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Anxiety at work and the power of play

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

With the softening of Covid's deathly grip on us, even more people are seeking/or needing extra help on their mental health than before. Let it be the a drastic change in the work rhythm, the unpredictability of online and offline events, or the inevitability of having to catch up on all the paperwork that might have taken a break along with the lock down, one thing for sure is that the world is re-establishing and settling into a new normalcy. A learning of an unfamiliar global rhythm that is asking us to listen and re-tune ourselves to this new territory.

As we swim through the wave of must-do's, strategic meetings, and new deadlines, those who are objectively minded may begin to drown. Here are some suggestions that may work for some to getting through a long list of tasks:

  • take frequent breaks

  • reward yourself with small tokens of gratitude

  • limit your tasks down to 20-30 minutes if possible

  • forgive yourself for the rest and try it again at a later time

  • lastly, when things become too much, or even before that, ask for help, ask for professionals to help, whether it's to organize, or to help with anxiety. Don't put your own well being on hold before it gets out of hand.

But the golden nugget of wisdom that has been the most convincing and aligns with my own life philosophy is to make every task an adventure, a fun activity, to possess a child-like curiosity, and to let go of that objectively mindedness which grips us like the deathly claws of Covid himself. For a lack of a more creative expression: enjoy the journey.

I propose the following: a poignant quote by Joseph Campbell from his book, Primitive Mythology: The Masks of God.

"From the position of secular man (or a secular woman), that is to say, we are to enter the play sphere of the festival, acquiescing in a game of belief, where fun, joy, and rapture rule in ascending series. The laws of life in time and space- economics, politics, and even morality - will thereupon dissolve. Whereafter, re-created by that return to paradise before the Fall, before the knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong, true and false, belief and disbelief, we are to carry the point of view and spirit of man (again, also a woman) the player back into life; as in the play of children, where, UNDAUNTED BY THE BANAL ACTUALITIES OF LIFE'S MEAGER POSSIBILITIES, THE SPONTANEOUS IMPULSE OF THE SPIRIT TO IDENTIFY ITSELF WITH SOMETHING OTHER THAN ITSELF FOR THE SHEER DELIGHT OF PLAY, TRANSUBSTANTIATES THE WORLD - IN WHICH, ACTUALLY, AFTER ALL, THINGS ARE NOT QUITE AS REAL OR PERMANENT, TERRIBLE, IMPORTANT, OR LOGICAL AS THEY SEEM."

So take a breath, remember why this task will improve your life, and enjoy the adventure. Re-frame the task and keep a Sherlock's eye in the process.

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