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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Autumn 2019

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FIND SOME TIME IN YOUR DAY TO PLAY LEONIE WELLINGTON, MSWA SENIOR COUNSELLOR MAKING A VISION BOARD KELLIE HANSEN, MSWA COUNSELLOR “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” - George Bernard Shaw. Often when we think of play we think of children. Play is a child’s natural form of communication. It does not need to be taught or directed as it is natural and spontaneous. It’s so important in fact the UN has listed play as one of the universal rights of children. Children use play to grow and learn, they can safely try out new ideas and concepts and through play, problem solve and work through emotions, develop relationships and have fun. During my training in child centred play therapy, we were required to practice the techniques and theories using roleplay, not just as the therapist but also in the role of the child. I was taken aback at how quickly I lost myself in the toys and playing out stories and emotions and how amazing I felt afterward. Lighter, freer and enriched. I could not help but reflect why I had lost contact with that playful part of myself and how it could be a crucial part in not just child, but also adult therapy. At what point on our road to adulthood do we discard this natural tool of play? Adults may be concerned that to participate in playful activities or behaviours they may be judged as childish. Given all the benefits I have previously mentioned, I find it difficult to see being childish in the form of play as a negative but rather an attribute. If as adults we can fuel our imaginations, be more creative and be free to explore in an unstructured way, surely that benefits not just ourselves but our community. For many years now, tech companies have understood the link between play and the benefits in the work place. Allowing staff to engage in free play during work, providing yoga or other activities in the workplace, organising social activities, all assist in increased staff morale, reduced burnout, lower staff turnover, encourages teamwork, increases creativity and problem solving. Play can help us function better when under stress and rejuvenate both mind and body. These companies have learned that value is not necessarily the amount of time you work but the quality of that work and that is directly linked to a person’s wellbeing. Play does not always have to be a physical activity it can also be a state of mind. Engaging with strangers while waiting in a queue, being able to see the fun and colour in the world, stopping to admire nature, art and beauty, viewing the world with curiosity and openness. Being able to tap into these parts of ourselves can boost our energy as well as improve our brain function and open new pathways. It can allow us to try new things, be flexible and learn to trust and feel safe. It helps us build skills to improve our connections to family, friends and co-workers. Ultimately, play can add joy to our lives and the lives of others. Some ideas to bring play into your life; find a hobby, join a club, organise a games night, throw a frisbee, shoot some hoops, put on a puppet show, create with play dough, dance in the dark. Invite colleagues, family and friends to play along with you. Laugh until there is no sound. Live with empathy and nurture the child within. Play. “A person’s maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child, at play.” - Friedrich Nietzsche. Humans have always imagined, dreamed and visualised while hoping for good things to come in their future. In prehistoric times, researchers believe that some cave paintings represent hopeful visions of impending successful hunts that would produce an abundance of food for their tribe. So, with a long history of mankind recording dreams and goals in the form of pictures, how do we, in 2019, imagine and visualise our own life dreams in a tangible and focused way? A vision board is a tool used to help clarify goals, increase self-awareness and communicate our wishes to other people in our lives. Some suggestions to include in your vision board are career, values, health, end of life, family, holidays, community, home decorating, your best life, meditation and learning goals. To begin your vision board, it can be helpful to daydream or meditate the things you want to be, do or have in all areas of your life. The more specific you can be, the better. Play some music, burn incense or light some candles. This can help you feel comfortable and relaxed and really allow your visualisations to start flowing. If you are doing any journaling or lists, try to handwrite them to create more energy between you and your dreams. The material you will need for your vision board will vary depending on how you would like yours to develop. Many people like to develop their vision boards into their own style. You can use coloured cardboard, corkboard, pinboard, an art workbook or even a notebook; there is no limit to this. Pictures and words for your vision board can be found in glossy magazines. Op shops often have cheap bundles, or perhaps you can collect them from family and friends. It can be quite relaxing to schedule a few hours for yourself, make a cup of tea and flick through magazines until you find what you are looking for. If this is not appealing to you, get online and search on the internet for those amazing dreams and inspirations you want in your life. Some people like to draw or paint their pictures first, use photographs or even create their own graphics online using Canva. Find pictures and words that conjure the feeling of wellbeing. As you look at your pictures, you may start to imagine what your finished board will look like. Some people like to glue or tape as they go, others prefer to lay out all their pictures and words and do the sticking down at the very end. There is no right or wrong way, the choice is yours to explore what feels right. It can be helpful to find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Ensure you have all your supplies ready and continue playing your music, burning candles or incense. This is your special time and space to do what feels right for you. If you want a more contemporary vision board, there are free and low-cost apps available online including Pinterest where you can design, change things around and keep your vision board on your computer or iPad. Now that your board has been created, it is important to keep it in an area that you see every day. Perhaps in your bedroom as you wake up or by the front door as you leave the house. Also spend 10 minutes at least once a week to sit quietly and really look at your pictures and words on your board to revisit the feelings of wellbeing and relaxation that you had when you were completing it. 14 | MSWA BULLETIN AUTUMN 2019 MSWA BULLETIN AUTUMN 2019 | 15