“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
George Bernard Shaw
I was recently working with a client that had been faced with some hard times and dark moments. I asked her what she did for fun and she couldn’t answer. It struck me as slightly sad and unfortunate. As my week continued, I started asking more clients and found it wasn’t uncommon, people seemed to struggle to think of what they do for fun or what brings them joy.
When fall hits and the clouds come in, I think it’s an important time to bring some fun into our lives. Summer is filled with sunny days, lots of activities, vacations and social events. Fall and winter for some can feel darker, people stay indoors more, it can be dark when we leave for work and dark when we come home. How can we combat this to bring a little light, laughter and joy into our lives?
Research is showing that fun can help us be healthier – here’s how:
Better Sleep – Have you ever witnessed a child having so much fun they naturally fall into a deep sleep. Can you remember being a child and falling asleep in the car on the way home of a day or evening filled with stimulation & excitement? It is easy to worry about getting enough sleep, but if we simply focused on the kinds of daytime activities where you feel you’re having fun, sleep might come more naturally!
What is happening to us though if we aren’t readily having fun or know what is fun for us? Becoming an adult takes determination and focus. At some point we stopped asking others to play but why? It is easy to put aside fun when we have to build a career, a home, a bank account, exercise, eat, sleep and repeat! Weekends and free time can end up in laundry, groceries, cleaning and the endless list of chores and errands that can take up every spare moment we have if we let it. I can understand how fun gets put to bottom of the priority list in our busy schedules. I am reminded of a quote here though: “Life is the journey not the destination”. I like this wisdom because to me it implies that the journey needs to be fun at times too. What if we never get to the destination and we didn’t have fun along the way?
Having fun can help bring balance into our lives in times of strife or challenge. Let’s face it, life is hard at times and prone to malcontent, pain, even agony. The yins to those yangs are fun, joy, and ecstasy. It’s not healthy to be in a state of either one of yin or yang all the time because this is by definition “life out of balance”, just like the meaning of the Hopi word, Koyaanisqatsi”, and more suffering. The question is where are you at? If you are in a hard time right now, or want to move out of one, how can you rebalance yourself? Perhaps, you are one of the few that is having too much fun and your life is lacking momentum and goals are falling to the wayside and it’s time to put “fun” on pause for a short while?
How can you start having more fun?
- Schedule it in! And while this sounds really not fun, I promise you that if it is in your schedule the likeliness of you actually doing it is much higher!!
- Surround yourself with fun friends. It is always good to have community and if you are going to have one it might as well be fun. Don’t have any? Sign up for a Meetup group doing something you enjoy, like a hiking group or cooking group.
- Be the fun – Like attract like – the best advice ever given to me was that if I wanted to have something in my life, I should start by being it!! Organize something fun, invite a few friends and see how your life starts to transform
- Make a growing list of fun – sometimes it can be difficult to think of something fun off the cuff, having lists by to draw from are always helpful
I’m going to get the ball rolling and start by giving you some of my fun on my list, please feel free to grab a few and start your own. Send me some too. I am open to more fun in my life.
Melissa’s Fun List:
Dancing – everywhere – in the car- in dance class – in the street- in my living room- on a counter top- on a boat- just dance!!!
Running and kicking through leaves
Smiling at strangers
Pjs day or naked day (at home ;))
Cards against humanity
Camp fires and roasting marshmallows
Rollerblading around the seawall
Ice skating at Robson Square
Some of these things take planning, but that’s ok with me because I actually find planning things fun; it helps build the excitement. However, it is important to have spontaneous fun too.
Don’t run the risk of growing old because you stopped playing, make it a priority and play now!