When we are in difficult times such as this one of pandemic and social turmoil, it’s easy to think that we should take everything very seriously. That’s not always the case.

The National Institute for Play believes that play can dramatically transform our personal health, our relationships, the education we provide our children and the capacity of our corporations to innovate. “The opposite of play is not work,” suggests NIP’s website. “It’s depression.” Playfulness can be associated with greater capacity to cope with stress, innovative performance at work and general well-being. Don’t play because it’s good for you, though. Play because it’s fun.

find the game. Be on the lookout for fun patterns, and interesting things you can add and enjoy. When you find something is annoying you, see if you can turn it into whimsy.

To make this web post a game, I decided to find three sources of advice on how to add lightheartedness to our days. (Three sources = 3 points and if I get this blog post published by noon, I get another three points!) I looked at Play Your Way Sane, Tiny Buddha, and Hey Sigmund.

Rediscover your sense of wonder. Kids and animals are great models of this way of life. Absorbed in the moment the future. What they see around them is new, unexpected, and worthy of attention and celebration. The world around you is magical if you let it be.

Make something. Get your colored crayons out, find something fun to cook, or craft a project. Put the emphasis on playful creating, rather than judging the product. Just spending time making something new will boost your spirits

Go outside and meander. Take a walk or make a trip without planning ahead or making a route. You are on an adventure, out to explore. Trust your intuition and follow where your heart leads. With a flick of an attitude, you may find yourself in magical realms.

Make your day a scavenger hunt. If you commute or have a repetitive journey, think of something to look for as you travel. My husband spots electric cars on the road. You can look for a person with an umbrella, a Florida license plate, or a street sign with graffiti. Define the game before you start and be safe. (If you subscribe to my newsletter, you can use the “objects in space” creative experiment prompts as a scavenger hunt starter.)

Include play in your daily schedule. Keep a couple of children’s games or puzzles where you can see and play with them. Play a team sport for fun. Dance and sing and read silly fiction or watch funny movies.

Let these suggestions inspire you to generate your own. Come out and play! It feeds your soul and lightens your day.