There are seasons where life seems to get the better of us. We are pushed to the max, pushed beyond our limits to the point where time has flown by and we don’t know what happened to last week.
Summer often does go by like that for me, especially last summer with my Mom’s heart surgery and recovery. I had plans! I was going to go camping at least once a month, pull out my camera more, and take the time to enjoy summer evenings outside. That all changed of course, and that’s okay. I was where I was supposed to be and even got to see my big sis and get quality one-on-one time with her, more than we’ve had in a long, long time.
This summer, I want to do things differently. Be more intentional about my plans. I don’t want to look back on another spring and summer and wonder where it went.
It’s not going to be easy, this summer has its own set of challenges ahead. But I have a choice. Option #1: Go for it and make my plans but just be willing to adjust and adapt as things change. Option #2: I can just hope for the best but probably end up wondering what happened again.
I’m choosing the first option.
Why You and I Should Make Time For Fun
Well, for one thing, fun is fun and laughter is the best medicine.
As we grow older, we tend to lose our playful side. The joy we had of running outside all afternoon, playing tag, or digging in the sand at the beach are probably not at the top of our lists anymore. It’s kind of sad in a way.
That sense of play and fun is something I would like to rediscover again.
The Benefits Of Fun:
1) It’s Stress Relieving
I’m always hearing the wise advice to rest, to find ways to reduce stress, I even talk about it here on the blog. What I get frustrated with is that in all that advice, it is rare to find concrete ideas on exactly how to do that beyond get more sleep and remove toxic relationships… that only gets you so far and not always realistic.
There are some areas of stress that are not going away anytime soon so I need to find other ways to reduce stress and making time for fun and play is a great place to start.
2) Improve Relationships
Having fun with family and friends is one of the best ways I know of to create lasting memories. Memories to cherish and share. Memories that build bridges and maybe even mend fences sometimes. It’s hard to be mad at someone for long when you are having an adventure, laughing and enjoying yourselves.
3) Improves the Brain
There is this lovely neurotransmitter called Serotonin that when released in the body helps promote a feeling of relaxation and well-being. It helps clear your mind and helps put you in a more relaxed state of mind.
Additional Info on the Benefits of Play:
- Michael Hyatt: 3 Reasons To Keep Your Laptop Closed This Weekend
- Stuart Brown TED Talk: Play is more than just fun
Here Are A Few Ways To Get Fun On Your Calendar
1) Have a picnic:
Head to the backyard or a favorite park for the afternoon with some chairs, blankets, frisbees, a ball and glove, and of course some great food.
2) Game Night:
I’m not much of a sit around and small-talk person, I actually go a bit nuts. Playing a game, having an activity along with talking and sharing works sooooooo much better for me. I’m more relaxed. Well at least as long as the game is NOT charades.
3) Get Outdoors:
Go for a walk or a hike. Again the activity thing is huge in my world. But, getting outside and moving is great for reducing stress and increasing Serotonin. Fresh air, family, and friends is an awesome (fun) combination.
4) Create Something:
It doesn’t matter what it is, woodworking, cooking, baking, gardening, writing a letter, knitting, crocheting… the act of creating something you enjoy is fun. It helps you be present and in the moment, fully engaged in what you are doing. It’s also incredibly satisfying to see a project through from start to finish.
Be Purposeful & Get It On Your Calendar
None of these ideas will happen just by thinking about it. It will require purposeful, intentional planning. So make a list of at least 3-4 ideas and get one on your calendar today. I think a game night is going to be my first pick!
What will be at the top of your list of fun ideas?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.