When’s the last time you did something just because it was fun? Just because it brought you joy or made you laugh? Most of us have plenty of daily responsibilities and obligations to keep us busy. We’re good at getting things done. Checking off boxes. Meeting or exceeding expectations. Making sure we get our heart rate up at the gym and run those errands after work. Yes, we have bills to pay. And many also have children to take care of. But when was the last time you were spontaneous? Do you make time in your day, or your week, simply to play? Is “play” a four-letter word that makes you gasp? If so, let’s chat.
This world is plenty serious. There’s no shortage of things to keep us stressed out, whether it’s the busyness of our daily lives or the constant stream of surprising world events. We’re glued to screens and our eyes, hearts, and brains are weary. When does it stop? Guess what—that’s up to you. While you may or may not be able to decide when to go to work or how to arrange your child’s day, you can decide when to put your phone away. To turn off the news. You can decide how to use your lunch break or your time off from work. And, get this, you have more power over how you experience all of it than you think you do.
It’s time to take back your fun. Where did you put it? You may have left it laying under your to-do list. Or in the laundry basket. Maybe it’s buried somewhere in your work email. In the floorboard of your car. Wherever it is, take it back. It’s yours and it’s time to get serious about your fun. Are you with me?
If all this talk about fun and spontaneity is making you either roll your eyes or feel your chest tighten with anxiety, then, my friend, you need to read this more than anyone else.
I excel at being conscientious. Getting things done, hell yeah! I can a write a to-do list like nobody’s business. I’m also in a creative profession, and I enjoy using my imagination. Yet sometimes I notice my imagination has gone stale. In fact, just a few years ago, it seemed as if my imagination had packed up its bags and left. We’re done, it said. You never pay attention to me anymore. We don’t have any fun together. Slowly but surely I have heeded that wake-up call and I’ve become much more conscious of the need for things in my life that simply make me happy. I have allowed myself to explore new hobbies and build on old ones, which has done wonders to brighten my spirit. But I’ve also gotten “serious” about stuff that serves no goal other than to bring a little joy to my day. To let my mind wander.
I’m talking about injecting playfulness into your everyday experience. Yep. Like even when you’re writing out your to-do list, do it with a fun pen or draw some doodles along with it. Start sprinkling creative bits throughout your day. And it doesn’t have to cost much at all. What did you do for fun when you were a kid? In the meantime, here are a few ideas to get you started:
Sing in your car.
Have a dance party in your living room, even if it’s just you.
Apply a temporary tattoo. Pick something whimsical or wacky. Remember, it’s temporary!
Buy a jar of Play-Doh and squish out some tiny sculptures or just smush around some blobs of the stuff.
Hijack your kid’s finger paints and make some heartfelt paintings. Even better, buy your own finger paint set.
How about some Legos? Build something just because, either with your kid or by yourself.
Liven up your office space: How about buying the block of colorful sticky notes instead of the plain old yellow ones? The multicolor file folders instead of the manila ones?
This one isn’t news but it could be new for you: Break out the crayons and your coloring book and color away your worries. You’ll feel better in the morning.
Find some Zen with a Spirograph set. I rediscovered Spirograph a few months ago and it has proven to be not only fun like it was when I was a kid, but also a great way to zone out and de-stress.
Did I mention that having fun helps to relieve stress? That may not be a news flash, but if you need some incentive, there you go. Engaging in creative activities can boost your health. Taking a break has actually been shown to improve productivity. Even just five or 10 minutes spent doing something that brings you mental relief, lightens your step, and lights up your spirit will bring some happiness to your life. And your career won’t go up in flames because you took a break. Seriously.
What do you think? Maybe you’re already excelling at keeping the fun fresh in your life. If so, that’s awesome! If not, try it—I think you’ll like it. What’s one small thing you could do today that would bring a smile to your face?