Barbara Gold 
LCSW, LMFT, CST 
Compassion Empathy and Emotional Healing 

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All Play and No Work?

All Play and No Work?
Yes, I know I’ve got it backwards! I do, however, believe the balance is essential, and I thought it might be interesting to contemplate what the balance would look like if play came before work. Most of us have no difficulty with the work part-it comes with the territory. The play is another matter, however. I definitely have nothing against work-not only is it necessary for creating an income which most of us require, and if it’s something we enjoy and take pride in, it also provides a purpose upon which to focus and a source of potential gratification emotionally, as well as financially. So unless unemployment strikes, we have work. Most of us have work beyond work in that we have children to raise, bills to pay, errands to run, homes and cars to maintain, etc. If you consider all the “side jobs”, it becomes easier to see why play is so often neglected.

When I see young people raising families today, I marvel at how they do it. The world is a much busier place than years ago when my kids were growing up. I’m so impressed by how today’s parents juggle it all. For many, however, the difficulty appears to be in making time for “play”. Whether it’s a couple’s “us” time or an individual’s “me” time, there often isn’t time scheduled for play and for relaxation. And for many, it must be scheduled if it’s going to happen. I’m beginning to think relaxation is becoming a lost art-one that I often hear described as being “lazy”. Now lazy is a word I don’t believe in, so I always wonder what’s behind “the cover story”. I often hear people describe themselves as lazy because relaxation and yes, play, have gotten a bad name.

So, whatever happened to “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy?” Maybe some of you never even heard that expression. It doesn’t get used much any more. So I say, let’s bring it back! We all need “play” time, and whatever that looks like for each of us, it’s invaluable. It’s really not about being “dull” either. It’s about taking care of yourself and giving to yourself in a way which brings you enjoyment, pleasure and relaxation. Not only do we need that, we deserve it. So if you take a long, hard look at how your life is unfolding, please take note if there’s not enough time for you and time for play and find a way to alter your schedule in order to build it in. In other words, HAVE FUN!!