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"Jumping for joy is good exercise."
If you're looking for more play time in your life, and aren't sure where to start in finding fun things to do, here are a few suggestions that'll hopefully help spur off other ideas that suit your fancy!
- Try a singing lesson! Whether or not you have pitch, tone, or harmony, this is a great way to open up the throat chakra to speak your truth your readily (as well as to hear truth spoken in turn).
- Turn up the music and start dancing! Music is an inherent part of cultures around the world and our bodies are designed to move. See what Shiva Rea says about it, too. I recently found a place in downtown San Diego that plays 90s hip-hop on the first and third Fridays of the month — there is just nothing like getting your groove on to the Humpty Dance by Digital Underground!
- Get in touch with your sensual side. If you're a woman and lookin' for great cardio to boot, try a pole dancing class. It is a phenomenal workout and a sexy way to tap into that Divine Feminine. If you're a man, I can't really speak from experience, but I do have to say that practicing yoga has seemed to open up plenty of men I know to many more fulfilling experiences in their lives.
- Go outdoors. Surfing, rock climbing, hiking, running, beach walking, canyoning, mountaineering, sky diving, paragliding, mountain biking, road cycling, body surfing with hand planes... the options are endless. And, not only is fresh air and sunshine good for you (remember to use sunblock!), but it's a way to connect with a force greater than yourself — Mother Nature. What a humbling and beautiful experience that is.
- Do the opposite of what you would normally do. This piece of advice was given to me by a friend when I hit 25 and it's always stuck with me. If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always go. So, what would be the complete opposite of what your normal tendencies are? Why not see where that takes you today?
- Get pampered. There are plenty of affordable options for massage and facials and mani-pedis and a whole array of ways in which you can be the receiver for a change. Let someone else care for you — as challenging as that might be. Check out sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for great deals.
- Make something. When I was going through a challenging time recently, I took all of the energy I was investing in sadness and wallowing and turned it into a giant vision board. I began to imagine all the ways in which I would like my life to be, and found images and words in magazines to support what I'd like to manifest. It was a phenomenal way to lose myself in daydreaming about all the possibilities and potentials, and shifted my mood completely around into hope and happiness. Make something with your hands. Try ceramics or baking or painting or oil pastels or soldering or even a handmade card to someone you care about. Everyone (who I know) loves snail mail and what a lovely way to brighten someone else's day, too!
- Pay it forward. I was told by Nischala Joy Devi that one of the ways to get out of your own head is to volunteer within the same cause that is causing you pain. For example, I suffered from an eating disorder for almost 15 years of my life. One of the ways in which I can reframe my experience is to volunteer at soup kitchens, where I will be reminded of what food really means in the grand scheme of things and what it truly means to be hungry. Often, we compare ourselves to people who have more than us and subsequently make ourselves feel worse. It's rare to compare ourselves to those less fortunate, but when we do, we are humbled by all of our blessings. VolunteerMatch.org is a fantastic way to start searching for different areas of interest and neighborhoods near you, where your helping hand would be absolutely valued.
- Take yourself out on a date. I really enjoy going to movies by myself. There's something comforting about being in a cool, dark room with others who you don't have to talk to, but who you know are there sharing space. Plus, the events unfolding on the big screen are a great way to lose yourself in the moment and press pause on your daily life to revisit it with a fresh pair of eyes. There are plenty of people I know who don't like to do things on their own, afraid of what others might think or say. None of us ever know what others are thinking (unless we ask, and even then, we need to trust if they're filtering what they share), so spending time worrying doesn't do us much good other than to make ourselves feel worse. My lovely friend Kathryn Budig taught me that when you're looking at someone else in class who's doing a pose you can't do, remember that there are people looking at you the same way. Love yourself best by taking yourself out on a date to do the things you wish someone else would do for you — buy yourself flowers or a coffee, send yourself a small gift, take yourself out to your favorite restaurant, leave little love notes in your pocket. There are plenty of ways that we can romance ourselves and not have to wait for anyone else to do it for us!
- Plan a trip. Mini-getaways are great for feeding the soul. A piece of advice I was recently told during my travel article to Aspen is that you should spend as many days as hours it takes you to get to your location to feel like it's a full vacation. Drive somewhere or take the train for a couple of hours and see where you arrive. Stay overnight. Be adventurous. Meet the locals. The world is SO BIG that you have no idea who you could meet and how your life could change in ways big and small from it.
- Use your reward points and splurge. If you have a credit card that gathers reward points for your purchases, check to see how many you've got. Then, apply them towards something! You can make it random or make it indulgent, but make a choice to get creative with your resources and invest in yourself.
- Calmete! I believe that because our society is so fast-paced these days, we start to become addicted to the busyness and then crave it in our other activities. For me, I can't just do one sport, I suddenly have to jam them back-to-back, so that I'm yoga-ing before surfing before climbing. It's ridiculous. I literally have to shove my phone somewhere that's not accessible to me and tell myself to calm down (or calmete! in Spanish). If you'd like to feel really good, try taking a break from everything. Turn everything off, shut the door, close the lid of the computer, then just lie on your floor and open your arms and legs wide in a five-pointed star position, and release. Surrender. Melt. Let go. Be in the moment where the Universe around you starts to give you exactly what you need to rebalance.
There are plenty more things to do, but this can provide a launching pad for your quest for fun. Let me know how things turn out!
And, if you're looking to simply brighten your mood, I find that these are wonderful ways to do so:
- Ellen. I love her show, because her positivity and pure joy just radiates from everything she does. I laugh at all the ways in which she encourages people to be silly. And if Ellen doesn't do it for you, then find what will make you laugh so hard your belly hurts. It's an amazing kind of therapy.
- Type in #puppies into Instagram or other social media outlet. If the pictures of these cute cuddly creatures doesn't just make your heart melt into a million chocolatey drops, I don't know what will. There's also CuteOverload.com.
- Watch sea otters crack open shells to eat. I had no idea that sea otters cracked shells against rocks they place on their bellies to get to their food! Ah, nature. Oh, and this baby panda sneezing makes my heart just squeal.
- Follow George Takei on Facebook. He played Sulu on Star Trek, and while I never really watched the show, I have loved all the random jokes he posts on his Facebook page. He is also someone who looks like he's loving life with all the laughter he shares.
- Check out damnyouautocorrect.com. I don't remember where I learned about this from, but I do remember that once I started reading it, I was sweating so hard from the chuckling and almost falling out of my chair. I sent it to friends, who told me that their coworkers were starting to think that something was seriously wrong, because of all the commotion they were causing in response to the things they were reading! Most of them are tinged with sexuality, so don't be surprised. Ah, smartphones.
- For all the nerds and geeks, listen to Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! on NPR. I love podcasts and some of my favorites are This American Life (you must hear Tig Notaro talk about her run-ins with Taylor Dayne), RadioLab, OnBeing, Fresh Air and, as mentioned earlier, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! The Stitcher app on iPhones is great for not having to download or sync podcasts, but to listen to them streaming. Wait Wait is an hour of listening to comedians and everyday people playing around with today's news in quizzical ways.
- Smile. If you haven't heard the saying, "fake it til you make it," it's been proven that smiling does in fact create a likewise response all around. Plus, it doesn't hurt to try. And y'know, they say it takes way more muscles to frown. :)