play? what does that mean?

by Joanna on September 16, 2013

I’ve been struggling lately. Anxiety at an all-time high. Panic attacks. Weeping like I’ve never wept before (though that seems to have subsided, thankfully). I actually didn’t even realize that what I’ve been experiencing is anxiety because the dry mouth, night sweats, lack of appetite in the morning, and crazy intense feeling in my solar plexus that I’ve been having are not my usual anxiety symptoms.

That’s why I haven’t posted in a while.

I googled “anxiety cures” the other day, and after finding a bunch of random things that were both a little tempting and a little scary/seemingly scammy, I came across this article. Charlie says that he cured his anxiety through play.

“Huh,” I thought. “That’s interesting.”

Why not try it? What do I have to lose? I could use a little more fun in my life.

This begs the question…

What does play mean to me?

I talked to my coach about it and here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Biking–a few years ago my friend Jen was in DC for the weekend and we rented bikes. At the end of our ride we biked up this steep hill and I just remember peddling my heart out. I was grinning from ear to ear and surprised and how amazingly fun it was. I biked all the time as a kid and LOVED it.
  • Coloring/doodling/drawing
  • Body Combat–I was a regular at Body Combat before my wedding and again, this is one of those activities that leaves me with a goofy grin on my face. The class just makes me feel so powerful and fierce; it really is FUN.
  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Frisbee toss with Mike
  • Long walks
  • Painting

I’m trying to think of more things and add more play into my life. I’m not going to lie, sometimes thinking about play fires up my anxiety. It scares me a little bit. It’s almost like I’m afraid of what might come up when I settle in and let myself enjoy it.

It’s funny, my friend Allie and I went on a hike yesterday and then settled in with a bottle of wine at a nearby vineyard. Immediately I started to feel guilty. Like I shouldn’t be doing this. I should be working or doing something.  I told Allie that I felt like I didn’t deserve this goodness, this relaxation. She said “But you do. Doesn’t everyone?” I nodded and thought “of course.”

So that’s what I’m working on lately. Learning how to play. Learning how to settle in and let myself enjoy.

What does play mean to you? What activities allow you to relax and feel joy?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jacquelyn @justjacq September 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm

One of the things that relaxes me the most is coloring in a coloring book. I get so lost in it and I think the colors I’m putting on the page brighten my spirits.


2 Britni September 25, 2013 at 2:05 am

I love this post. One of my life quotes is it’s a happy talent to know how to play. My biggest problem is sometimes playing too much and not wanting to miss out on everything going on around me. Found you via the Beltway Bloggers list, love finding other DC area bloggers!


3 Joanna September 26, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Thanks, Britni! I love your quote! I think in this day and age it is such a talent to know how to play.

I love finding other DC area bloggers too! Nice to “meet” you!


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