Life has thrown us a serious curve ball with the Covid-19 Crisis. What a way to start a new decade – being confined to our homes and sporting the new look of face masks when we venture out. It is not the life we thought we would be living in 2020.
Finding ways to play and laugh together is now more important than ever. Rather than fighting the fear and uncertainty, allow yourself to shift your perspective and see the extended time with your family as an unexpected gift.
Give yourself the freedom to have fun and enjoy life.
(This post was written “before” the crisis, but hopefully, it will be especially useful to you now.)
Stop and Smell the Roses
When people reach the end of their lives, they do not say, “I wish I had worked harder and spent less time with my family.” That is not what life is all about, or I should say, that is not what life is supposed to be about. They usually say they wish they had spent more time with their families and had more fun.
Life is supposed to be a joyful adventure. Yes, work is part of it, but only part. Embracing each day with excited anticipation, loving others, having fun with friends and family, laughing a lot, and exploring the world and all the beauty it offers should be a much bigger part of it.
When was the last time you really had fun – or the last time you laughed until your stomach hurt? How long has it been since you saw or experienced something so beautiful you cried?
These are experiences that everyone should have, not only children. Having fun anchors the rest of your life and makes everything worth it.
Stop Worrying About What Others Think
It you are always worried about what others will think, it will be difficult to have fun. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying you must participate in questionable activities to have a good time. I am saying that if you are always worried about others’ opinions, you will hide your real self from the world. You may hold back your laughter, you may be afraid to speak, be hesitant to participate, try to make yourself invisible, and frankly not a lot of fun to be around.
My comments above were not meant to be cruel. I have been there. In fact, I could have been describing myself. The point is that it is difficult for some people to be themselves. But, when you hide your real self, it is impossible to really have fun.
If you find yourself hiding in plain sight (not being yourself), it is time to let go of self-doubt. Forget about the others and what they may think. Start having a good time. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel.
Fun Doesn’t Always Costs Money
In our crazy world, some think the only way to have fun is to spend money. But that’s not true. You can have plenty of fun without spending a dime.
Some ideas to try: Gather the family or a group of friends and play games or cards; take a long leisurely walk in the park, by the lake, or by the ocean (this can be solo or with others); play Frisbee or catch; read a book with a friend or a child; make caramel corn, popcorn, hot chocolate or candy – and watch a romantic comedy. If you live near a lake, the ocean, or in snow country, the list of free fun things to do is even longer.
I grew up in a small town without TV. The only technology we had was the radio. Some of my best memories are evenings spent playing games or making candy.
Use your imagination and have some wonderful adventures without spending a lot of money.
Even though there is a section in one of my posts about scheduling everything, the reality is that everything does not have to be scheduled. Plans are good; but, when it comes to having fun, spontaneity is amazing. Keep that inner-child in you alive so you can have fun at the drop of a hat – anyplace – any time. All it takes is the right frame of mind.
It’s O.K. not to be serious all the time. There are always opportunities to let your fun side shine through in appropriate ways.
Be upbeat and pleasant; tell a joke, make a pun, give someone an unexpected hug, blow someone a kiss, get up and dance, sing along with your favorite song. It may be only a moment in time, but an important one – and the more of them you have, the better. Life should be fun!
Enjoy Life’s Imperfections
Sometimes plans for a family outing or vacation can bring disappointment if you expect everything to be perfect, which it rarely is.
A family trip to Disney World will be a great memory for your kids, but let it be a great memory for you too. Forget about work and how much the trip is costing. Let go of the fact that tired kids will cry, whine, and complain, even at Disney.
Learn to let those moments go and focus only on the happy, joyful time with your children. Take lots of pictures and keep a journal of those sweet moments that are too easily forgotten. Capture the fun for everyone to recall in years to come.
Fun Does Not Have to Be Spectacular
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that things must be “over the top” to be fun. Real fun doesn’t have to be wild and crazy. Natural, easy-going, feel-good events and interactions are the best. Those sweet, quiet moments if life can be among the most wonderful fun times to be had. When you try too hard to make things bigger and better, it takes away some of the fun.
Schedule Date Nights
If you are in a long-term relationship with a significant other, keep it fresh and lovely by setting aside time just for the two of you. Plan at least one night a month for the two of you that will not be interrupted by anyone or anything.
You can do something as simple as a picnic in your backyard or snuggling on your living room couch with a glass of wine and soft music. Or – you can dress up and go out for a night-on-the-town. The point is to be alone, together and enjoy the quiet intimacy of being close to each other with no distractions.
Plan Family Game Nights
This is a tradition that every family should enjoy. Spend time – one night a week – as a family having fun! Get out the board games like Sorry or Scrabble; buy a new deck (or two) of cards and teach your kids how to play WAR or HEARTS. Enjoy the bonding and laughter than comes when you play games with your kids. (No electronics allowed!)
Monday night is often a good choice – especially if you have teenagers. Don’t make Friday or Saturday game night. Plan on a couple of hours after dinner. Let family members take turns picking the games and making the treats.
Check out this link for a great list of games you can play such as Spades, War, Spoons, Pictionary, Charades, etc.
Make Family Time Fun, Active Time
Shared enjoyment as a family helps reduce stress all around. There are so many fun, active experiences you can enjoy together.
A day boogie boarding at the ocean, paddle boarding at the lake or having a hula hoop contest in the back yard is more memorable and fun than always sitting in front of TV or in a movie theater.
Sure, there is a time and place for sitting around and cuddling, but the more you move, the more you will want to cuddle – so enjoy both.
Be less serious. Find ways to laugh more. Laughing is not only wonderful exercise, it boosts endorphins and makes you feel good. The more you can laugh, the more fun you will have doing even “boring” things.
Leave all the electronics at home. Start the day with a leisurely walk in the park, have a picnic for lunch, and end the day with a family activity. Check out this link for some fun activities – some old, some new. (My suggestion is to focus on the activities other than electronic games. They are more personal and interactive.)
The important thing is to make fun a priority in your life and you will be healthier and happier. Each day can be amazing – filled with lovely memories.
Surround Yourself with the Color Blue
One last thought to hep you reduce stress in your life. In a recent study 98 college students were asked about the associations they have with various colors.
Blue had the highest number of positive emotional responses, such as feelings of calmness, happiness, peace, hope, and comfort and a surprisingly low number of negative responses, like sadness and depression. The study supported the long-held belief the cool hues of the color blue psychologically impact people very positively.
So . . . before we say goodbye for today, my closing words of wisdom are, “Soak up the blue,” whenever you have the chance.
My office and master bedroom are both painted blue and I love being in those rooms. You don’t have to go to that extreme, but you can find wonderful “blues” in nature – the sky and the ocean come quickly to mind.
Talk a walk, breathe in the fresh air, and relax in the sunshine surrounded by a beautiful, clear blue sky before you go back to the 1,001 things that must be done! Those things will still be there when you get back.
Enjoy every day of your life – even in a time of crisis! See you next time.