Play and rest

friends hugging

The challenge with HDR life is that we have maybe too much freedom.

We don’t necessarily have examination week or regular classes to attend. It’s really up to us to create structure and balance between work and play. However, the reality is, there are some of us who work through uni holiday breaks and some weekends. There are some weeks that are busier than others. Still, it is truly important that we make time for play and rest. Our productivity depends on it. What’s more is that it really bolsters our creativity too and helps connect us to ourselves, each other, and to the present moment.

I asked my fellow HDR students - what restorative activities might one do even when they can’t really afford a proper holiday at the moment?

  • Take a nap in the afternoon
  • Organise game night with friends
  • Have an indulgent bath at home
  • Have your own painting and wine night at home with friends
  • Just lay on the grass or the beach and close your eyes

I’d list a few more but to be really quite frank, if that list was any longer, I think I’d feel exhausted and feel the need to tick all the boxes so it would negate the point of it all. This led me to reflect on what would really be restorative for me. What activities would be playful and enjoyable for me?

What I really enjoy is being in the company of friends and family. It doesn’t matter much what we do, but that we do it together. I’ve found helping friends move house really fun. Going for a bushwalk or salsa dancing with friends revives my soul. 

As for me, rest is being present. As much as hibernation would be enticing at the moment, I look back and all my really restful activities are those where I’m truly immersed in the moment - whether it’s making tea, laying on the couch reading a book, or baking up a storm in the kitchen. 

We play for the sake of play. Play shapes our brain, helps us foster empathy, helps us navigate complex social groups, and is at the core of creativity and innovation.Brene Brown

Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth. *This is part of a blog series from my reflections during Mental Health Awareness Month and integrating the guideposts from Brene Brown’s book, the Gifts of Imperfections in my HDR experience.

Tagged in What messes with your head, mental health awareness, phd