Self care is a popular topic of conversation in my social and professional circles. People engage one another around what sorts of things ground them, share articles and other resources about mindfulness and meditation, and post inspirational quotes as both personal reminders and communal encouragements.
This is cool and incredibly necessary but in doing some reflection on the concept of self care I realized that most, if not all, of the conversations I was following were failing to mention something I think is essential in life. They all excluded mention of fun.
My thoughts then turned inward and I had to ask myself if I was making room in my life for fun.
The answer is no, not really. At least not enough.
Sure, I do things that help me shake off stress and I’d even say that I manage to do things that I enjoy. But when I paused and reflected on my life, I realized that I’m missing the playful sort of amusement that helps give fun its definition.
I get how I got to this place. I think the experts call it being an adult lol.
So many of us have to navigate the challenges that come with working or hustling to survive, complex personal and family drama, trying to figure out what it means to find friends and form community that reflects our values as we grow and change, dealing with an endless cycle of bills and expenses related to aforementioned survival…and ALL of that happens alongside us holding the realities we face in the world because of the identity markers that define our personhoods.
Everyone’s adulting journey looks different but I think fun, whimsy, and play are things that a lot of us are missing and need to find a way to take hold of in order to be well. Life can be so hard and if we can’t find ways to break up the heaviness and make room for joy or merriment in our worlds, there’s literally only so long we can make it.
(Seriously, there’s TONS of science that points to the link between stress, trauma, and illness.)
Part of my personal sustainability and wellness moving forward has to involve intentionality around having fun. My 30-something, workaholic, cerebral, empathic behind has *got* to prioritize engaging the things that conjure easy laughs and smiles because…well, because I deserve to be happy and to have pockets of time where I can press pause on being so pensive and serious about everything.
I’m realizing that having fun is a form of self care (and a form of resistance but that’s a post for another day). It’s as important as any other thing we engage or utilize to live out full, meaningful, healthy lives.
I know that for me, on top of holding a lot of responsibilities in hand, I’m a thinker-grinder type so carving out time for fun will be no easy feat. But I can see that I owe it to myself to rediscover the sense of play that adulting encouraged me to leave behind.
Perhaps, Friends, you owe it to yourselves to do the same.
QTNA: What sorts of things are fun for you? Are you carving out space and time to do them?