by Nikita Bhatty Avdic , guest blogger for Experience Delta
As the topic of mental health is increasingly becoming a matter of concern for us all, this month’s issue is relevant and appropriate. Considering that all of us can identify with feelings of disconnection stemming from our fast-paced world, I think it’s safe to say that the effect of feeling frantic, frazzled and fatigued is taking it’s toll.
Which in turn, brings me to the state of affairs of our greatest resource: our families. As families serve as home base, we know that deep family connections can provide a sense of safety and nurture, filling us up from the inside, and creating a barrier for us against the thorny wounds of the outside world.
Considering the daily divide between us as we rush to work and to our activities, we can all be pummeled by a daily agenda that does not keep closeness in mind. This can leave us feeling anxious, alarmed and lonely. So, the question is, how can we keep our connections true and secure within our families? What is the secret to strong bonds? Is it “family time” when no one is in the mood… or holidays abroad? I don’t think so.
Throughout my involvement with the Neufeld Institute (see below), I have developed an interest in the study of play. This refers to True Play which is separate from playing games or playing sports. True Play involves the instinct that drives play; more of a mode of being than any one activity. I have learned that all mammals play, and it is through play that deeper relationships and more connections can happen.
Play signals are easily observable in kids, and this leads us to wonder if as adults, our own play mode is in need of some help…especially in our families. To help us stay strong together, I would suggest bringing play back. For example, what about some time in that sprinkler with the kids? How about some hide and seek as the sun is setting on your street (used to love that!)… And for those teens, maybe some jamming with a guitar or piano, playing with the pets or a healthy dose of Dad jokes.
Families that play together, stay together, as Play is the primer that helps bond our relationships together. In our Play mode, we naturally invite each other into our spaces, with a twinkle in our eye, and love in our hearts…
And so, in time for the official kick off to summer, I wish you all… Play time. Something silly can lighten the mood during times of trouble, a game of pick up or frisbee in the park can do amazing things to bring us closer. In that closeness, Play beautifully creates some warmth, softens our hearts and eases our minds..bringing us back to our feelings and restoring our well-being.
*(home of the attachment-based developmental approach of Dr. Gordon Neufeld)
Who is Nikita Bhatty Avdic
Nikita Bhatty Avdic is a certified school psychologist in Ladner, BC. She has been an educator for many years. She lives with her husband and two teenagers. After 20 years in the school system, it has become clear to Nikita that her greatest success as a teacher has been in her attachment relationships with her students.
Nikita is a facilitator for the Neufeld Insitute, offering courses and talks to schools, parents, and community groups. She also offers workshops to Parent Advisory Councils on behalf of the BC Teachers Federation.