Its probably been a while since we all had some really good fun, and with the current situation some might feel fun is still a long way away. At some point we have to learn to live with this virus and get on with our lives whilst taking appropriate precautions, but that shouldn’t mean we can start to get back out there and enjoy ourselves.
Science journalist Catherine Price did some research with a focus group of 1,500 participants worldwide to explore their definitions of fun. She found that defining “true fun” as any time, however short, when three elements combine: playfulness, connection with other people and flow, a state of being so actively engaged in the present experience that you lose track of time.
Having fun has both mental and physical benefits. When we’re stressed we produce more cortisol which makes our heart beat faster and blood pressure and blood sugar levels increase. Fun is the antidote as it can energise and relax, you don’t feel anxious when you have fun. Price offered five ways to enjoy more fun:
- Lose yourself in the moment – being fully engaged and present, free from self-criticism and judgement. It’s the thrill of losing ourselves in whatever we’re doing and not caring about the outcome. It’s laughing, playing, euphoric connection, rebellion and the bliss that comes from letting go. Price suggested starting a fun time journal to acknowledge the fun that already exists in our lives, not only focussing on the major moments but appreciating the smaller moment of fun that pop up unexpectedly every day. It could be as simple as a smile or a compliment. We need to notice and value those moments too.
- Find your fun magnets – Price suggested reflecting on three experiences that you could describe as having true fun when you felt completely present, engages and alive, where time stood still but flew by and when you were so energised. Focus on where fun was the dominant descriptor then try to put yourself back there, in the moment, and fully immerse yourself in reimagining the sights and sounds, the smells and the feelings you felt in your mind and body. What was it in particular that made it feel fun? Then, look forward and describe something that you’d love to do in the future, what is it you’d enjoy most about it? Look at the fun themes, the activities and people that most often generate fun for you.
- Edit your free time – We can all claim to be very busy and not have time for fun, but having fun doesn’t mean adding more things to your already packed diary. It requires us to create space by doing fewer things, so that we can spend time in a more targeted way. You may already do an activity that once upon a time felt like fun, but no longer holds that feeling for you. Notice this and choose to spend your time differently, on an activity that does bring you joy, don’t waste your time on activities that don’t excite you. Watch out for “fake fun”, activities that are marketed to us as fun but are a meaningless waste of time, like binge-watching tv, buying things we don’t need, or scrolling for hours on end through social media.
- Pursue your passions – when we’re obsessed with productivity we can end up with no hobbies, anxiety and depression can leave us drained and tired, with little energy for anything else. Price suggested setting yourself fifteen minutes to answer the following questions, noting everything that comes to mind:
- When I was a child, I enjoyed…
- I’m curious about …
- Things I used to do with my free time but don’t any more…
- Things I always say I want to do or learn but supposedly, don’t have time for …
- I feel alive when I…
Keep going until the timer runs out. Once you have your initial list, try one and ask yourself whether you enjoyed it, was your curiosity piqued, would you do it again. If you didn’t enjoy it give yourself permission to stop.
5. Plan ahead – this might seem a bit counterintuitive, you can’t say “I’m going to have fun on Friday between 7-9pm”, it just doesn’t work like that. However, now you have identified your fun magnets you can use these to help generate fun and factor it in accordingly. Once you’ve set aside time for fun, you’ll remember how good it feels.
I’ve said before that I don’t really know what fun is anymore, but I might just use the questions above to try to rediscover some of it.
How about you?
One thought on “Get back out there and have some fun”
Same as you. Maybe the pandemic has altered things and I agree that we need to try to learn to live with it. I know experiences that I enjoy but not sure what I find fun anymore 😌