By: Vera Mesquita, Masters Level Intern
I have been talking a lot to my clients about the importance of having fun. We value children’s games, and we know how important it is to their development to play. Why do we forget about all that once we become adults? Work, family, and responsibilities take over our lives and, all of a sudden, we don’t have time to have fun. Sure, we can meet friends for dinner, or a drink, but other than that, what do you do during the day that makes you genuinely smile? Seems silly, right? But researchers have found out that patients with type 1 diabetes who had fun every day showed better mood, greater discloser of diabetes to one’s partner and greater coping skills on everyday challenges.
Play can help us take our minds off of problems and stressors in our lives by putting our full attention to the present (yes, Mindfulness again!). When we are having fun, we lose the sense of self-consciousness and foster a greater sense of empathy with others and ourselves. Adding fun to your self-care routine is great for your mental and physical health, and it is, well, fun! Who wouldn’t like to smile a little bit more?
Some people might read this text and think: “I don’t even know what I enjoy doing anymore”. Others might go: “ok! Now I need to have fun. I will sign up for dance lessons, buy tickets to a concert, subscribe to any fun couples’ activities I can find”. Those are all great ideas, and common thoughts, but having fun can be a lot simpler that we think.
Having fun is about finding bits of joy throughout your day. It can be a phone call to a friend, a joke your child tells, your favorite music on the radio. Fun can be spontaneous. It is all about enjoying what you have, not creating more problems in your life. If you don’t know where to start, try making a list of the things you used to love doing when you were younger. From that list you can get ideas of what brings you joy, and work from there.
Here are some ideas that can inspire you to figure out what would be fun for you:
- Game nights with the family
- Playing with your dog
- Building a fort with your kids
- Dance (in the kitchen, in a class, in a club… you choose)
- Cooking or baking
- Going to the movies, a play or a concert
- Dodge ball (why not?)
- Snowball fight
- Playing pool games
I think you got the idea. Bring activities that are fun to your daily routine, and you will see how your mood will improve. When you are in a good mood, there is less arguments, yelling, and discontent. If you start having fun, your family will probably follow along, and everybody will benefit from some laughter together. It will bring you closer and improve your relationship. Enjoy!