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Providers

Treats and PLAY!

November 4, 2022

Friends,

Happy November! Holy smokes, I cannot believe it’s November already. 

First, if you’re a physician or healthcare provider, I’ve got a belated Halloween Treat for you! Join us this Thursday in The Provider Lounge where we’re talking about quality time in relationships. From special time with toddlers to wine clubs with friends to date nights with your partner, we’ll talk about how quality time affects health for you and your patients. Your first meeting is a treat for you! 

Second, I want to talk about PLAY. Amidst the despair of healthcare professionals, the degree of burnout is at an all-time high. Research indicates up to 60% of physicians are reporting burnout and nurses are resigning at a record rate. If you’ve heard me talk about burnout and overwhelm that leads to burnout, then you know there are only TWO cures for overwhelm: NOTHINGNESS & PLAY. 

Let’s talk about play! When was the last time you played and what did it look like? If you have a toddler or young child at home, you’ll notice they play all of the time. Everything is better if it’s a game! In fact, psychologists acknowledge that play IS the work of children – it helps them learn and process important information. Or, if you have an animal at home, you’ll notice they play every day, multiple times! But somewhere, we begin to exchange play for other “more important” pastimes and we have to build in time to play by joining sports, recreational activities, or clubs. And often, as adults, we make little time for play. And yet play is necessary. 

Play allows us to process feelings as adults too. The endorphins created through laughter are like a dopamine shower for stress & cortisol. When you’re in loving play with a partner or child, your body releases oxytocin, a hormone involved in strong attachments. Whether it’s watching movies with your family, laughing with friends or playing with your pets, play is critical for your health. It helps to mitigate the effects of overwhelm. Learn more here

Often, people tell me they don’t know how to play. If you’ve grown up in an emotionally deprived setting where play was absent, the concept might feel foreign to you. So, I’ve put a list and some links below. Use this until you find your own delightful ways to process all that’s going on in the world. 

Playful Ideas – I tried to throw in some passive play as well as ideas you may not think of as playful:

  • Watch movies that make you laugh
  • Bake with someone you love
  • Sing loudly with the windows down in your car
  • Jump on your bed, jump on a trampoline, jump rope
  • Dance – anywhere, to any music you love
  • Make love
  • Plan a special date for your best friend or partner
  • Surprise your kids with a tea party or picnic
  • Chase your dog
  • Dress up in a costume
  • Paint, draw, knit
  • Listen to a baby giggle
  • Eat with your hands
  • Swim nude
  • Read a funny book
  • People watch at the mall
  • Call someone who loves you
  • Ask siri to tell you a knock, knock joke
  • Play a board game, card game, or any game 

Resources:

  1. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/benefits-of-play-for-adults.htm
  2. https://www.playyourwaysane.com/blog/play-for-adults
  3. https://youtu.be/6UeJcPtrzvs

How are you going to play this week? Reply and let me know!

With compassion,

Dr. Amy

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