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Self-Care Sunday: Create A Play-Book

bubbles, central park, nyc

I think of play and creativity as a big part of self-care. Because with play and creativity come curiosity (about our bodies, our feelings, the world), humor, laughter, and simply a playful approach to life.

That is, instead of criticizing ourselves for being anxious or upset, we can get curious and explore why we’re feeling this way. We can explore where this feeling is in our body (your heart, your stomach).

We can marvel at our surroundings, because so much magic really does exist in our lives. It’s just a matter of using our senses fully.

There are many times that I have to work on this, and participating in playful activities and cultivating my creativity help to open these doors. They serve as reminders.

Lately, I’ve been realizing the power of play and creativity, the power in making messes. I’ve been realizing the importance of loosening up, of expressing myself in many different ways, of paying attention to the details of life (which reveal so much beauty).

One fun way to play is to create a kind of play-book — a notebook or journal with different prompts, quotes, images and anything else that helps you to play and express yourself in silly, surprising, soothing, exciting ways.

Or, better yet, swap books with a friend. Create a play-book for a close friend (or your spouse, siblings, kids, parents), and ask them to do the same for you. Make this your holiday gift to each other. Just buy any kind of journal, notebook or sketchbook, and write a different activity, action, or inspiring or thought-provoking quote on each page. Include images from magazines or photos you’ve taken. Include different fabrics and materials.

Here are some prompts you might include in your play-book:

  • Write down 50 things about a trip to the library or grocery store or a walk in your neighborhood. This playful prompt is from Keri Smith’s book How to Be an Explorer of the World.
  • Describe something you saw on the ground. This prompt comes from Adam J. Kurtz’s book 1 Page At A Time: A Daily Creative Companion.
  • Spend the day hopping and skipping around the house.
  • Draw your favorite foods.
  • Doodle your favorite flower.
  • Describe what the flower smells like.
  • Take photos of anything that’s blue. Then print your favorites, and paste them into your book.
  • Create collages out of leftover wrapping paper, fabric or anything else that’s too small to use.
  • Doodle with your favorite pen, pencil, marker or crayon.
  • Make a playlist for a birthday party. (Also from Kurtz’s book.)
  • Make a list of your favorite children’s books.
  • Doodle their covers.
  • Take a photo of something that catches your eye.
  • Write what’s so alluring about it.
  • Make a list of five things that never fail to make you feel fantastic.
  • Do one today.
  • Schedule the rest, writing them in your planner.
  • Write one thing you love about your body.
  • Then write a love letter to that body part.
  • Draw yourself as a spoon. (Also a great tip from Kurtz’s book.)
  • Create a self-portrait (or a portrait of the person you’re giving the book to).
  • List everything you’re grateful for — and the number depends on your age. For instance, I’m 32, so I’d list 32 things. But definitely keep going if you have more!

Hope you’re enjoying a playful Sunday!

Self-Care Sunday: Create A Play-Book

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2017). Self-Care Sunday: Create A Play-Book. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 16, 2019, from


Last updated: 21 Dec 2017
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.