This guest post is from Sarah Papp, a Life Coach in Portland Oregon. Welcome Sarah!
Giving Yourself Permission to Have More Fun in 2016
By Sarah Papp
For many people in the Northwest, the beginning of the year is a time for enjoying fresh powder on the mountain and weekends playing in the snow. But for many others, life feels busy with endless demands, to the point where “having fun” can feel like one more thing on the to-do especially when it’s wet outside. This pattern typically leaves us feeling starved for fun and desperate for time off.
But life doesn’t have to feel like a non-stop sprint with smatterings of fun during occasional breaks. There is a way to live with more fun and enjoyment throughout the year, even during the busiest times. Sometimes what it takes is literally giving yourself permission.
Here are some tools I share with my coaching clients for creating a year with more consistent fun.
1) MAKE YOUR FUN LIST
Many of us make lists of how we want to improve our lives this year (e.g., lose weight, make more money, pay off more debt), but we neglect to make a list of the things we really enjoy and want to experience.
LET’S DO IT:
Grab a piece of paper. At the top, write “It would be really fun to… ” Below that, make 12 bullet points.
Next, brainstorm 12 things that feel fun, enjoyable, or exciting to you. Include simple things, like listening to your favorite music, as well as bigger ideas, like taking a trip overseas. Don’t worry if you can’t think of 12 things right away. You can continue to add over time. If 12 ideas are easy, keep going!
Then write another list titled: “What are all the ways I could…?” Think of ways you could do those 12 fun things, maybe even incorporate one of them into your daily life.
2) DON’T WAIT FOR THE WEEKENDS
I often speak with corporate professionals about how they can add more play into their workdays. One woman mentioned that she loved to draw but that she couldn’t find time for it anymore. Then she recalled that it took ages for her computer to boot up and wondered if she could use that time to draw. She began to start each day with a few minutes of drawing, which quickly became part of her morning routine and creative process. She soon noticed that she started her workdays in a good mood.
There are opportunities for fun all around us, every day, but they’re easy to miss when we’re not paying attention.
LET’S DO IT:
Take a few minutes to jot down what delights you, feels joyful, or makes you laugh. This could be doodling at your desk or listening to comedy during your commute.
How can you add even a tiny amount of one of these into your day? Write one idea.
3) NOTICE YOUR “SHOULDS”
My husband and I recently decided to have my parents watch our toddler for the weekend so we could spend time together. The first night we spent away, which was loads of fun. But when we decided to do a “staycation” for the second night, I noticed I started to feel guilty and thought, “We should go get her because we’re home.”
Noticing your “shoulds” and getting over your guilt isn’t easy, but it’s worth it because it moves you in the direction of feeling more freedom.
LET’S DO IT:
Begin by noticing any thoughts you’re having that include the words “should” or “shouldn’t” that don’t feel good. For example: “I should put in more time at the office” or “I shouldn’t leave the sink full of dishes.”
Ask yourself if the opposite of your “should” feels more like freedom. In my case, I started to think, “We should not pick her up because we’re home” and considered instead all the positive reasons for time at home alone.
Practice giving yourself permission to not feel guilty about what’s left undone. Here’s an example of something I would say to myself or write as a permission slip:
“I am giving myself permission right now to turn off my phone, leave the house untidy, and take my daughter to the park because that’s what really sounds like fun.”
Having fun is vital to our overall wellbeing and a key to creating a fulfilling life. Try one of these steps or practice all three. You don’t have to do them perfectly, but as you practice playing with them, you’ll be well on your way to infusing this year—and your life—with a lot more fun.
Sarah Papp is a Master Certified Martha Beck Life Coach and owner of Sarah Papp Coaching. She specializes in helping the stressed-out, overworked, and overwhelmed slow down and transform their lives to feel rich with joy and freedom. She is a native Oregonian and lives outside of Portland with her husband and daughter. You can connect with Sarah at:firstname.lastname@example.org