Welcome to the Declaration of You blog tour!
The Declaration of You (to be published by North Light Craft Books this summer) is a book dedicated to giving readers full permission to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique, and uncover what they’re truly meant to do on this Earth!
This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. Learn more — and join us! — by clicking here.
Today, we’ll be taking a plunge into the delicious theme of self-care.
When that term pops into my mind, I immediately think of massages, mani/pedis, and exotic skin treatments. To be honest, a small part of me inwardly rolls my eyes at the idea of this sort of pampering being a necessity. Not because I don’t enjoy and appreciate it, but because it feels like just another “should do” rule on my list, right under green drinks, yoga, and cutting out gluten for good*.
Rebellion begins to stir in my guts. I want to scream at the world “Leave me alone! I’ll do whatever I want – whenever and however!!! “
But the true meaning of self-care (which I remind myself of whenever I feel strangled by this pressure of requirement) has nothing to do with fresh-squeezed juices or expensive beauty routines. Self-care is about taking the time to do the thing that creates a sense of equilibrium in your life. It is meant to help you restore balance and peace – whatever that may look like for you.
As for me, I love playing, laughing, loving, and being silly. This way of being allows me to release the tension of deadlines, responsibilities, competition, and even the monotony of routine. There is a naturalness to it that I adore.
When we think of self-care we do not automatically think of play – our usual go-to’s are spa treatments, meditation, maybe a hike… but not play. And yet play is crucial for the health and wealth of our being!
When we play ( and I mean really play – uncontrollable giggles and all), it requires us to be present, creative, and engaged.
We live too much of our lives on autopilot. We go to the grocery store, take the dogs for a walk, drive, listen to our partner or kids, half-hearing and half-focusing on everything we’re doing. When we spend too long in that mindset, we lose the emotional muscle tone that play provides. If you look at anyone (e.g. children) who is rapt in play, you witness a person capable of emotional flexibility and mental fluidity, sparkling with bursts of genius.
Because self-care means doing whatever activity helps us enhance and nourish our beings, play is, in my mind, the very tool that meets this requirement 100%.
Play doesn’t have to be difficult, affected or directed. It can be spontaneous and simple. For example, think of something that delighted you when you were younger. Can you integrate that activity into your day-to-day to nurture the child within you?
It could be a game of hide and seek at dusk, or playing dress-up, or a laughter-filled game of monopoly. It might be a food fight with family or friends!
How about some fantasy play in the bedroom? Ooh la la!
Once you start thinking about what sort of play lights you up, the possibilities are endless.
Let’s try something, you and I. The name game.
Say your name out loud to yourself several times in different tones, with new inflections and emotional energy each time. Say it like a dog or meow it like a cat.
Feeling self-conscious? Let it go! Pull faces, draw out the vowels – keep going until you feel the natural, bubbling warmth of fun!
Do this exercise in front of the mirror, in the car, with your kids, or your friends. You may well discover that just saying your name can spark impromptu play at any time.
The best part of play as an act of self-care? True self-care involves a selflessness, a surrendering to belonging to something larger. It shows the wholeness of existence, in which you can play both the fool and the sage, the yin and yang, simultaneously. The separation dissolves and you become part of the infinite multiverses.
All of this goodness without a single leaf of kale or downward facing dog!*
Now, I turn to you:
What fun, playful activities do you engage in to shake loose stress and create ease in your life? Share them with us below, so we can all add them to our lists of things to try!
There was a study done recently by the The National Institute for PLAY, exploring the ways PLAY is crucial for human development in all spheres – as important and necessary as sleep.The paper identifies 7 different patterns of play:
1. Attunement Play
2. Body Play & Movement
3. Object Play
4. Social Play
5. Imaginative & Pretend Play
6. Storytelling-Narrative Play
7. Transformative-Integrative & Creative Play
Take a moment to watch this brilliant presentation by Stuart Brown entitled ‘Play is more than fun’: