myself a priority. Loving myself and treating myself with care doesn’t just benefit me. I am sure you can imagine that feeling exhausted and inadequate made me way less enjoyable to be around.
Loving yourself is a skill and that means it takes practice. It is so easy to make excuses for not taking care of ourselves. We live in a society that values productivity, being organised and achieving results. Becoming caught up in our schedules and to do lists isn’t difficult.
To add to the pressure, we push ourselves through with a mean and critical inner monologue. We compare ourselves to others and see everything that we are not rather than everything that we already are.
Self-love has been a journey and it is still one I am trying to figure out. These are some of the lessons I have learned along the way as I work on showing myself some love.
We often tell ourselves that we are too busy for time out, that we don’t have time for the things we enjoy. This is such a draining and depressing way to live. My life is far too precious to avoid fun, laughter, and joy. Taking care of yourself doesn’t need to take a long time, it can be as simple as listening to music or getting outside. Can you imagine how a day filled with lots of little things that make you smile feels?
There are of course times when I want to strive to get a task completed. There are things that are so important to me that I am prepared to push myself that bit further.
What I have learned is that we always have a choice. We can rush around trying to be superhuman or we can do things to the best of our abilities at a pace that feels good.
Ask yourself, is the rushing and stressing you do every day worth it? For me, it was not worth the effort or the results to go through life focusing on everything that needs to be done. As long as I have a rook over my head, my bills are paid, and my children are loved, everything else can wait a while.
Letting go of that pressure to do and be more has been an act of self-love. I would rather be happy than have an empty to do list. If I am truly honest, the empty to do list just isn’t going to happen. There will always be things that need to be done. It is better to make peace with that than to fight against it. Working harder or faster is an option, and not the only one available to me.
Feedback and critique have an important role in how we learn and develop. The critique that we give ourselves can often be far harsher than those around us. Our inner critic is that little voice that tells you that you need to get it together and be different in some way to how you already are. It tells you that you are lacking and are not capable. This voice is a strongly demotivating force that feeds our fear and undermines our confidence.
Ditching the inner critic sounds simple but it takes awareness and practice. When I tackle a challenge and remind myself that my best is good enough, it makes things easier. It feels much better and I do not need to force myself to keep going. Remembering that what I do is worthwhile whether or not it is perfect takes the tension and fear from my shoulders. It makes a difficult situation that little bit easier.
Creating a kinder inner voice for myself is the smallest yet most transformational act of self-love I can undertake. Being my own cheerleader in life rather than my own torturer helps me be the person I am rather than focusing on all that I think I am not.
I used to feel so guilty if I wasn’t doing something that I considered to be serious or worthwhile. Reading a book for pleasure, painting my toenails or simply taking a moment to do nothing were all things that I felt guilty for doing.
This is a cruel and deprived way to go through life. I do not want to deprive myself of the things that make me happy. I want to make as much time for joy as possible. Enjoying life and keeping fun as a priority is not self-indulgent.
As a mum too, I find it incredibly easy to put my children before me. My children will always be central in my focus but I don’t want to forget who I am and how I want my own life to play out. By being fulfilled myself, I am a better mum and a happier person. I want my children to see me going out and reaching for happiness and making the most of my life so hopefully, in turn, they will do the same for themselves.
When we do not think very much of ourselves it can be easy to believe that everyone else is doing better at life than we are. Comparing is easy, humans are social creatures. We want to fit in and not risk judgment or shame.
Nobody has a clue what they are doing in this life, we are all just fumbling around trying to make the most of our situation while trying to make it look like we know what we are doing. When I realised that I was no more flawed or different than anyone else it was a massive relief. The pressure that it released allowed me to work on accepting myself for who I am rather than wanting to be more.
We are all amazing, each and every person on our planet. If you are giving yourself a hard time, pushing yourself and criticising your actions then you are even more amazing. I know this because I know that you are getting through life while not showing yourself any love. That is immensely difficult and takes great strength. Can you imagine who you would be if you loved and accepted yourself and took care of yourself? Imagine the potential you would awaken if you loved yourself.
Pressure seems to be a part of modern life. There is the pressure to be successful in our relationships, careers and finances. There is the pressure to do the right thing and act the right way. Let’s not forget the pressure to look great while you are being successful. Much of our pressure comes from the society we live in. We receive messages about what is expected from the media, institutions and those around us but how much pressure do you pile onto yourself every day?
Have you ever noticed you telling yourself what you should and shouldn’t be doing? Maybe you told yourself that you should pull yourself together or shouldn’t let things get to you? These are the types of should or shouldn’t statements add pressure. They are a reflection of a judgement or a value we are placing on something. In my experience, the judgement is a critical one about how I should be more than I am. Do you feel the pressure like a hard lump in your throat that you struggle to swallow?
I often talk to clients who tell me who they should and shouldn’t be something other than they are. They should be stronger, braver, more grateful and work harder or faster. They shouldn’t care so much, let things get on top of them, take things to heart, or complain.
It can be pretty gut-wrenching when we first notice the pressure we put on ourselves. Most of us would never ask anyone else to be more than they are and pile on the pressure in the same way. Why do we do it to ourselves?
Should and shouldn’t statements are often based on values and ideals which on its own isn’t a bad thing. What is bad is the judgement that we attached to it. When we judge how we are doing things and use it as a method of self-criticism. We use the words should and shouldn’t to imply that we are not doing something we are supposed to be. It adds a layer of pressure, of guilt and
We add a layer of pressure, of guilt and potentially shame as we internalise these ideas and what it means about us. For example, when I am behind on my writing and I tell myself that I should have written more, I feel guilty and lacking in my work (guilt) I could go even further by telling myself I am a bad writer (shame).
Can you notice the next time you are using should and shouldn’t to criticise yourself?
Are you putting too much pressure on yourself?
Should and shouldn’t statements can but are a powerful weapon used by our inner critic can you imagine how life would feel if you could stop craving to be different than you are. If you could believe that you do not need to be fixed.
You should not be any different to how you are. What you do is enough what you are is always enough.
There are times when life feels uncertain, when you face challenges and you worry about how the future is going to look. Not knowing that things are going to work out can feel scary and overwhelming. We agonise over making decisions and wish someone would arrive with a crystal ball. We wish to be told that all our pain and worry are pointless because it is all going to be ok. Unfortunately, time travel isn’t an option so how do we help ourselves feel more grounded and secure in the face of uncertainty?
Here are 7 little things that I have found help me when the future looks scary and unknown.
Imagining how you want things to look once you get to the other side of this challenge can feel really reassuring. This helps you to focus on the reasons you are doing this horrible scary thing rather than running for the hills. Remembering your goal or solution can also help you keep a little perspective when you are in the trenches. This isn’t permanent, things are going to look brighter!
When things get really tough don’t be afraid to back off if you need some space. Forcing yourself to power through and relentlessly look for a solution feels awful and is most likely counterproductive.
You don’t have to continually feel the fear and do it anyway.
Back away, pause and regain your strength and then get back to it. You are allowed to choose the long way round or take a detour. Return to your problem when you feel a little less overwhelmed. Finding your next step can seem easier after you have had the chance to take a breather.
Talk to people who understand what you are facing. If you do not know anyone who has been through what you are dealing with then you can always find someone who you know will cheer you through it. We are not alone in our struggles, speaking out can be a great way to remind ourselves of this. Utilise family, friends and/or paid professionals if you need to get advice or to talk through what scares you. Let others support you.
Get an early night, eat good food, take breaks, and have a little fun where you can. Being scared and brave both use up a lot of energy so take care of yourself. Even superwoman needs her rest so make sure you do too. Think of the things that make you smile, it doesn’t have to be a spa day or a day in the hairsalon to be self-care!
Show yourself a little compassion, what you are doing is scary for a reason. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not the right thing to do but when things get scary we catastrophize and worry. Be gentle with yourself. You don’t need to have it all figured out or be perfect you just need to show up and do what you can.
Nothing is permanent, no situation whether it be a bad or good one. The journey you are on will quite probably take you longer and be more difficult than you imagined. Nevertheless, you will get past this uncertainty It is not a permanent journey either, these feelings will pass. Be prepared to change things up on this journey. Things may not go as expected and that is ok.
Self Belief can be difficult when we are in the midst of something that feels uncertain and scary. Focus on your own abilities and have faith that you are capable to see this through. Doing this makes it a lot harder to focus on the uncertainty. Believe in your determination to see this through. You have undoubtedly overcome obstacles before and you will be able to overcome any current ones too.
We cannot avoid change and challenges but we can look after ourselves as we face them. We can give ourselves the time and space we need to get through uncertainty. Remembering that we are not alone in our situation and that we always have an option about how to proceed can take some of the pressure off around an uncertain future.
If you are struggling with uncertainty you can create a Self-care plan for yourself with my free worksheet.
The 14-Day Refresh is an email Programme that explores what self-care means to you. This course has been designed so you can make time for yourself in a way that suits you. You cannot be behind or late. There are no deadlines or targets. You set the pace for yourself. This is an opportunity for you to make some time for yourself and feel good about it!
You will receive a daily email for 14-days, each one is filled with exercises, inspiration, encouragement and activities designed to help you reconnect with what inspires and replenishes you. The 14-Day refresh will help you create a “self-care armoury” of activities, tools and techniques to help you combat feelings of stress and overwhelm.
The 14-Day refresh will help you create a “self-care armoury” of activities, tools and techniques to help you combat feelings of stress and overwhelm.
This course is yours forever, keep the emails so you can take this course whenever you feel the need to refresh!
I wanted to create something flexible and accessible for everyone, whether you are super busy or on a tight budget. taking care of yourself is important no matter how your life looks right now.
I used to spend so much of my time taking care of everybody else in my life. The thing is that I believed I didn’t have time to look after myself. It seemed like replenishing my energy levels or treating myself to the things I enjoyed was frivolous and a waste of time. Whenever I took time out, I spent so much of that time feeling guilty about not being productive.
Taking my self-care seriously has made a massive difference in my daily life. It changed how I approach that never-ending to do list and how I feel every day. I wanted to create a self-care course so that you can save yourself from all the exhaustion, guilt and pressure and cut straight to having fun and feeling good!
The 14-Day refresh is great is you want to:
The total investment for the 14- Day refresh is $20. A PayPal invoice will be sent out upon sign up.
The first e-mail will be arriving into inboxes on 15th September 2017. Sign up now and save your space on this great course.
If you have any questions about this course please get in touch or have a look at my FAQ’s
Do you have fierce dreams or do you remember a time when you did? Have you ever felt limitless, like nothing was going to stand in your way?
I remember feeling this way after I left high school and was at university. My dreams were all about how I was going to change the world. By helping people, by working for charities and getting my PhD. I was going to travel and maybe even start my own charity supporting women affected by gender based violence.
There is no denying that I have been blessed, I have never gone hungry and I have always had a bed to sleep in. I have people who support me and I have love in my life. My bills have always gotten paid (eventually) so my question is that enough to be happy? Is that all we need? Once we have those things should we consider ourselves fulfilled? Because let’s face it, others have it worse don’t they?
Around 5 years ago I had an amazing house, two wonderful children, I didn’t need to work, we had a nice car and could afford a holiday once a year. we could eat out when we wanted and I could buy things without checking my bank balance first. I ran my own small business and my husband had 6 months of the year at home with us. My life was everything you would call conventional success but the one thing that was missing was that I was miserable
I told myself that I was lucky as there are so many people who were worse off than I was. That I couldn’t have it all and that I should just focus on being grateful rather kicking up a fuss. I got caught up in all the day to day responsibilities of ‘adulting’. It felt like stability and security were the most important things. It was time to ditch the dreams and get realistic about what was important. I didn’t need dreams of travel or having a career I loved because my life was safe. Boring but safe.
Have you ever looked at your life and realised you went in a different direction than you intended? It is a perfectly adequate life but it doesn’t really light you up? You are filling your days with the things you are supposed to be doing rather than the things that excite and inspire you.
If you find yourself off track then the way back to what you really want is to remove the layers of obligations, responsibilities and objects, whatever is in the way of your happiness and those fierce dreams. It is adding something that lights you up to your life. Say yes to your wild dreams and no to convention when it isn’t making you happy. Be who you are unapologetically and reach for what excites you.
Do not feel guilty, you are worthy of happiness and the life you dream of. Money and conventional success are great if it excites you. But if it doesn’t leave you inspired and enthusiastic about the future then ditch it. You are not ungrateful for wanting something different to what you have. You cannot make yourself happy in a situation that is not what you truly want.
Once your basic needs are met you do not lose the right to complain. A comfortable and stable life is not necessarily the ideal life for everyone. You cannot stop yourself from having wild and adventurous dreams because others are not as fortunate as you are. By all means, do your bit as a responsible citizen, help where you can, support others who need it.
It is fundamental in my opinion that everyone should have the right to be fed, clothed and sheltered. As is health care and education but here I am heading towards a political discussion that distracts from my point. The right to happiness is also important. The right to have dreams and unconventional desires. Dare to dream of an amazing life whether it be a home by the sea, an endless supply of books, or the opportunity to travel. Don’t let what makes you who you are be sidelined for anything. Our dreams make us unique and they are far too important to be given up on or forgotten.
Like many families, there are times when my family life involves a lot of working, juggling and scheduling. I started my own business in January which has understandably brought a lot to my plate. Meanwhile, my husband has been working really long hours at the office after a period of layoffs and restructuring.
Recently, a long public holiday weekend appeared on the horizon of my husband’s schedule. He had booked time off earlier in the year to care for our two children who would not have childcare or school. I had already decided to work through the public holiday in favour of getting stuff done!
When my husband announced he was planning a weekend’s camping at the beach, I decided I was not willing to miss out on family time at the beach. With some juggling and hustling, I managed to join them and make the most of the long weekend.
Take me to the beach
I love the beach, it is one of my most favourite places. Hearing the waves and feeling the sand on my bare feet never fails to relax me. This is one of the reasons that I jumped at the chance at a camping trip. I was so busy and tired of “adulting” I wanted to take a break with my three favourite people in my favourite place.
On our trip, we spent a lot of time on the beach with the children. We played in the sand and had fun directing a stream that came down across the beach and into the sea. Then we created little waterways and watched the water flow through them. Our waterway system became quite complex as we built dams and broke them and re-patched them.
At one point my husband and I realised we had not only spent most of the day doing this but also the children had ditched us in favour of digging a large hole nearby. We laughed as we realised that we were playing on our own and we were enjoying every moment of it.
What we experienced was something in addition to precious family time. We were being silly and imaginative and there was no more clock watching. We used our hands to create something purely for fun. It was play.
As adults, we don’t really value our own playtime. It tends to be something we do with the children for their benefit. Play in adults is often considered immature or unproductive. We discourage this type of behaviour in favour of more serious and responsible activities. For us, playing with the sand on that warm day was most definitely to our benefit.
As we played, I felt a stiffness in my shoulders as I began to relax the tightened muscles there. I felt lighter and more at ease. I stopped planning ahead and juggling. We didn’t think about work or schedules or the to do list. Instead, we made dams and then opened them up and watched the water flow freely again. We experienced a lightness that was not available in our current hectic schedules. Everything felt energised and happy after our messy day on the sand.
Making room for play
Play should not be reserved for children. The opportunity to step away from the responsibilities that exist at the moment give us energy, clarity and creativity. Fun for funs sake should not be a privilege only for the young.
Studies show that play is benefitial for children. We encourage the children in our lives to play because we want them to be happy, relaxed and creative people. We support them to use their imagination and feel free through play.
Why are we denying this opportunity to ourselves once we “grow up”? Imagine a world where we could embrace play as an important part of adult life. Where messing around in the sand dunes as adults was encouraged or even recommended.
Find opportunities to be playful. Give yourself permission to play like a child. Be messy and creative and enjoy activities purely for fun rather than any outcome or goal. Notice how the children in your life and allow themselves to be silly, be playful and imaginative for no other reason than it is fun. Play is a pathway to feeling free and happy. No one should be denied that, regardless of their age.