If someone asked you, “What do you do to have fun?” would you respond with a blank stare?
That’s understandable. You’ve been busy taking care of your patients by working extra hours to give them vaccines. You’re helping your family. You’re worried about the state of things. All of these activities have left you with little time or energy to think about having a good time.
Having fun is right up there with a good sleep in its ability to energize you, improve your outlook on life, restore your sense of purpose.
Let’s go on a little scavenger hunt to find what’s fun for you. Fun is highly subjective. What one person finds enjoyable, another might find dreadful. This is about what you find enjoyable, so you must look within. Try not to copy someone else’s idea of what a good time is.
Think back to a time when things were going well. You were happy most days. You were comfortable in your own skin. Chances are during that time you were eating well, sleeping well, and having some fun. For example, maybe when your kids were in high school, you coached your kids in speech and debate. Even though your kids have grown up, is there some way to reclaim that joy? If you really like words, then invite the kids over to read some poems or do some other word related activity. If the best part was seeing them build their confidence, then find something they are struggling with and coach them through that.
Look Around Your House
Start with the bookshelf, if you have one. Here you may find evidence of a hobby you once loved. Is there a great novel on that shelf? I recently discovered my long lost love of reading, so I downloaded some new novels. One Sunday morning, I got up before anyone else and spent three whole hours in my dark quiet home reading and sipping coffee. It was bliss. I was still feeling those endorphins several days later.
Look on the walls. Is there any of your work on the walls? Maybe you took a photography class in college. You could spend some time taking pictures – just you, your phone, and the woods. You don’t have to do anything with those images, but I encourage you to have a few printed out and framed as a reminder. Maybe you painted those walls and decorated that room. If creating a beautiful space is fun for you, find a way to spend time doing that. Even if rooms don’t need an entire makeover, they could use a little change. Rearrange some furniture, change out a rug, swap out some lamps or wall hangings.
If you have a box of old photographs, go through those. There are sure to be some memories there that could inspire you. Maybe there are some pictures of you and your friends in college. I enjoyed the parties like most kids that age, but I also enjoyed the learning. My friends and I would study together for hours. If you love learning, then you literally have a world of opportunity at your fingertips. Take an online class. Join one of those meet-up groups. Start your own group.
Ask Your Family
Call your parents and ask them what you liked to do as a kid for fun. Your dad might say, “You and your brother would play basketball in the driveway until eleven o’clock at night!” Even if you don’t have a basketball hoop in your driveway today, you can call your brother and get together somewhere else to shoot hoops. Maybe those late nights in your childhood driveway was more about hanging out with your brother and talking about things. Go do that.
Text your siblings and ask them to recall their favorite childhood memories. My brother said that he remembers going down to the crick and catching crawfish. I remember that too but nothing about it sounds like fun today. What does sound like fun is spending time doing something with no agenda. As kids, when you went out with your friends to have a good time, there was no plan. Just having no plan for a few hours may sound like fun!
Ask your kids about their favorite memories. There’s a treasure trove there for sure. Maybe you can recreate some of those with a game night. Apples to Apples, anyone? My kids remember family dinners especially “Mexican Night” so last month we did the whole thing- fajitas, refried beans, and guacamole. We all had a great time planning for and preparing that dinner.
Asking your family these questions will be fun in and of itself because everyone loves remembering the good times and sharing a laugh.
I once got a cookbook as a gift from a pharmacy friend and on the attached card she had written, “I hope you find some fun in your kitchen.” I had forgotten that I loved to cook. I really enjoyed creating good food. That cookbook was the best gift not because of the great recipes but because it was a reminder of something I’d lost. Over the years this book has served as a reminder for me to keep the fun not only in my kitchen but in my life.
Let yourself have some fun. You’ll get a boost of endorphins- those feel-good chemicals that your inner pharmacy dispenses when you’re enjoying yourself. Recreation is a big part of self-care. You need to give your mind a reprieve from the worry. Your body needs a rest from the tension. Having fun is good for your soul. If you’re feeling hopeless, irritable, and like something is missing perhaps this fun is the medicine you need.