“I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.” – Thomas Edison
The greatest inventor of all time certainly knew how to keep things in perspective, didn’t he? While you may not have the inventive capability of Mr. Edison, you can certainly make a conscious effort to have fun and enjoy your life.
Most of us live a busy life and you are probably no different. Between family, work, and sleep, you may have a maximum eight hours of “free time,” the majority of which is probably used up in general, everyday tasks.
Relaxation and having some fun is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Your mind and body need rejuvenation for you to be both healthy and productive. We call this stress release.
Here are 7 ways to help create some fun in your busy life.
1. Leave work at work
This is a big one because when you take your work home your time is no longer your time. The stressors of the day continue when you should be enjoying something else– having dinner with family, catching up with your kids, having some quiet time, or whatever else you enjoy.
In the article “4 Ways to Leave Work at Work,” Psychology Today’s Margarita Tartakovsky provides some recommendations for those having trouble with leaving work at work. Among them, she recommends consciously releasing your nagging thoughts through a short, meditative practice.
To release any thoughts left over from work, close your eyes for one minute and breathe mindfully. Notice any negative thoughts as they arise and let them go with each exhale. Continue to focus on your breath and conclude the practice by slowly opening your eyes and gradually moving your body.
2. Be in the present moment.
Being present is applicable to nearly every area of our life and this includes your fun time.
It is not necessary to multitask and “keep busy” all of the time. Doing so simply adds to your stress and makes enjoying yourself more difficult. Forget catching up on emails, sending text messages, or checking the news when you’re doing something on your own time.
Instead, take the time to be present and enjoy whatever it is that you are doing. You’ll realize two things: whatever it is you’re doing is more enjoyable and there is significantly less stress in your mind and body.
3. Schedule time for R&R.
Just as your schedule conference calls and deadlines, schedule some time for fun.
A new movie coming out that want to see? Schedule it. Need some fun time alone with one of your kids? Schedule it. Just as importantly, stick with your fun schedule and treat it as you would a meeting with your boss. If it’s important to you, it’s important enough.
4. Give yourself some time each morning.
It’s true that how you approach the morning sets the tone for the entire day. Set aside 15 to 30 minutes for something that helps you transition into your day – just make sure that whatever you do is not work-related.
For this morning routine, do something enjoyable that would really provide a boost. This could be: reading something inspirational, meditation, exercise, a cup of coffee or tea with the morning paper… just do something that brings you joy. You’ll find your mood is more pleasant and productive as you start tackling the items on your “to-do” list.
5. Make fun time non-negotiable while realizing its importance.
As you schedule a time for some fun, certain things may come up that demand your attention. The simple rule that you should stick with is: if whatever comes up is not urgent, it can wait. Remember, this time is a necessity for your overall wellbeing. Your mental and physical health is not something that you should take lightly or allow someone else to either.
According to Scientific American, an overwhelming number of studies have shown that downtime increases concentration, expands attention, encourages creativity, and strengthens memory. Within the study, performing a relaxing, fun activity for just 10 minutes can increase your brain capacity and reduce physical stress.
Pretty convincing…and all the more reason to stick with this scheduled time.
6. Enjoy life’s simple pleasures.
“It’s the simple things in life.” How many times have you heard this? It is and will forever remain a true statement.
The problem is that we are overstimulated and inundated with information from everywhere… our brains are on overdrive for much of the workday… in short – our busy lives can make it difficult to realize and enjoy the simple things in life.
However, taking even a minute to mindfully appreciate simple pleasures in your life can make an amazing difference. More exciting, these simple pleasures can be found everywhere and at nearly anytime.
Here are some ideas – your morning cup of coffee, breakfast with your kids, listening to music, a good meal, the sunset, a quiet place in the park, a day in the snow or the sunshine, a brief chat with someone new…many, many things can be considered a simple pleasure and enjoyed.
7. Put one or more ideas on this list into practice right now.
Enjoying your life is so important, yet we have a tendency to treat it like enjoyment is a luxury – it’s not.
Your time is a precious thing that once gone can never be taken back. Take this time when you’d normally be reading the 7th item on some list to really contemplate how important it is to enjoy yourself while making a commitment to put one or more of these suggestions into practice.
Your turn: Do you have a suggestion for how to fit fun into your busy life? Please share with us!