Why You Need to (Literally) Schedule Some Fun
Does scheduling fun make me look nerdy?
So be it. Because scheduling fun works.
And not just for me. This is one of my students’ favorite self-care practices.
Here’s why you should consider it too: when you’re experiencing chronic stress (hello all of us!) you might be experiencing a real dip in your happy hormones.
That’s the good stuff: oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. These are the hormones that help us feel pleasure, motivation, connection, and satisfaction. All the stuff that helps boost our resiliency.
There are lots of ways to increase these hormones, but scheduling fun happens to be my favorite way to purposely bump up dopamine levels.
Dopamine is released when we achieve our goals AND when we are anticipating something good.
When dopamine is low, depression and low motivation are much more likely.
But the deliberate anticipation of something fun can help us feel better and become more stress resilient. That’s because 6-8 weeks before a pleasurable event, our brains are already releasing dopamine.
So if we plan small fun events regularly, then we’re putting ourselves into a state of happy anticipation. The future always looks bright.
Here’s how to do it:
Grab a piece of paper and brainstorm 10 fun things that you like or want to do.
It doesn’t have to be big stuff that take planning, like a trip or hosting a dinner party, but you can include that stuff too.
Think small: a trip to the library, watching one episode of a favorite show, a pedicure, a hike with friends, baking a pie, or a free concert.
The only stipulation is that it has to truly make you happy and you’ll look forward to doing it!
Don’t get hung up on whether it’s possible to do this stuff right now. Just write.
Got your list?
Now grab your schedule. Pick one or two things from your list and put them in your calendar.
If you’re struggling to do this stuff, add accountability to the mix by putting down some money for tickets or asking someone else to join you.
And if you feel like putting fun on your calendar is lame, then ask yourself: How’s doing fun stuff spontaneously working out?
Are you doing it regularly or does your free time get sucked up by work, errands, vet visits, and mindlessly scrolling Facebook? If it’s the latter, get our your calendar and schedule your fun!
- Make a list of fun stuff.
- Each week look at your calendar and schedule something fun.
- Look ahead and make fun plans in advance with tickets, deposits, or friends (for added accountability).
- Savor the anticipation and get your dopamine pumping.
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