We’ve just had one of the hottest summer days here in the UK since 1979. It brought back memories of childhood. The chimes of the ice cream van, Fab ice lollies, getting soaking wet in the paddling pool at the local park and eating chicken on the beach with family.
Glorious summer; it’s a time for play!
Is It Playtime Yet?
I wonder how playful your relationship feels. How often do you set aside time to play?
I’d go out on a limb and say that you don’t or you struggle to. A common complaint I hear from couples in my practice is there simply isn’t time.
It’s easy to get caught up in the drudgery of day to day life. Work, sorting out the washing, getting the children to school, homework, making dinner. The list could go on. It’s not surprising that you’re left exhausted by this daily load of obligations. You don’t have the time, let alone the energy, to be playful.
When you and your partner first met I imagine, playing came naturally. Back then, you laughed at each other’s jokes, and the air was alive with sexual energy.
Now there’s no play, just burnout.
And, sooner or later this happens:
Something that could be so playful, sex, begins to feel like a mechanical routine. No longer a sacred ritual honouring the union of your relationship, making love is a struggle.
Think Like A Child
Although this may well be true – and I really get this – playfulness is essential, it’s not an option.
Playing is not just for children. Adults need to play too!
Playtime nourishes the soul and connects you with your imagination, creativity and spiritual energy.
Moreover, creative play brings you into contact with the youthful energy of the’ inner child’. We all have an inner child. It’s that part of you that reflects the part that you once were. And it’s this child that holds the capacity to be playful, innocent and carefree.
When you abandon play, you leave behind an important part of yourself. And in turn, what that means is your partner misses out on experiencing all of who you are.
Here’s The Science
Scientist Jaak Panksepp’s research on the importance of play suggests that the urge to play comes from a deep and ancient part of the human brain. In fact, it’s this part of the brain that we humans have in common with other mammals. The need to play is just as basic as the need to eat, sleep and have sex.
Not only that, fun and laughter reduce levels of stress hormones such as cortisol in the body. Equally, playing enhances your immune, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems.
So recreation time keeps you physically healthy and resilient. For this reason, you might actually find that taking time out for fun helps you manage all those things on your to-do this.
A Relationship First Aid Box
Of course, if playing becomes something that is rigid and science has too much of a hand, then it’s not playing at all!
As a child, playing helped you develop vital social skills as you learnt the give and take of relationships.
As an adult in a relationship, when you engage in play your walls come down. Your defences have less of a hold. Laughter and humour will allow you to feel more connected to your partner. What this demonstrates is how play helps build and foster intimacy.
Consciously and regularly allowing yourself fun and pleasure shifts your thoughts away from what’s wrong or missing in your life. Instead, you’re drawn to look towards what’s positive and joyous about your relationship. You are awakened to the daily gifts of a life with your partner.
Playtime is medicine for the soul and an essential addition to your relationship first aid box.
The Third Other
Together, you and your partner create the ‘Third Other’. This Third Other is your relationship.
And like you, it needs attention and nurturing. And as well as nourishment for the body it needs food for the soul. Your relationship needs to play too. It needs fun, excitement, a time to be unstructured, relax and release.
Make your relationship feel alive again; let loose and let’s play!
Play or Kidult activities are back in! Adult colouring books are best sellers, and here in London adult trampoline parks, ultimate frisbee and ball pits cater to the needs of the inner child.
So, what about your relationship? Playtime doesn’t have to be over. Create some for the abandonment of youth. Facebook and Twitter don’t count. Put away the phones and screens and do something to nourish the body and soul of your relationship.
If you need tips on what to do so that playfulness can help improve your relationship look out for my next post. In that, I’ll share some great ideas to get you started.
Over to You
How do you like to play? Do alcohol, cigarettes or recreational drugs play a bigger part than you would like to help you let loose and feel free?
If you need to explore how to bring out the inner child and find out how playfulness can help improve your relationship get in touch and book your FREE 15-minute phone consultation to discuss your situation and how I can help.
Or call me today on 07535 864836.
Soul Centred couples counsellor Sandra Harewood specialises in working with couples and single women with childhood wounding that impacts their adult relationships. Sandra provides a soulful space for her clients to explore and discover creative solutions to their difficulties and create great relationships.