Adults Gotta Play. Why FUN Needs to be a Priority
Posted on Mar 12, 2019
Can we make room for fun or is life too serious and too busy?
I was not the best forward planner for my ‘playtime’ in my life. I’m one of those that has an overly developed sense of responsibility even when I really want and should be relaxing and having fun. When I do make time for play and recreation, I always feel great after. Always. So if fun, laughter, and fun activities puts me in a great mood….what gives? Why... to my own detriment, have I denied myself fun, frolic and play? In fact, the less fun we have the more stressed we get and less we can handle life’s curve balls.
Fun actually helps me with my problems.
I’m a master for delaying gratification almost to a fault. I can isolate myself if I’m overwhelmed. I can start burning the candle at both ends. It’s almost as if I told myself I couldn’t possibly have fun in the presence of struggle, pressing deadlines or life challenges. I can’t possibly have a good time when there’s an unresolved issue in my life. What is that? Guilt? I’m not sure. All I know is that there will always be problems, challenges and struggles and I’ve been wasting too much of my time focusing on just that!
Here’s the thing; shifting our focus away from our problems and simply enjoying ourselves while putting some space in between our hectic lives and challenges actually improves our perspective, mood, and ability to focus. Makes sense to me. I just know when I’m in the trenches and life gets tough, eventually something’s gotta give and I have to figure out how to get myself get out of a funk.
The best cure to anything is a bit of FUN.
Recently, I seized the opportunity to have a night out with the girls that I hadn’t seen in a while. Nothing too glamorous, just a casual night out at the local pub where a friend of mine was playing. We had a blast. On that night, I became very aware of the benefits of play and fun. The energy it takes on before, during and after having or doing something fun or playful. This just proved to me that even in the face of some of life’s greatest challenges, having fun really does help to ease the load.
The before, during and after of fun…
When you plan for fun, the anticipation alone is an awesome feeling. There’s nothing like the knowing that you’ve got something fun ahead planned. When I planned our casual pub night out, it spurred the texts back and forth of ‘what are you wearing?’ and ‘is it Friday yet…can’t wait to see you guys!’ I didn’t really know how much fun our night would be but the leading up to it was definitely a spirit lifter for all of us. It doesn’t really matter how big or small the fun is. The important thing is to plan to play regularly. Having something to look forward to is the key. It can help us compartmentalize our problems so it doesn’t spill over to our entire lives when we’ve got something fun in the mix.
Fun keeps us in the moment not on past or future stuff.
The night had arrived and the girls were meeting at my place. Just the sound of a relentless doorbell ringing made me feel excited and joyful. I could see the ladies through the window of my door as they were yelling “Open up…we’re here!!” And from the time the doorbell rang with loads of laughter to the time I crashed in bed later than night with a smile on my face still giggling about the night’s events, I was the furthest from the stresses in my life. I was present…in the moment and not worrying about what happened yesterday or what’s going to happen tomorrow.
Everyone is dealing with something. Maybe it’s a break-up, a lawsuit, a job loss, an illness, financial worries, family issues, health problems. Who knows. Everyone’s got something. When we pause for a bit of fun, in that moment life is OK. Life is good. Life is more manageable.
The Post Fun Benefit: We were already reminiscing of how much fun we had on our ride back home. “That was so much fun! We have to do this again soon sometime!” You just can’t help but feel good after a night of fun. It’s like filling up your gas tank and getting your oil changed. The lingering effects keep us light. Somehow, I feel like I can tackle my problems, and get through work a little more inspired. I feel like I can face whatever is ahead of me just slightly better. And the big secret is to keep doing it. Have fun things planned on your calendar so you keep looking forward to the next thing, and the next and the next.
The Power of Play
Life is not easy. But it’s far harder when there’s no fun or play. We owe it to ourselves to lighten up and allow ourselves to simply enjoy life a little. For me, it keeps me sane. When we deny ourselves of fun or believe we aren’t allowed to have fun and simultaneously be dealing with some problems, is precisely when we likely need a dose of fun or play. To get out of that martyr mode and say “this problem I have sucks but I won’t let it ruin other parts of my life”.
Here’s the really big thing I’ve discovered about the power of play; we’re never going to have ‘clear sailing’ sans problems for the rest of our lives. That’s not life. That means, we need to figure this out and we can’t let our problems get in the way of having a great life along the way. Having fun and making time for play reminds me that not everything I’m dealing with is critical or life threatening. And even if it was, wouldn’t we want to get a break from it all? All I know is that fun and play lifts us, invigorates us, fills us with joy, heals us, gives us hope and connection and we need that – desperately.
This is a call to action to amp up the fun and play meter on a regular basis….because as Mom would say “it’s good for you!”