Resources for Recovering Resilience: Play is Good Medicine for the Winter Blahs

Things can look serious, even dire, in any season. The cold and grey of winter can make things feel more so. We’re now well into the new year; the luster of our new year’s resolutions may have faded a bit, too. Even five minutes of a playful experiment can restore energy and resolve. Here’s a simple exercise to brighten a few moments in the day, easy to do indoors or out, morning or evening, with others or by yourself.

  1. Take one minute to simply notice everything blue (or any specific color you choose) in your immediate environment. Notice any surprises or delights as you do so. You can take a short walk around the house/office/neighborhood to explore some more.
  2. Take another minute to notice everything round (or any specific shape you choose) in your immediate environment. Again, notice any surprises or delights as you do so. Perhaps notice yourself becoming curiouser and curiouser. You can expand your exploration through your home, office, the neighborhood. You can do this exercise standing in line at the grocery store or the bank.
  3. Take the next moment to notice angles and corners – on the desk, on the ceiling, on windows and doors. If you walk down the street, notice the angles and corners at the tops of buildings as you walk by. Notice any growing delight or wonder as you proceed through this experimental play.
  4. Take another moment to notice everything moving – a clock ticking, the play of light and shadow on the wall, sparkles on snow, the lazy flick of your cat’s tail. Notice people or cars or file drawers moving, and notice the movement. Notice even the movement of your own eyes and body as you do this noticing.
  5. Take one last moment to notice touch – your clothing on your body, or running your fingers along a kitchen counter, the grasp of a door handle, your feet on the floor.

In five short minutes of playfully experimenting with perception, you can revitalize your energy, clearing your mind of the worries of the five minutes before, returning to projects, deadlines, decisions now with new perspective, new openness, new vigor.

You can make up your own moments of shifting perception as a tool to shift perspectives, too. And relish the delight and satisfaction as you do so.