Fun and play seem to fall away as we grow into adulthood. Our schedules are packed with responsibilities that weren’t there when we were younger. Many of these responsibilities bring us joy and a sense of accomplishment but for me, it can feel like I judge the worth of my day by counting how many of the boxes on my daily to-do list get checked off.
The thing is, no matter how hard I try, that list shows up again the next day. I wonder every morning “where are all the check marks that I filled in yesterday?!” It’s like climbing a mountain and just when I am about to get to the top, another mountain appears. This mountain has a name. It’s Mount Adrenal Fatigue.
Remember when we were kids and did something because it was fun and nothing more? We didn’t get a raise for flinging snow balls at each other. Our house didn’t get clean by playing tag in the backyard. We didn’t get any check marks for drawing hand turkeys while sprawled on the kitchen floor. The point being, I was not always doing a task to get to the outcome. I was doing things that I wanted to do because I enjoyed them.
As humans, we can fall into the trap of thinking that the harder and more complicated something is, the more value there is in it. This is where fun gets a bad rap. What’s hard and complicated about fun and play? Nothing. What do we get out of having some fun? Lots.
When we are on the treadmill of checking off boxes we are actually pushing through life. This is exhausting. Over time this push can lead to burn out, depression, anxiety, and resentfulness.
Letting ourselves have the space for fun acts like a restart to our stressed system. Joy, play, and spontaneity actually energetically nourish our cells and whole being. When we have fun, we feel happier and less stressed.
When we are nourished in this way, we breathe deeper, we have more patience, and we are able to feel more than just adrenaline. When we are not in constant push mode (which keeps us from feeling our emotions) there is movement. This movement makes space energetically in our system that creates space for emotions such as happiness to emerge.
Remember how happy you felt as a kid while drawing with Jumbo Chalk on your driveway? What was the feeling you had while chasing fireflies with your cousins?
We do not have to do the same activities as adults that we did as kids to feel less stressed, happy and nourished. The key is to find an activity that you love for no other reason than you love it and it brings you joy.
I know a guy who found this joy on his motorcycle. He refers to his bike as “road aspirin”. Another woman finds this joy while blaring her favorite music. Someone else I know loves skateboarding. For me it’s swimming in the ocean. I can’t get there every day (yet!) but I find my fun through dance, singing (in the car and shower), nature, and playing with my niece.
When you return to your to-do list in this nourished state you may be pleasantly surprised at how you move through the tasks with more ease. Hard work is important to reach your goals but so is finding balance. Fun and play bring us this balance. I believe fun is something many successful people have incorporated into their life for this reason. It gives them longevity and feeds their creativity.
Have you ever been dealing with a problem that you just can’t find an answer to until you stop trying to figure it out? Fun allows our creative energies to move up to the surface. This is when a solution easily presents itself out of “nowhere”. It did so because you broke up the energetic momentum behind following the same loop repeatedly in your mind.
When you find what brings you fun, don’t wait until all your work is done to allow yourself to have it. More often than not, we have this idea that at some point all our work and tasks will be done. Only then, will we allow ourselves some fun. I hate to doubt this idea but so far, I haven’t found it to be true. There is always something more “to do”. And, actually it’s ok. Just try to balance out it out by drawing some hand turkeys or playing with your pup!
What brings fun into your life?