Making Time for Fun and Play

This post is a section of our report, A Leader’s Guide to Well Being. For a copy of the whole report, email

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” 

You may recall that haunting line from The Shining. While a completely work-focused life probably won’t drive you insane, it also won’t enable you to be your best.  Fun, play, and recreation are especially important, and we need some fresh ideas. Here are a few we like.

Be creative outdoors. Enjoy a good book in a hammock instead of your favorite chair. Use a projector for an outdoor movie night. Play musical instruments in your front yard for a live concert. Friends and family can scatter across the front yard, driveway, or sidewalk for a distanced “party.” Or get the kids involved, break out a deck of cards, and make it a backyard family night.

Create a themed dinner or day off. Pick a place, say Hawaii, and build a themed experience around it. Queue up ocean sounds or ukulele music for ambiance. Order a couple of pina coladas, malasadas and some loco moco for delivery. Your kids can help decorate, serve food, pick the playlist, or choose their own movie to watch in another room to give you back that date night feeling.

Let your kids run the show. Speaking of kids, they may not be Shakespeare, but watching them create and perform a “show” can replace cheering them on at a soccer game or school production of Grease. Watch them discover new skills or share a passion you might have missed previously. You may never have thought of the broom as a microphone, but they will.

Play online. Game nights with multiple families can be played using Zoom. Host a Netflix watch party and chat during the show.  An impromptu Facebook watch party may inspire some off-the-cuff conversation similar to a pre-pandemic random encounter.

Try an online fitness or meditation group. If you miss the gym, bike parties, or run club, companies like FitBit and Peloton are bringing the competition to you. Or try meditation or yoga on Youtube for a nice retreat.

Double down on learning. We all thought we’d have more time to read during the pandemic, but most of us are busier than ever. Try Blinkist, which lets you listen to or read key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in 15 minutes. Podcasts, Spotify, or Ted let you learn while folding laundry, going for a walk, or tending your new victory garden.

Expand your music collection. This is a great time to explore new music. Listen during your workout or while reading email. Break out your LP collection or download a new music app. Many have an “explore” option making it easy to listen to new things.

Give back. Do some feel-good giving by sending comfort to neighbors, friends, and family.  Choose amongst beer, wine, cookies, cake, coffee, crafts, books, or flowers–there are local businesses and favorite brands that are sending care packages to keep everyone having fun. Or volunteer online with a local nonprofit or political cause.

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