HOW TO HAVE FUN
Why do we need an instruction article on how to have fun in midlife? Well, as recent podcasts by Glennon Doyle and Martha Beck have pointed to, as a gender, we are pretty unskilled at having fun for fun’s sake. Not only do we need instruction to relearn how to have fun, our health depends on our ability to do so.
I am releasing this episode in the middle of women’s health month. Expert after expert points to less stress as a priority for women and our health as we age. The more stressed we are, the more illnesses we will have. When we are stressed, our relationships are more disconnected. The more stressed we are, the less our kids want to be around us. Furthermore, the more stressed we are, the greater our chance of developing Alzheimer’s, heart disease, auto immune disorders, and cancer diagnoses. How to have fun is a crucial part of how to age well.
Why is it hard to have fun?
As women we have been trained to look externally for approval. In addition, we’ve been programmed to care for others’ needs before our own. This sets us up to reach midlife and realize we’ve been spending our days doing a lot of tasks for approval. It can also lead us to waking up in midlife having lost track of what it is we even enjoy doing. We’ve gotten so used to doing things others think of as fun. I know this was me! I knew what my kids did for fun and I knew what my husband liked to do for fun but did I know what I liked to do? NOPE! Time to start!
How to Have Fun
Step one: Make a Fun List!
Start brainstorming fun. Get a pad of paper out and start writing down things you do for fun. Here are some questions I ask myself as I relearn how to have fun for fun’s sake:
- What are you doing when you lose track of time?
- When is the last time you laughed? What were you doing?
- What do you enjoy doing on vacation?
- If you had a morning (afternoon/evening) to yourself, how would you spend it?
- What would you do for work or contribution if you could wave a magic wand and have the training to do anything?
- Think of your ideal weekday: what’s it like?
- What would your ideal weekend be like?
- Think of your job: what do you enjoy it?
- What do you enjoy doing with your kids or your significant other?
Many of us are able to ask for what we want on our birthday or on mother’s day. That’s definitely a start yet spending 24-hours a year meeting your needs is not a recipe for moving into midlife and beyond in health. (Spoile alert: it’s also a great recipe for feeling pissy and burnt out). Start your list. Let’s start normalizing fun!
Step Two: Schedule it in!
Keep that pen out! As a coach I know it’s not enough to know what we need to do. That equates to a list of fun things in our bedside table. It’s not enough to have a list lying around the house of what you could do for fun on the off chance starts align. It’s about taking responsibility for your life for your life. We get to take responsibility for our happiness by adding little moments of joy into our calendar. Deliberate planning. This may feel uncomfortable. That’s fine. Growth is always on the other side of discomfort. Start small but start.
- Is there a show you want to watch? Watch it.
- Do you like music? Play it.
- Is there a type of puzzle you like doing? Get one.
- Put pen to paper and schedule some fun. In your everyday life
Do it for you or Do it for Them
I couldn’t start prioritizing fun until I saw the effect the life I was living was having on my kids. When I get quiet and ask myself what I want for my kids, it’s some version of contentment and happiness in adult life. Was that what I was modeling? Heck no. How about you? What are you modeling for your kids or the other members of the younger generation? Are you glorifying busy? Victimhood? Martyrdom? I did it all. Any day is a good day to start modeling something different. Get out your pen and paper and move through these first steps.
Psst: if you haven’t taken my Finding Joy in Everyday Life program yet, why not? How about you choose to stop repeating the same day, month, year over and over and let me help you with the years of research I have. I have studied happiness. I know how to fast track your journey. Instead of thinking you can do it all on your own, sign up and be remarkably different by the time halloween rolls around. Yes it’s true. THIS Halloween! Make it happen warrior.
Life is short. I got into the business I’m in when my dear friend died in her 30s and I realized, there were no guarantees. No waiting until some day. The time is now. I help women everyday so they don’t get to the end of their life with regrets. I help women feel more comfortable learning about what lights them up and then asking for it. Please stop putting off your life and happiness for a future date. You matter to me.
Program and alll links mentioned are in the show notes at www.smbwell.com/159