Women enjoy playing. We like humour, we like fun, we like being outrageous, but if we are not in the safest of situations, we worry about ‘appearances’.

At a local women’s group, we recently had a young speaker who encouraged us to laugh, and the responses from the members were so positive I could not help wondering why we do not indulge in play more often. I don’t think we play nearly enough.

Our lives are busier than ever. There are children to take to dance, or soccer, or hockey, or riding, or baseball, or any number of other extra activities. There are meals to be made, washing and cleaning to be done, dental or doctor’s appointments to be kept, business appointments, plus we need to be at our jobs outside our homes every day. Computers have added more stress, with e-mails demanding immediate attention and which are usually simply put aside to be dealt with later. I have a client who currently has over 6,000 e-mails in her in-box. Does that qualify as madness? No wonder we are more stressed than ever, and no wonder we often are completely overwhelmed with all the busy-ness in our lives.

My solution to stress and overwhelm is just to play more and have more fun.

If you are not sure how, watch your young children. Kids really have a great sense of play. They run and leap and skip for joy. They pause and examine strange creatures on the ground. They watch the birds, the small animals, and marvel in the colour of flowers. They can find fun in the simplest of things, and joy in life itself. Kids are the experts on play. Watch a kid eat. That in itself is an adventure. Remember when you were young? Did you mound up your mashed potatoes into a hill, put a big cavity in the middle and fill it with peas and gravy and pretend it was a volcano? Did you put your peanut butter and jelly on the outside of your sandwich because it tasted better (and looked better) that way? When you were given sour cream for putting on baked potatoes, did you mix in food colouring in red or blue, simply to watch the rest of the supper party turn green?

So take more time for fun. You could spend time really looking at trees and birds and flowers. Not just casually, but deeply, probing the mysteries of all of these. You could try skipping (OK do it when no one is about, if you must.) You could indulge in some really creative food play. You could wear a red clown nose when driving. I can just imagine being stopped by the ride program when wearing a clown nose. Do you think the police would make me walk a line? Or would they actually realize I was just having fun. Or would they think it’s my real nose and it’s red from drinking too much? I would hope they would laugh and have a little fun themselves. I’m sure their jobs do not allow for much play, so hopefully I could provide a little light in their day.

Take time each day to have a little fun. Don’t know how? Ask the kids. They know!

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