Fun and Play and You. Yes, You.
When was the last time you had fun? No really, think about it: the last time you truly had fun. You weren’t stressed or worried, but you were fully engaged in something that you enjoyed, maybe even oblivious of time passing, voluntarily acting out something because of the pleasure it brings you, regardless of the outcome. When was the last time you played?
Play is important. Having fun is important. And if you’re not having it – if you’re not giving yourself recess – you might be costing yourself your mental health. More and more research is showing that adults as much as children benefit from play. It’s an important part of reducing stress and your overall well-being.
“Adults don’t play,” you’re telling me through your computer screen. You’re so wrong (Which makes me right. Someone please tell my husband). Play can be just about anything that distracts you and brings you enjoyment. Need some ideas? I did the work for you:
Adult coloring books. They’re all the rage now, so I’m sure you’ve seen them in the stores. I’ve seen them everywhere from Goodwill to the grocery store. You can spend less than $1 to over $20. It’s up to you. This is actually one of my favorite things to do, and I have a collection of both books and colored pencils to keep me busy for hours. I’ll color until my body is stiff when I have the time. There are even YouTube videos if you’re ready to sharpen your pencil techniques (that’s a pun…get it?), which is super satisfying.
Play-doh. This one’s a little unusual, but Play-doh is cheap and so much fun. I remember playing with my kids when they were small and being frustrated that I couldn’t just create to my heart’s content. Now that they’re older, maybe they’d sit with me and we could create, destroy, and create again. Or maybe I could play alone and my Play-doh wouldn’t be left to dry out. Kids. Am I right?
Games. Got friends? Games are so much fun. Everyone owns a deck of cards. There are fun games to play with two people, three people, four, or more. Or you could just play solitaire. That’s fun too, even if you have to cheat to win. Go ahead. No one’s looking.
Dance like no one is watching. We’ve talked before about faking it until you make it. Even if you fake a smile, you increase your “feel goods.” The same goes for dancing. Even if you don’t feel like it, dance. Dance in the kitchen. Dance in the living room. Dance in the car (But only at lights. Safety first.). Dance to your own music, or listen to something with a sick beat. But a warning: be careful. You might have fun.
Make a play date. For real. Call a friend. Call your sister. Call your mom. Make a date to do something fun. Go for a winter walk on a local trail. It’s free, the fresh air is invigorating, and you’ll get some exercise. Work on a puzzle together – remember those? They’re fun. Play dominoes. Play Uno. Just play.