MAKE FUN A PRIORITY — NOT A LUXURY

 I learned a few things about having fun while on a recent vacation. The 24/7 life of an entrepreneur is a hard addiction to give up. Here's why having fun is good for business. Read on for more or pin to save.

I’M BAAAACK!

I know you missed me and I sure missed you! (Truth… What I actually felt was guilty for not having it together enough to have a blog to seamlessly allow you to get your fix of me ;-) 

Seriously though, I really struggled through part of my staycation because I wasn’t working. I didn’t like that feeling. When I used to work for other people, I had no problem shutting down and turning off the 24/7. Because work was work and my life was my life. But in the entrepreneurial world, the edges blur big time. There is so much to do, so many different time zones to consider, so much pull to be ‘out there’ giving everyone everything they need.  

It turns out, I am pretty hardass for a boss! Not only did I pile a brand new course onto my already full plate before I went on vacation, I had to write, design, layout, and even record videos for it.  How about you? Do you push yourself that hard in your life? Are you one of those people who can’t sit still, who won’t allow themselves to read a book because there is laundry, dishes, dogs to walk — and reading a book is too selfish?  

VACATIONS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT THE FUN, AREN’T THEY?

Vacations, even staycations, are supposed to be about doing things that give us pleasure. But so many of us view fun as trivial, a waste of time, a lack of seriousness. Seriously? Even on a vacation?  Because it was a staycation, and not a destination vacation, my hubby and I vowed to do something fun on our vacation each day, just so it would feel like a vacation. Even though I worked for part of most of days on my new 20 Questions course (when I said I wasn’t going to), we still managed to have fun. But, still, that lingering feeling that I “should” be working more was there for most of the week. Not having client work for a week I felt I ‘should’ have worked on new courses. I kept ‘shoulding’ all over myself instead of reveling in the glory of days without plans.  

Here’s the thing about always feeling like we have to be working so that we can become successful enough so that someday we can relax — people who achieve great success and make lots of money are the ones who have fun getting there.
Having fun isn’t a diversion from a successful life; it’s the clearly marked path to it.  

 

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVE FUN ALONG THE WAY

As Martha Beck says, “We are most productive, persistent, creative, and flexible when we're engaged in our unique combination of activities that brings us maximum fun. Your particular combination of types of activities isn't a frivolous indulgence. It is the map of your true life, an instruction manual for your essential purpose, written in the language of joy.” In North America we seem to have this belief system that life has to be hard — idle hands are the Devil’s playthings — does little to make us feel okay about actually taking a coffee break, or heaven forbid, a lunch break at work. Nor do the self-righteous looks of the miserable people who work through coffee breaks and eat their lunch at their desks. It’s like it’s a badge of honour to say how many hours above the 40 hour work week we can work.  Our obligations—professional meetings, workout classes, social dates, morning meditations (the list goes on)—do not have to feel so heavy and hard. But they do a lot of the time. Our rigid calendars and planning don’t always leave room for much spontaneity. Nor does our culture, which rewards productivity above all else.

“A critically important component of wholehearted living is play… Play is as essential to our health and functioning as rest (but) spending time doing purposeless activities is rare. In fact, for many of us, it sounds like an anxiety attack waiting to happen.” — Brené Brown, from The Gifts of Imperfection  

 

KIDS LEARN BY HAVING FUN, WHY CAN’T WE?

Have you ever tried to teach a child something without making it fun? Not pretty. Kids who played sports, baked with their mothers, played with dolls, built sandcastles, or spent years playing strategic games, gained instinctive skills to handle real-world situations. So play as you did in childhood, with all-out absorption.  

Play, not work, is the key to successful learning.  

DOING SOMETHING FUN CAN ACTUALLY SOLVE PROBLEMS

Biologically, our bodies release anti-stress hormones which allow us to relax, especially when taking part in activities that require physical energy.  Having a pet, especially a dog, is a license for fun. In fact, it’s sometimes the only way to get to fun. How can you turn down those eyes and that tail wagging away because it’s ‘time’ to have fun?  

When I’m stuck in my writing or feeling stressed, I slip on my walking shoes, collar up Lulu and we go for a walk. Within minutes the rhythm of putting one foot in front of the other, deeply breathing the fresh air, and watching my girl chase squirrels, puts my problems in perspective. When I go back to my desk, the words begin to flow.  

 

SO HOW DID I DO ON MY STAYCATION FUN-O-METER?

Not everything fun has to be an activity, but even if it’s watching your dog play with a puppy, like I did, being present is what counts.

I had fun everyday, doing everything from drinking shots in teeny-tiny cups, to walking on the beach, making my own cinnamon buns and cinnamon rolls, to having a pizza barbecue night with a friend and having ice cream at our favourite spot. Oh! And we watched the Perseid Meteor Shower until we couldn’t stay awake!  Not bad for a staycation!
 

IDEAS FOR FUN

Having fun doesn’t have to be expensive, nor time consuming. It’s really about allowing your innerchild to come out to play. Here are a bunch of suggestions for you. As you read this list, if you find yourself smiling at the thought of it, that’s your inner child saying, “Oh yes, can we pleeeeze so this?!” And you know what happens when a child doesn’t get her way...

  • Try a new workout
  • Phone a friend and laugh over old times
  • Swing on a swingset
  • Jump in mud puddles instead of walking around them
  • Turn your speakers on to a favourite song and DANCE  
  • Do something creative
  • FaceTime a friend
  • Book tickets for something you’ve been meaning to go to
  • Go "shopping’ to try on clothes, without buying
  • See how many grapes you can fit in your mouth (do a challenge with someone)
  • Walk into a movie theater and buy a ticket to the show that starts the soonest (whether it interests you or not)
  • Wear something inside-out and wait to see how long it takes someone to tell you (I’m suggesting this because 4 hours later, I just discovered I’m wearing my top inside-out!)
WHAT’S YOUR UNIQUE BRAND OF FUN?
KATHY MERCURE, STORYHEALER

kathy mercure is a writer and a storyteller, who helps seekers to tell their stories. She is also known as a storyhealer and a storylistener, whose life’s work is to gently draw stories from her students and help them unblock their writing, find their voice, and heal their lives. Her passion is to support women and men in realizing their true identity as a valued human being, claiming their passions, and speaking their truth as they become their most authentic selves. (Photo by EagleSpirit Soul Shots)