Why Adults Need Play Time Too

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We don’t lose the need for novelty and pleasure as we grow up.

What we all instinctively know is that  “All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.” Work, parenting and the daily routine keeps us very task focused and achievement oriented. Our hectic, modern lifestyle is certainly busy and demanding and we need measures in place for regular, light-hearted relief to boost our happiness. The missing ingredient is joy and fun, and the way to find it is through play.

Adult play is a time to forget about responsibilities and commitments. The focus of play is on the actual experience, not on accomplishing a goal. It is pleasure for pleasure sake. The only purpose of the activity is having pure fun. “We don’t lose the need for novelty and pleasure as we grow up,” says Scott G. Eberle, editor of the American Journal of Play.

But we dismiss play too easily. We excuse ourselves from opportunities to play by telling ourselves we are too busy, too tired, too old or too stressed to make time for it. Our leisure time activities tend to revolve around technology and television, which do not rejuvenate us or enrich us like play can.

Play is a way to fuel the imagination, develop creativity, connect with loved ones and improve overall health. Research shows that a life lived without play is at increased risk for stress related diseases, mental health issues, addiction and interpersonal violence. Introducing more play helps to relieve stress, boost creativity and innovation, improve brain function,  connect in relationships and keeps us feeling alive and engaged.

So instead of looking at play as a waste of precious time, consider it a great investment in your wellbeing.

Some of my personal go-to activities are doodling mindlessly on paper, knitting, participating in activities of my children’s choice (eg. water slides, rock climbing, trampolining), singing loudly to the radio, seeing art shows, playing with new yoga poses, attending writers talks, drinking tea with friends and warm baths.

Here are some other suggestions that may help introduce more play into your routine…

  • read a book/novel for pleasure
  • make art – draw, sculpt or just colour in
  • see art – go to a gallery
  • see a movie
  • move your body in new ways- go to a fun dance or yoga class
  • see some comedy
  • play some music or go to a live concert
  • get involved in a team sport
  • find your inner flirt
  • daydream on the grass
  • do a puzzle
  • play games or do a craft activity as a family
  • play with your kids and let them take the lead

I would love you to leave some of your favourites in the comments below. I love a good play date.

xM

If you would like to come play with me I will be holding a series of Art and Yoga workshops in and around Melbourne where we will make art and enjoy using our bodies in a creative and supportive environment. The first workshop in the series is for adults and the focus is on Bravery and Courage, learning to flex our bravery muscles . A second workshop will run for tweens and parents/caregivers and we look at Resilience. No yoga or art experience is necessary.
 
To find out more jump over here.
 
Michelle Seelig is the proud mother of 2 creative, courageous girls and has worked in health and well-being for 25 years. She is a qualified Yoga Teacher, Health Coach and an artist with a Masters degree in Art Therapy. Using art, yoga and coaching practices in her workshops Michelle combines her skills and insights to deliver a unique, creative and transformative experience.
f you would like to learn more about yoga and mindfulness I will be holding a series of Art and Yoga workshops in and around Melbourne where we will explore these ideas in a creative and supportive environment. The first workshop in the series is for adults and the focus is on Bravery and Courage, learning to flex our bravery muscles . A second workshop will run for tweens and parents/caregivers and we look at Resilience. No yoga or art experience is necessary.
 
To find out more jump over here.
 
Michelle Seelig is the proud mother of 2 creative, courageous girls and has worked in health and well-being for 25 years. She is a qualified Yoga Teacher, Health Coach and an artist with a Masters degree in Art Therapy. Using art, yoga and coaching practices in her workshops Michelle combines her skills and insights to deliver a unique, creative and transformative experience.

– See more at: http://thelivewellplayground.com.au/#sthash.uiHEcTcQ.dpuf

f you would like to learn more about yoga and mindfulness I will be holding a series of Art and Yoga workshops in and around Melbourne where we will explore these ideas in a creative and supportive environment. The first workshop in the series is for adults and the focus is on Bravery and Courage, learning to flex our bravery muscles . A second workshop will run for tweens and parents/caregivers and we look at Resilience. No yoga or art experience is necessary.
 
To find out more jump over here.
 
Michelle Seelig is the proud mother of 2 creative, courageous girls and has worked in health and well-being for 25 years. She is a qualified Yoga Teacher, Health Coach and an artist with a Masters degree in Art Therapy. Using art, yoga and coaching practices in her workshops Michelle combines her skills and insights to deliver a unique, creative and transformative experience.

– See more at: http://thelivewellplayground.com.au/#sthash.uiHEcTcQ.dpuf

f you would like to learn more about yoga and mindfulness I will be holding a series of Art and Yoga workshops in and around Melbourne where we will explore these ideas in a creative and supportive environment. The first workshop in the series is for adults and the focus is on Bravery and Courage, learning to flex our bravery muscles . A second workshop will run for tweens and parents/caregivers and we look at Resilience. No yoga or art experience is necessary.
 
To find out more jump over here.
 
Michelle Seelig is the proud mother of 2 creative, courageous girls and has worked in health and well-being for 25 years. She is a qualified Yoga Teacher, Health Coach and an artist with a Masters degree in Art Therapy. Using art, yoga and coaching practices in her workshops Michelle combines her skills and insights to deliver a unique, creative and transformative experience.

– See more at: http://thelivewellplayground.com.au/#sthash.uiHEcTcQ.dpuf

What Yoga Teaches Us About Parenting

Yoga and parentingYoga, like parenting, is a lifelong practice that confronts us with all facets of ourselves. We have good days and not so good days, but our role is to keep showing up and paying attention.

In making yoga a regular part of your lifestyle, particularly if you have a home practice away from the encouragement and motivation of a class or teacher, you may be familiar with those days when your practice feels more like a stale routine than a discovery tour. You may find your practice lacks that sense of exploration and investigation that brings with it the magic, the freshness, the learning. The little things that keep our attention focused – noticing the subtleties of how our body feels in the pose today, paying attention to the wandering thoughts of the mind or watching the breath, etc. There is much to pay attention to for both the novice and the experienced practitioner alike and by keeping the mind engaged in this way we come to experience present moment awareness and the meditative-like state during our practice.

Repetition, however, often sees us switch to auto-pilot. It is much easier to have a beginners mind when we are new to something. We have a natural curiosity and a sense of awe and wonder that keeps the mind alert and engaged. This is far less likely when we are dealing with the familiar and we feel we can predict the outcome.

It takes a lot of mental skill and mindful attention to approach the familiar with a beginners mind.

As a parent I wrestle with my auto-pilot responses regularly. They serve as a shorthand way of addressing issues that come up repeatedly. It is a way to avoid having to re-invent the wheel every time I am called upon to settle the same arguments or make the same requests. It is very tempting when we have been over this same ground many times before (many!).  It is, however, also a way of disengaging. I am somehow just going through the motions and doing what I have always done. As with yoga, if I am not fully present whilst parenting my children I miss out on gaining valuable insight. If I am unable to approach an all-too-familiar situation with a fresh eye I am unable to find new solutions. I also miss out on staying present to my own experience in the moment. This leaves me more likely to be tossed around by the emotional waves that rush toward me in the challenging moments and lose sight of my parenting values.

Whether we are performing a long series of sun salutations in our yoga practice or repeatedly revisiting the same conversations with our children about unresolved issues, staying present with what our experience is helps us to grow and learn, and ultimately feel more engaged with life and with our children.

If you would like to learn more about yoga and mindfulness I will be holding a series of Art and Yoga workshops in and around Melbourne where we will explore these ideas in a creative and supportive environment. The first workshop in the series is for adults and the focus is on Bravery and Courage, learning to flex our bravery muscles . A second workshop will run for tweens and parents/caregivers and we look at Resilience. No yoga or art experience is necessary.
 
To find out more jump over here.
 
Michelle Seelig is the proud mother of 2 creative, courageous girls and has worked in health and well-being for 25 years. She is a qualified Yoga Teacher, Health Coach and an artist with a Masters degree in Art Therapy. Using art, yoga and coaching practices in her workshops Michelle combines her skills and insights to deliver a unique, creative and transformative experience.

a new year’s gift for you: 10 steps to making your dreams come true in 2014

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The new year is about to knock on the door to your future and it is a wise person who greets it fully prepared.  Whether you are a firm, decisive partner in the process or not 2014 will impolitely move in and take over all aspects of your life, and move them forward in some fashion. By getting clear about how you want 2014  to look,  you have a better chance at steering its progress. Of course life doesn’t always go according to plan but there are also many occassions where life waits for us to intervene and choose what comes next. These are the times we want to be prepared with answers, guidelines, a mission staement or a plan. By taking the time to consider our options and dreams we are rewarded with a life that is custom made for us, by us. If you leave it to chance you deny yourself the opportunity to create a life of great health, happiness, joy and satisfaction. ‘Start as you want to finish’  and right here at the beginning is your fresh chance to start well.

I love new beginnings. I love mornings and Mondays and the New Year. I see them as a delicious opportunity to dream (BIG!) and create a new picture of the future but I have not always acted boldly. I spent many years just hoping that life would look after me and guide me well. I did not have the courage to intervene as often as I could have and should have in order to create the life I truly dreamed of. Too often I allowed those dreams to be intimidated into submission by rejection, setbacks, or by the lack of vision of others. I could see the stars but settled for however close I got.

I now have the skills, support and internal strength to know how to follow through, stand back up after rejection and not allow set backs to derail me . It is not always easy of course, and like everyone I have my good days and bad, but one thing that is always clearly humming along in the background these days is my own voice, my inner wisdom. It is there to guide me, and you, and I have learnt to trust it!

So if you are eager to take charge of your own life and create a more fulfilling, tailor-made version that really excites you, here are your guidelines…

10 STEPS TO CREATING THE LIFE YOU DREAM OF

  1. Give yourself some quiet alone-time to dream big. Ask yourself to imagine your own version of ultimate happiness and joy. Don’t judge, just take notes. Now let this list inform  your decisions.
  2. Spend less time listening to the noise outside – others stories, posts, opinions, achievements. These are fine in the inspiration stage but at some point you need to sit with that blank page and make your own plan. It is important to develop an ‘ear’ for your own inner  voice. If you keep reading and watching and listening to others you will be constantly bombarded with alternatives and new shiny things that will distract you from it.
  3. Don’t let the past keep punishing your future. You are the one who is perpetuating the old story. Write a new story.
  4. You don’t have to start with a complete, well formed picture. Don’t let this stop you from beginning the journey. You may just start with a feeling. Plan just the first step from there.
  5. Your own unique vision is what will help you custom design your own steps to happiness and success. Your nearest and dearest may not share your vision so it may be important to find outside support and mentoring in order to stay accountable and follow through. This may be a paid professional or a trusted friend.
  6. Don’t let fear have the loudest voice. Our comfort zone is a safe and tempting place to hang out. It is easy to be intimidated by a lack of acceptance or approval from others as they mirror our own uncertainty. Recognize that fear is at play and that strenth and resilience are developed through practice.
  7. Make happiness, purpose and living a great life  your priority. This is not a selfish pursuit. The loved ones in your life will benefit. Take everyone along for the ride by mentoring others to do the same.
  8. Life will not always make it easy. Be clear, be flexible and when you hit a dead end try a new route. Remember the saying ‘fall down ten times, get up eleven”.
  9. Make a mission statement of sorts and pin it on the wall. It may be a large painted word , an affirmation, a saying, a picture or anything that is a quick but constant reminder about your bigger goals. It will keep the overarching plan in your attention when life’s smaller issues become distracting.
  10. There may not be time to do everything and you may need to prioritise. In the same way that clutter accumulates in our homes, it also accumulates in our lives. You may need to do a clear out and take stock of time wasting activities that do nothing to feed the soul or progress your goals. Look at times of day where time is lost, wasted or unproductive. Could you make better use of this time?

I hope this leaves you feeling inspired and equipped to realise some of those dreams that have been on the backburner for too long. May you take charge of your happiness and create the fantastic life you deserve. Life change happens one step at a time. The first is always the intention to change. Start there and then keep going. You can do it.

Here’s to a fabulous year ahead.