Summertime should be all about having fun. But as we’ve settled into life after college, it’s become harder and harder to find time to spontaneously enjoy the warm weather among all the work commitments, wedding showers, and weekend naps we now require to keep up with our hectic schedules. We’re not alone, though: nearly 75 percent of Americans today cite their responsibilities as getting in the way of being able to have fun. Which is just not OK, because YOLO. So, we tapped Dr. Anthony DeBenedet, a physician and play advocate for Shout®, who is currently working with the brand’s Shout It Out campaign, to give us tips on how to let loose this summer. Here’s what he had to say.
Figure out where the fun went (and then get it back) According to Dr. DeBenedet, one of the biggest reasons people “don’t have time” for fun is because they are afraid of falling behind at home or work. In fact, more than one third of Americans feel guilty taking time away from the office or other responsibilities to have fun. Time for play and relaxation has become almost an afterthought in our crazy busy world. But while it might feel great to check off everything on your to do list, it’s important to put fun activities on that list too! “We don’t consciously think of how taking time to go out and have fun can positively impact our quality of life,” Dr. DeBenedet says. “The reality is that making time for fun and play actually helps us keep pace and be more productive and on point when we need to be.”
Take baby steps
Dr. DeBenedet says even a small change can lead to great results. “I always tell folks who are trying to live a little more playfully to start slow and think small. Add small bursts of joy to your daily life. Crank the music. Smile at a stranger. Take a different route home from work. Get dressed with your eyes closed.”
Don’t worry, be happy
“When we are having fun, it’s important to not worry about how we look or about making a mess. We lose the essence and purpose of fun if we do,” Dr. DeBenedet finishes. As part of the Shout It Out campaign, Shout is sponsoring The Color Run across the country. The run is basically the essence of getting messy in the name of a good time. DeBenedet recently ran one with his family in Michigan. The bottom line? “Fun is important! Make time for it.”