Stress Management: Fun

“All I want to do is have some fun. I’ve got the feeling I’m not the only one.”

These lyrics singer Sheryl Crowe a Grammy 10 years ago. They still speak to us today. I’ve got the feeling her lyrics have tapped into a longing experienced by most of us.v

In our complicated, fast paced, overworked and overscheduled society, when was the last time you had some fun?

According to Stephen Glynn, author of “Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World,” the average American
family spends only 141/2 minutes a day together.

Twelve of those minutes are spent disciplining, correcting or planning how to get through the next day – which leaves about
2 minutes for all the other things families are supposed to do.

The average couple shares only 20 minutes a day according to The Family
Therapy Networker, published by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Where did this all come from? I was in graduate school when I reluctantly bought my first appointment book. Now it’s not unusual to see some of the adolescents I work with carrying their own schedule planners.

Here’s a way to have fun again

Here’s an exercise that can provide a quick check on your stress level, when the last time was that you had some fun and then what to do about it.

Take a sheet of paper and list all the activities you can think of that you do for fun. These can be things you’ve done recently or a long time ago, or just things you
would like to do and haven’t yet.

Be sure to include both small things such as reading a book, and large things such as taking a vacation.

After you have created your list, look it over. Next to what you have done today, put a D, this week, a W, this month an M. For things you’ve only done in the last three months, put a 3, in the last six months, a 6, and only in the last year, a 1. For things you have never done put an N. Leave everything else blank.

Now look over your list. What does it tell you about the amount of fun in your life? If you are like most of us, you are light on Ds Ws and Ms and heavy on the 3s, 6s and 1s.

So what do you do?

You don’t have to quit your job or fly to Tahiti to balance things out. A simpler approach would be to just pick one item from your fun list and commit to doing that activity in the coming week. Pick one more the next week, another the next week and so on.

In this way, you get 100-percent improvement each week. How’s that for progress?

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