Not long ago I turned 40, again! It was a magnificent day. My day began with sleeping until I woke up, something I don’t normally do on a work day. It felt fantastic!
I lingered at breakfast and ate just what I wanted, not what I had time for.
The days preceding my birthday were nippy and gray; even a snow flurry or two! But on my birthday, the weather was amazing. There was a gentle breeze and tons of sunshine. I took advantage of the beautiful day and worked in my yard. Yard work might not be your kind of fun, but I actually like working up a sweat and getting a little dirty.
I worked just because I wanted to. My husband and I walked along the river. It was glorious. We got ready for dinner at a leisurely pace and had a delightful dinner out at a restaurant of my choosing.
The entire day I did whatever I wanted. It was incredible!
It made me realize I don’t give myself permission to do the things I love nearly enough!
You may remember that last year one of my goals was to do something I love every day, and I’ve been fairly consistent. It’s been positive, yet my birthday was a reminder that giving myself permission more often would be even better. In my mind it feels like I am indulging myself – doing something that should only happen after I get everything else done.
The trouble is that there is always something to be done! And the endless doing is depleting. I actually need those fun moments in my life to make it possible for me to bring my best to my relationships and to my work.
It’s unrealistic to think that every day could be spent the way I did on my birthday, but what if I stopped skipping the things that I love and gave myself permission to engage in more frivolous fun? Not just the 30 minutes of fun I have been making a part of my days, but actually allowing myself the freedom to do some of the activities that I’ve been putting off? Hmmm.
Appealing to my goal oriented self, why not set some “Big Fun Goals”?
The truth is taking time to engage in fun activities or activities that make my heart happy is a good thing. A very good thing! It brings new energy, creativity, and focus to my relationships and work which ultimately saves me time rather than costing me time!
While everyone has a different take on what qualifies as “fun”, you might want to incorporate more fun in your life too! Adding more fun to your life…
1. Reduces Stress
The crazy thing about stress is that the majority of it is self-induced! The good news is that YOU have the power to change that by altering your expectations, giving yourself permission to slow down and do the things you love and actually enjoy life. It’s easy to make everything important or like it has to be done right now, but the truth is that it can wait.
What are your priorities in this season, and how can you eliminate or simplify everything else?
2. Increases Concentration
It’s a whole lot easier to focus on what’s necessary in life (work, chores, etc.) when you’ve had the opportunity to do something you love. And it will also allow you to bring a more positive attitude to the mundane activities in life!
Playing games, doing crossword puzzles, reading for pleasure – these are all examples of fun activities that actually improve your concentration and your memory. Sounds like a pretty good excuse to make an effort to include this kind of fun in your life, right?
3. Balances Your Hormones
Stress does a number on your physical body – that’s not secret! Under stress, your body produces stress hormones that make your heart race, palms sweat, breathing quicken, and prepares your body for action.
On the flip side, when we engage in doing something we love and have a little fun it lowers your cortisol levels while increasing your serotonin. That makes it easier to relax and to connect with others!
4. Perks Up Your Mood
Stress and persistent busyness are real downers! They pretty much suck the joy out of life. Finding joy in their life again is a frequent goal that the professionals I work with have. Incorporating more of what you love to do in your life – a brilliant way to recapture joy. It also lessens anxiety and depression, and if you’ve experienced either of those, you know the toll they have on your life, mood, and productivity.
5. Keeps You Young!
Having fun might not be the fountain of youth, but it sure can help you get in touch with your younger self – the one who played! Play is about being active, curious, and FREE – no agenda. Just doing what seems amusing in the moment. Think adventure! And studies show that people who feel younger live longer. That motivates me to have fun and play more, how about you?
6. Cranks Up Your Energy
Did you know that having fun gives you more energy than it takes? Contrast that with stress, demanding work, challenging relationships, or health challenges which all zap your energy.
When life gets revved up, the first thing we cut out are the activities that energize us. Those fun activities serve as fuel, so you might want to think twice before you nix those activities in the future. Having fun – it’s good for you!
7. Improves Relationships
Fun can improve your relationships in two ways. First, when you make an effort to include fun in your life, you bring a more enjoyable you to your relationships. Believe me, the people in your life will be glad you did! That goes for your family, friends, as well as your coworkers and business associates.
Second, fun doesn’t have to be a solo adventure! Having fun is something you can do with others, and when you do, it’s bonding. It also develops your ability to communicate, gives you a chance to be creative, laugh, and to connect. It can even have a trust building affect.
Having fun isn’t purely something social. Incorporating more fun into the workplace can positively affect performance and productivity. Being a fun place to work also leads to higher levels of retention and makes your organization more attractive to potential new employees. Wouldn’t it be nice to attract great talent?
By the way, you might want to mark January 25, 2019 on your calendar. It’s Fun at Work Day – always the 4th Friday in January!
Maybe you are cheering me on as you read this because you LOVE having fun. I hope that’s the case, assuming you also make plenty of time to get the other stuff done too. Having too much fun has its own consequences.
Or maybe you are more driven or feel the pressure to provide, succeed, perform, etc. You’ve heard about fun, but it’s been a good while since you experienced it for yourself. I hope I’ve inspired you to get reacquainted with fun again. It starts with giving your-self permission to enjoy life! That might sound silly, but I know the pressures that come with work and life and it’s easy to convince yourself that you just don’t have the time for such frivolous activity.
Thank heavens everyday isn’t my birthday – I’d age way too fast! But wouldn’t it be nice to give yourself the gift of fun much more often?
The truth: the lack of fun is costing you! I challenge you to brainstorm: What activities would be fun for YOU? How can YOU incorporate those activities into your life? How can YOU approach your work or team with a fun-filled mindset?