Monthly review – the value of play

Three quarters of the way through the year now and I already know it is going to be a standout year for me in terms of personal learning and development. I don’t think the value of doing a monthly review of how you are traveling with your yearly goal can be underestimated.

Without the accountability of writing about it on the blog, I am not sure I would do it (this one is a little late, but I feel compelled to still write it though 🙂 ). And the reason I write it is not just to share with you how I am going, but writing the review makes me reflect on what has happened over the last month and take time to think about what I have learnt. It is so easy to roll from one month to the next, without acknowledging achievements, reflecting on mistakes or failures or appreciating what we have learnt.

September highlighted to me the value of play and I am not just thinking about the kids. I can be very focused and I like to fit quite a bit in to my days, but this can at times come at a cost of no room for play. And play is different to relaxation.

Dr. Stuart Brown is the head of a nonprofit called the National Institute for Play and he defines play as:

Play is something done for its own sake,” he explains. “It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome. {source}

In his book Play, Brown also compares play to oxygen, noting “…it’s all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing.”

I think that was what was missing in August. So I made changes for September, determined to have more fun and time for play which included:

  • Playing Cluedo with the kids 7 days in a row.
  • Doing lots of handstand practicing with my daughter, both inside and outside of the house.
  • Taking an unplanned week off work and went to Mildura in the school holidays to spend time with family.
  • Taking a couple of runs much easier in my training, not worrying about time etc but just enjoyed the run.

More play both directly and indirectly helped me with my goal of being a planned, present and patient mum to my kids; directly as I spent more time being with them and indirectly because playing made me smile more and feel happier. It is so much easier to be patient when you are happier.

So the challenge is for me in October is to keep playing more even though I am back at work and the kids are back at school.

What did you learn in September?