Last week I was sitting by the side of a marina in Brittany watching the boats, people loading and unloading cabins, children playing and plenty of small dogs getting tetchy in the heat. I was quite content to sit and watch for over an hour each day, I had a book with me, but the lure of the the scenery and letting my imagination just wander aimlessly, had the stronger pull .
It was just a short break but I returned to my desk yesterday more refreshed and reinvigorated than I had been for many weeks. I am reminded of the importance of taking a break from the routine and still musing on ways of building in those opportunities for refreshment which enhance our creativity and productivity on a more regular basis.
I have also been dusting down my old text books from my Masters, and have been re-reading an essay about David Winnicott’s work on play and creativity. David Winnicott died in 1971 and was an early pioneer in this area of research, identifying that adult creativity and problem solving was in many respects similar to the creative activity he observed in the small children he treated (some 60,000 children with their parents over 40 years as a hospital pediatrician and psychoanalyst).
So whilst we are on holiday this summer, how can we ‘play’?
My morning musings over a coffee, seemingly doing nothing took me to a particular state of mind that allows us to become totally preoccupied in something outside of my normal working state – in the same way as a child becomes lost in play.
Enjoy letting go of your usual routine, changing the pattern of your day, get up later (or earlier), eat at different times of the day, walk instead of drive
Experiment with new tastes, smells, touch (the beach or a woodland are excellent new environments to explore)
Take it easy, do not impose schedules, plan in detail – let the rhythm of the day or week unfold
Let someone else set the agenda, if you are the one who usually sets the schedule in your working life, it is good sometimes to give over control to someone else, especially stimulating if you hand over that power to a small child!
Whether you are going away for a week or two, or staying at home for a couple of days, you can still tap into the benefits of play, and reap the benefits on your return to routine.