Have a Picnic, not a Panic

Develop your own style, embrace your quirks and laugh at the people around you who stress out trying to be perfect. They (not you) are missing out on the fun of life.”

Have more fun. It sounds so reckless. So childish. So irresponsible.

But what if having fun is actually an essential part of a balanced life? Counselors and life coaches report that building “fun” time into your schedule is one of the best anecdotes for stress, depression and burnout.

If you want to have more fun in your life, but aren’t exactly sure where to start, try the tips below.

Leave the office at the office.
In today’s uncertain economy, it’s easy to let financial uncertainty or job stress take over your life. Be intentional about enjoying the non-work part of your life. Don’t live to work.

Sure, work hard, but when you come home from work, shut down your computer, silence your phone, and tune out the voice of your boss. All work and no play isn’t being “grown up,” it’s being stupid. So play — and don’t feel guilty.

1. Be yourself

Stop living your life to impress other people. No matter how you dress, what you say or what you do (or don’t do), there will always be someone who doesn’t like you. So stop trying to fit in. You were made to be you — not your sister, your co-worker or some fashion model on television.

Develop your own style, embrace your quirks and laugh at the people around you who stress out trying to be perfect. They (not you) are missing out on the fun of life.

2. Do something unexpected

Counselors and life coaches have found that boredom is one of the biggest fun killers. So try something new. Rather than sitting at home watching TV or falling prey to the classic dinner-and-a-movie night, get creative.

Explore your city. Pack a picnic. Take a hike. Try a new sport. Go on a scavenger hunt. See a drive-in movie. Meet a new friend. Go to a carnival. Take a road trip. Visit an art museum. Go to a baseball game. Dress up and have a photo shoot. Sing karaoke. Go wild.

3. Hang out

Busyness can easily take over. Be intentional about building social time into your lifestyle. Don’t let yourself be known as that “busy friend who never had time to do anything.”

Invite friends over for dinner or dessert, or meet at a coffee shop to chill. Have a regular game night. Cook out at a local park or make a bonfire and roast marshmallows. The people — not the place —is the most important element to having fun. So grab a few friends, or make some new ones, and be spontaneous.

4. Live in the moment

Too often, we get stressed out trying to “fix” everything in our lives or we let one rough moment ruin our day. And we miss out on a whole lot of fun. Today — right now — you are surrounded by a million things to enjoy.

Whether it’s a good cup of coffee, a conversation with a friend, a belly-laugh-inducing joke or beautiful afternoon, don’t miss it. So reign in the worrywart and loosen up a bit.

Join the fun.

Fun is Crucial for a Balanced Life

Truth is, the fun-factor isn’t a nice add-on. Every person’s idea of “fun” may be different, but fun is pretty essential to a balanced life.

Yep. Just like taking a shower or eating breakfast, you need fun.

So put down the work next chance you get, grab a friend, and go looking. Fun is out there waiting.

What do you do to let loose and have fun? Tell us in the comments section below.