Now that Labor Day is over, school has started, and fall is on its way—are you already craving a vacation? Including fun and play every day in your life—whether it is alone, with your family, with friends, or even colleagues is a necessity. If you’re not doing little things each day, then how you fix this is by writing it down, and then doing it! Planning a daily mini-staycation everyday can do wonders for your health, your self-esteem, your happiness, and yourrelationships too. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut where we become too bogged down by all the pressure at work and of keeping up our home, and caring for loved ones, that we forget that our bodies need and crave downtime. Creating daily breaks where you relax is not a luxury, even though we sometimes treat it as such. Even with the economy, everyone has time for play. It is inexpensive, keeps you young, and the only thing holding you back is you.
It is not a guilty pleasure to stop what you’re doing and just have fun. The only way to ensure that you have free play time every day is to plan for it. How?
- Go grab your calendar, planner, or cell phone—whatever you use to keep track of your appointments.
- Block out at least two times every day. How long you ask? Start with 15 minute blocks if you’re crunched for time. Some people can go all out & splurge with an hour or two a day. If you’re not convinced yet that you’re worth this amount of time to have fun, then choose a smaller amount of time, and work yourself up to the 1 or 2 hour option.
- During one block of time plan an activity such as:
Running like a kid—key here is to run with abandon, maybe kick a ball around too?
Playing with the dog (or kids)
Tickling the dog (kids or spouse are welcome to join in or be tickled too!)
Sing (in the shower, at the top of your lungs in the woods or in the house)
- During the second block of time—be spontaneous.
If you don’t have kids, borrow them! But do something that makes you laugh.
Dance to a favorite song
Play Barbie if you have them—or do something you loved to do as kid
Recent studies show that even if you feel depressed, or are in a funk—if you can find something that makes you laugh, then your mood will improve. Likewise, if you engage in a physical activity—mood improves as well, because of the hormones and endorphins released in your body.
- Use an accountability partner. If you block out your time, and then find yourself fizzling out on following through (even if it’s only after a day of not taking the time for fun), then grab an accountability partner—such as a spouse, best friend, friend, co-worker, family member, or a coach.
Someone that holds you accountable ensures that a staycation everyday will happen. It takes at least 90 days, and often much more time to change behaviors, and then have them become a habit. You can alleviate future trips to the doctor, to a therapist, and fights if you take the time to nurture the part of you that craves fun, excitement, and joy. It’s not just a mood lifter, your spirit is fulfilled too.