Let’s Play! Inspiration For a Way “Funner” Holiday Season

When I was a drinker, I never played games. I was far too sophisticated to do something so childish as to play games with my friends.

Oh, except beer pong…

And Century Club…but, I digress.

The truth is, the idea of spending “quality time” with friends playing a board game or having a snow ball fight seemed ridiculous to me…unless alcohol was involved. If alcohol was involved, then I might see a point. Typically, though, I was far too busy making sure there was enough wine to get me through the evening and I was far too preoccupied with having a “deep” conversation with a friend while keeping our glasses nice and full.

Since getting sober, games have become a bigger part of my life and it’s not uncommon for us to spend a Friday night playing Boggle or Euchre or Craps with dice (a game Roger’s parents taught us).

And you know what? It’s fun! If you already like to play games, then you already know how special it can be to play, but if the notion of gathering around a table to play a game or doing a child-like activity seems foreign to you, then consider today’s post a little nudge to consider it.

This past Thanksgiving, with my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew, we did something as a family that we’d never done before. We played charades!! It was SO much fun and it bonded us in ways we hadn’t bonded before. We followed the ever popular “Girls against the Boys” format and although the boys ended up winning this time, the girls pledged to redeem ourselves next time and so I am counting the days until Christmas where we’ll assume our positions in the living room and do it all again.

As we get older, playing is something we often forget to do. We think it is only for kids.

Playing can make us feel vulnerable. Putting ourselves “out there” can feel scary if we are used to being in control, mature, poised, sophisticated.

As adults, we can find it really hard to step outside our comfort zones for fear of looking silly, but today, I am sharing a simple reminder to play.

Play is so important to our health. It feels good, is shown to help ease stress, and helps us connect deeply with others.

It also makes us smarter.

Watch this Ted Talk by “Play Researcher” and psychiatrist, Stuart Brown. He teaches us that play is not just joyful and energizing–it is deeply involved with human development and intelligence.

Ways To Play

Play can be as easy as letting the kids make the rules and doing something fun together. I used to play with my niece and nephew where they would be the aestheticians. My niece would take appointments for facials, mani/pedis, massages, etc. She had a notepad and would go around asking all of us what treatment we would like to have done and she would schedule us all in. My nephew worked on one “client” while she worked on another. Sometimes she made me be the facialist. But the kids made the rules. All I had to do was set them up with all the tools they needed to do their work. It was so much fun!

My niece and I have also made countless “routines” either in the backyard, courtyard, pool or living room. Outside, we’d have to time our moves but if we did indoor routines, we’d pick a song and then get to work synchronizing our moves. Once we had it down pat, we’d put on a show for whoever would watch. Although I certainly looked ridiculous, it was such a bonding activity and we have many great memories of these times.

At work, encouraging the team to play together can build trust, increase morale and improve workplace performance. More and more businesses are seeing the positive effects of playing together so they organize team building events at places like Escape Manor, where teams are locked in a room together and, using clues, have to escape before the time runs out. They even have a kids 

Go Karting, snow tubing, indoor rock climbing and event spaces like Fun Haven are all great for team building, as well. Doing a cooking class together can also be a fun activity that stretches people outside their comfort zones, and places like The Urban Element can help if you like this idea.

Solo games like Crossword puzzles, Solitaire, Sudoku, etc. help keep our minds sharp, so it is not wasted time when we want to just relax in our favourite chair and play a game on our own.

In romantic relationships, play can help bond people in ways that are powerful. Roger and I went to La Fleche Park during one of our first summers together. We explored the cave and then went through the outdoor obstacle course in the trees, complete with ziplines. It was one of our best dates ever! We had so much fun that we took my brother and his family on another adventure there for his birthday gift. Located about 35 minutes from Ottawa, this park is open all winter long, so if you are in the area, it is a must!

Being active is also playing! If you are single you might like to try a yoga or Pilates class. Perhaps you enjoy dancing, so Zumba would be fun for you! Joining groups like the one we have here called The Ottawa Sports and Social Club will have you getting out and meeting people while playing all kinds of sports like badminton, tennis, yoga, snowshoeing and much, much more. Check them out here!

Roger and I like to bikeride together, ski, swim in our pool (which usually ends up in Roger picking me up and throwing me, which is so fun!) and we play Ping Pong together. And of course, we like to play board, card and dice games. We also like to visit the Siberian Cat Cafe in Chelsea, Quebec, where we can play with the kittens and cats…it’s a great way to smile and laugh while enjoying a fabulous cup of coffee!

Game lounges have been cropping up over the last few years. Basically, they are restaurants or coffee shops that keep a large selection of board games for you to play with friends. It’s a tough business model, and the one Roger I enjoyed closed down, but I have heard great things about The Loft Board Game Lounge. Heading out for a coffee or a bite to eat and to play a new game is a lot of fun, and you can also buy games there once you’ve given them a test run.

Car games have forever been a way to pass the time, but with the advent of iPads and other screens, kids may miss out on games like Eye Spy, 20 Questions, and License Plate games. Try to get the kids’ eyes off screens for a while and enjoy some traditional car games together.

Roger and I basically don’t make any decisions without doing “Rock, Paper, Scissors”, which adds a little play to our day, and we’ve gotten hooked on this two-person game called “Say The Same Thing”. It is inspired by these guys and Roger and I are now addicted!! It is so fun to get to know more about the way each of us thinks. 

The Game Gal’s website is a great resource for all sorts of games. She organizes them quite well so you can sort by theme, number of players, etc. She even has a word generator for games like Charades, Catchphrase and Pictionary. We really like playing Actor/Movie Loop, which is basically a variation of the popular game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon where you connect actors via the movies they play in.

Whatever games you choose to play, I hope you enjoy the fun. A few weeks ago, I posted my Holiday Gift Ideas and one of them was to shop at Value Village or Salvation Army for used board games. You can find some in mint condition and it allows you to try a few and see if you like them without investing a ton of money.

I hope these ideas inspire you to grow a little younger this holiday season, and maybe you’ll find you have a lot more fun!

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday.

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

P.S. Please let me know in the comments if this post served you and if you will be doing any playing this season. I would love to hear from you! And please share with your friends if you think they would like the suggestions, as well. Thank you!

P.P.S. We can also connect on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.  Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you should! That way, you won’t miss anything. For joining, you get my personal meal plan, shopping list, and a week’s worth of easy, tasty recipes. http://sarahtalksfood.com/

P.P.P.S. To learn more about my story and to order your very own copy of my book,The 28 Day Kick The Sugar Challenge, visit KTSC28.com.

P.P.P.P.S. Roger and I are SO EXCITED to be building The Healthy Brain and Body Show with our amazing team and I can’t wait to share more details as they become available. For now, here is what we have created:

A show where we will prioritize ALL aspects of our health: Body, Mind, and Spirit.

It will be held at The EY Centre on April 22 & 23, 2017. We have secured the hall so now we simply have to fill it!

The show will be FREE for attendees, with donations being accepted for Heroes Equine Learning Program (H.E.L.P.), a four-day retreat that is free for our military and first responders suffering with PTSD. The entire retreat is run on donations (no cost to participants), so we invite you to donate generously.

This is a holistic health show. We are creating this show to help spread awareness about all that is available to us, right here in Ottawa, while supporting the businesses who are doing their amazing work. We want this event to be a win-win-win. The vendors win because we are keeping booth costs low and are investing heavily into marketing the show in order to get the word out to as many people as possible. Our goal is to see 10,000 people through the doors and we know we can make it happen with YOUR help! We are also coming at this show from the vendor’s perspective. Collectively, we have organized over 25 shows while also exhibiting at those shows. So, we have a deep understanding of vendor’s needs.

Attendees win because we aren’t charging for tickets. There is no frustrating ticket purchasing process to go through and no bottlenecks at the door. Just drop a donation to H.E.L.P in the bucket and come on in! This also means you may want to plan on coming both days because we have some amazing speakers and activities lined up that you won’t want to miss!

It is a win for our team because we want to create a show that we can do again for you next year. We want to make this a must-attend event and we are committed to doing everything we can to achieve our goals.

If you are interested in becoming an Exhibitor (vendor) or if you feel called to Sponsor our show, we would love to hear from you. Please email Sarah@SarahTalksFood.com

And, if you love a business that you feel would be a perfect fit for the show, please have them reach out to us or else let us know who they are and we will reach out to them. We want you to LOVE this show and we are doing everything we can to deliver.

Thank you so much. We can’t do it without you and we can’t WAIT for April!!  xo

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