August #1 | 2020    Share with a friend

An Invitation to Play

And why we should set it as a priority.

Welcome to sunny August 🌻
With summer in full swing, possibly some holidays in the pipeline and a few slower weeks ahead now is the time to focus on our recreational time.

Giving ourselves time to play, provides a creative portal for us to imagine, experiment, restore focus and energy and allow us to reconnect with ourselves and the world around us. 

Play is anything we do simply for the joy of doing rater as a means to an end. 
Whether it’s doing sports, listening to music, throwing around a ball, or drawing on a piece of paper, without knowing what you’re going to come up with.

As children, we picked up play naturally and instinctively. But as we grow older we get introduced to the idea that play is trivial and a waste of time. Unfortunately, many of these negative messages come from the very place, where imaginative play should be most encouraged.

The word “school” is derived from the Greek word schole meaning “leisure”. But our modern school system, born in the industrial revolution, has removed the leisure out of learning.

This idea even becomes more ingrained as we enter the workspace. Not only do far too few companies foster play, many unintentionally undermine it.

But studies show that play has the power to significantly improve everything from personal health to relationships to education, to organizations ability to innovate. 
Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute of Play found that play leads to brain plasticity, adaptability, and creativity. 
It is also the antidote to stress - and this is key, because stress, in addition to being an enemy of productivity, can actually shut down the reactive, exploratory parts of the brain.

I love Greg McKeown’s description about “Play” in his book "Essentialism": "Play expands our mind, fuels exploration and broadens our perspective to generate new ideas and see old ideas in a new light. It allows us to see possibilities we otherwise wouldn’t have seen and make connections we otherwise wouldn’t have made."

Monthly Picks

our curated list of prompts and ideas to integrate more play into your day
Outdoor Activities 🌳
Whether it’s cycling, hiking, swimming or whatever it is you like to do in your leisure time, do it! This summer, my favorite activity is hiking/walking in nature, which is a great way to unwind. It provides us with fresh air, a cooling breeze, beautiful views and gives us time to think and breathe. 

Drawing 🎨
Extracurricular activities, such as drawing, can create space between your work and private life and are a great way to develop new skills, experiment, connect with people or decompress.⁠⁠ In July, we invited NYC-based artist Robin Cameron to teach a drawing-workshop in our OOO I Office Hours. You can re-do the drawing exercise we went through here (Betty Edwards ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain').

Watercolor Meditation 🖍️
Yes, that's right. Check out this CreativeMornings FieldTrip, giving an introduction to basic watercolor skills as well as a series of watercolor meditations, or exercises, that combine colors and mindfulness for a meditative experience. 

More Art 👩‍🎨 
Happy Medium is curating the internet’s best art things to get you started. You can explore art and also make your own drawings and submit them.

Gardening 🍅🥗
- especially vegetable gardening — makes us happy. If you recently got into gardening, read this article about how gardening makes us happy and why it will work for you too.

Move everything outdoors 🌻 
I love this article about innovative ways of how people were moving activities outdoors

Look outside other people’s window 🖼️ 
International Travel may be on hold, but that doesn't mean the views have to be. If you’re bored with the view from your own house/apartment and miss traveling, WindowSwap lets you gaze out of other people’s windows all over the world.

I’d love to hear what you come up with, so feel free to reply to this email!

living the out of office life

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That's it for this week!
Thank you for reading and being here with us!
Want to help support our newsletter?  💌
Send it to a friend this week who needs some inspiration for their downtime!

If you have any questions, comments or would like to get in touch, hit reply on this email or reach out to:
Alice Katter
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