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About the series
Last week, we talked about sloooowing down. This week our focus is pepping things up; we’re going to talk about fun! If you are joining us for the first time, or have not listened for the last few weeks, we are in the midst of a 10-part series entitled “101 Ways to Cope With Depression and Anxiety.” If you’ve experienced depression, you know that it can be difficult to feel motivated to do much of anything. Our hope is that struggling individuals see that they can do at least one thing out of our list of 101, if not more!
Before we start talking about fun, we’ll take a brief moment to recap what has been discussed thus far. Each week has a different theme. We started out with God. In Him we move and have our being. He created us in His image. He created a beautiful world and our five senses. He is the thread that weaves through our series. Although we devoted an entire episode to activities that are specific to Him, we can honor Him through other activities.
Last week we discussed activities that are intended to slow us down from the rat-race pace of this modern world. You may want to reference that episode if you’re looking to do something less energized.
We will round out the series for the next six weeks with animals and nature, socializing, aesthetics, creating and learning, touch and smell, and helping.
Introduction to Fun
We’re excited about today’s list because, it’s well…fun! God has gifted us our five senses to enjoy sights, sounds, textures, tastes, and smells. He has also given us the ability to smile and laugh.
Vincent and I are blessed to be new parents and are enjoying the sounds of our little son’s laughter. When a baby laughs, it seems to press the “pause button” on any negativity going on around you. And if you’re stressed out parents, your baby’s laughter may help you to relieve some of that tension!
Laura: One thing I remember doing as a child was making paper air planes. Not just any paper airplanes. I colored and designed them. They had names. I kept them in a bag. My sister, my cousin, other neighborhood kids, got in on the fun and we all had bags of paper airplanes named and designed. We would have contests to see which airplane could fly the furthest.
One thing that I like to do with my counseling clients is to ask them what they do for recreation. Many times I’ll ask them what activities they enjoyed as a child. Have you stopped doing what brought you joy? Did you like to play outside? Color? Create things? Are you still doing these things? What would happen if you tried doing them again? How would you make that happen?
Over the course of this series we have been encouraging you to take a look at coping through the lens of Philippians 4: 8. Think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report. I think in some ways all of today’s activities fall under “pure”. They take us to a simpler, more laid-back time. Imagine life skipping the joys of childhood?
Fun Activities List
4. Go to the movies and watch a comedy. According to the Mayo clinic, laughter stimulates many organs, activates and relieves your stress response, and soothes tension.
19. Eat some ice cream. I am not suggesting that you gorge yourself in ice cream – that would be gluttonous. But researchers in Belgium have found that eating fatty acid foods like ice cream lessen a depressed mood – as us ice cream lovers have long suspected. So a little ice cream “in moderation” can help you feel better.
32. Blow bubbles outside. Blowing bubbles tricks your body into calming down. You slow and deepen your breath.
40. Go watch a baseball game. It can be relaxing, but it also can be a time that you let some of your emotions out as well. This emotional release around a lot of people can be therapeutic.
44. Eat at a fancy restaurant. Eating a good healthy meal can fill your tummy, but it can also help reduce anxiety and depression. More expensive restaurants many times provide healthier food – here are some foods that help with depression.
49. Watch a mystery movie or tv show. Although watching too much TV can be bad for you, watching a relaxing or intriguing show can help to reduce your stress according to a recent study.
64. Fly a kite. Kite flying offers a wide variety of health benefits like being in nature, exercise, socialization, and stress reduction. It is inexpensive and family friendly as well.
66. Whistle. Whistling, humming, singing, and laughing are ways to destress and help you to relax. A work-play balance is imperative to keep you emotionally healthy.
82. Work on a crossword puzzle. The challenges of regularly performing crossword puzzles improves a person’s ability to solves life’s problems.
83. Watch a cartoon. Psychotherapist Dr. Laurel Steinberg finds that children’s programming promotes community, relationship, family, teamwork and the concept of good overcoming evil. These concepts are an escape from worry and sadness and improves mood.
94. Take a ride on a motorcycle. Riding a motorcycle is one of the few rides where the journey is the destination. It requires the driver to develop strong concentration and puts the driver in the “now”. It reduces stress and can improve emotional health.
Never lose sight of the things that brought you pure, unadulterated joy as a child. You may benefit from re-connecting with those things. If not, maybe today’s list will provide you with encouragement to start on some new, healthy activities to bring the fun out of you!