Maybe you are experiencing hardship right now. Or stress. Here's a great way to take care of yourself. I believe that God is interested in our wellness. And not only when we are experiencing hardship, but, in general life also. And God is not merely interested in our spiritual and emotional wellness. But, He is fully interested in our physical wellness also. Years ago I read an article that challenged me to discipline my life in the areas of recreation and wellness. Out of that reading came commitments to nutrition, sleep, and exercise that changed how I looked at myself and my life performance.
And going through the last 2 years of my life and all of the trials that we have experienced has increased the priorities for my personal wellness.
Now, I am not advocating a narcissistic lifestyle. Nor do I believe that we must all become models of fit that requires more time than we would give to our spiritual lives. But, I am speaking of balance and respect for our bodies so that we can perform at our best. There are many reasons we must rest and take care of ourselves:
1. The daily performance that can come from wellness
2. The health and quality of life that can come from wellness
3. The reputation and respect from others and even ourselves that comes from wellness
4. The spiritual discipline that can come from wellness
5. The longevity of life that can come from wellness
We can talk about nutrition, rest, and exercise. Hitting the gym, or going for a walk, or buying a bike and getting exercise in various ways. Each of these are tremendous benefits to our physical health. And, ultimately, our spiritual and mental and social well-being. But, I want to speak about another wellness area. PLAY!
The Benefits Of Play
Play has more to do with wellness than we think. We have seen a lack of play growing in our culture here in the west. A Play Deprivation can be the cause of many things. It could be that we are too busy or that we are too lazy. It could be that we do not value play and so we see it as a 'childish' effort. Whatever the cause, there are serious signs to a lack of play, including, anger, loss of creativity, loss of confidence, health issues, exploration, and even social awkwardness. Thinking about these things should stir your interest in play activities, and, in turn, result in greater mental and physical health.
Here is a 'Play Deprivation' test:
When is the last time you played with an object? (ball, squeeze toy, or other object)
How do you relieve tension or stress from your life?
What is the last memory, conversation, or circumstance that caused you to laugh out of control?
Give an answer to the following questions by stating ‘Daily’, ‘Weekly’, or ‘Monthly’:
How often do you run?
How often do you jump?
How often do you laugh?
How often do you make up a game in your mind?
The answers to these questions can be revealing. They are windows into our heart and mind. If you have had a 'Play Deprivation' over the past year, you may have experienced some of these side-effects: stress, anger, loss of creativity, no confidence, health issues, loss of desire to explore, and social awkwardness. The role of play can be a vital tool in the hand of a culture that experiences so much stress, or, is so driven. Play can be the answer to many of life's problems.
So, whether you are experiencing stress or not at this time in your life, I have an assignment for today. Sleep. Take a nap. Dream. Play. Grab a toy. Don't step on the cracks in the sidewalk. Go by a playground and jump on the swing for a few minutes. And see if some of the tension in life sub-sides.
"But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to their friends; 'we played the flute for you and you did not dance...'"
Jesus, Matthew 11