The Expat Woman

Power of having fun and playing

Have You Played Today?

“Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” – Stuart Brown, MD, Contemporary American psychiatrist

Have you ever asked yourself, why don’t I have more fun and play in my life? Both are vital elements to keep our lives in balance, and especially necessary during difficult transitions. Something seems to happen to many of us as adults, (or grown up children as I sometimes like to think of adults). As we get older, we sometimes spend far more time in our lives working, and less time playing. Unless, you are one of the seemingly few who do in fact make play and fun priorities in your daily life. Or maybe your work IS your play!

As a generalization, America, as a society, does not value play as a top priority in day to day life. Work often takes precedence in many Americans’ lives, where the standard yearly vacation is typically two weeks long. Often the expectation is that works comes first and then play after …if there is time leftover for it, that is. You may actually have been raised in a culture where play and fun is valued a great deal, and/or these may be of highest value in your personal life. Maybe, you can easily say that you spend a lot of time having fun. If so, you are a role model for those of us, who have temporarily forgotten what brings us joy. Don’t worry, though, because your joy, capacity for bliss, and playfulness are waiting for you to simply rediscover them!

What happens when we play? We can actually loosen our grip on whatever we are uber-focused on in our lives, and allow an opening for creativity, and new solutions and ideas to come to us. This is why you can imagine that work environments like Google, have adult playgrounds – to foster creativity and solutions through play. So even if you may not have the luxury of working in Google, you can make slight changes to your life to weave in some play and fun. There is one requirement – that you not censor your own ideas. We may quickly shut down our most creative thoughts that may be wildly different from anyone else around us. Yet, if it gives you a spark, a smile just thinking about it or a sigh of pleasure and longing, then it is worth a go.

Take a new approach and consider how you could make your daily “have to’s” and “must do’s”, a little more fun. Ask yourself, “What could I do to bring more play or fun to this task or activity or responsibility?”, or, “How could it become more enjoyable for me and others around me?” Of course, life is not all fun and games. We know that a great deal of life is challenging, so why not approach it with lightness and a smile, when we can. We can impact our own difficult days, moments, and transitions, and also ripple out some positivity, play and joy, to others along the way. There is something quite cool and magical about spreading fun and play around. Much like a smile, it can be contagious when someone exudes a carefree spirit.

Fun means something different to everyone and therein is the most important step for you, in creating more fun in your world. First define: What is fun for you? Go ahead, and make a list (for fun!) to see what comes up when you think of what feels playful, freeing, blissful, and simply fun for the sake of fun. You might be surprised. Whatever it is, whether you have done this activity recently or 5 years ago, what would happen if you let yourself infuse a little of exactly that which brings you a big fat smile and sends rays of feel good juice through your body, today and maybe every day?

How could you bring a playful attitude to work, to a job search, to a new and scary transition… could you do so right now, today? Even one small step. Try it and feel free to share comments here with everyone else. You might inspire someone else to put play first, for a change.

Thank you to our contributing expert : 
Rebekah Kane (, spends her time between Chicago, San Francisco and Boston. She is a coach, educator, and intercultural trainer, with experience training, advising, and coaching professional adults along their career and life changing journeys. She empowers and supports women in career and life transitions, cultural adjustment and in pursuit of their personal and professional development goals and dreams.

Photo courtesy Video Blocks



Nyna is the Founder and CEO of The Expat Woman, a global platform focused on connecting, supporting and empowering women who have moved abroad or plan to relocate. She is also a LinkedIn coach, consultant, trainer and speaker. LinkedIn played a huge role in my professional journey abroad, helping me build a network of powerful expat women and allies.

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