Permission Slip to Explore Your Weirdness

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“I do understand that the very thing that helps me stay sane is the thing that could be seen as me showing signs of insanity, yes….”

I have admitted this to myself recently regarding one activity I have embraced during this pandemic.

You know what I do sometimes?

I dance like no-one’s watching (because…no-one IS really watching).

Almost every day, I dance alone. But, like, really dance. I put on my sportswear, I have a playlist (that only makes sense to me) ready, and I go for it.

I have realised that although all the “traditional” formats of dancing are unaccessible, it doesn’t mean that dancing itself is.

So I have given myself the permission slip to keep the element of dancing in my life. To keep it, to embrace it, to nurture it, if you will. To dance in my own weird and sometimes (too?) intense ways, just because that is something I enjoy doing.

No matter how crappy I feel before I start my “dance workout”, I surely feel less crappy afterwards. Thank you, hormones, for doing your work!

Does this activity make the pandemic go away? Maybe in a strange superhero movie it did.

But embracing our weird selves, our strange and unique ways to rest and play is so important.

In fact, its importance has been validated by real scientific research!

In her work, Brené Brown identifies rest and play as one of the guideposts for wholehearted living. She juxtaposes it to holding onto exhaustion as a status symbol: the further away you move from that to cultivating rest and play, the more wholeheartedly you are living. And yes, there IS a definition of wholehearted living that Brené and her team have come up with using their grounded theory research.

Cultivate rest and play – easy! But it’s also easy to forget to do it. To forget to pay attention and to prioritise it.

So here’s my reminder, my permission slip for you: DO IT!

In one of my previous articles I’ve suggested something rather strange: to plan your calls with friends. To plan life, not just work, remember?

So let’s plan some rest and play. Because, it turns out, we we have to take our play seriously!

Now, what helps YOU feel better? Is there any physical activity that you secretly enjoy but don’t really do often enough? Do you – like me – claim to enjoy hiking but only go on what could be a called a long hike like…twice a year?

Is there any activity that brings joy to you that is completely yours?

An activity that possibly no-one else understands but the good news is that it doesn’t need anyone’s approval?

A simple question: if you do have an activity like this, could you…do…more of it?

Could you plan and prioritise it?

And, as importantly, can you truly allow yourself to rest and play?

Research says you should. I ask you not to skip it.

You can read more about Brené’s work and even download an illustrated list of guideposts to wholehearted living here.

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