Clients often look at me as though I'm speaking in a foreign tongue when I ask them what they enjoy doing. What they do for recreation, and pleasure. Whether they have hobbies, or interests, activities they do just for fun. Perhaps I've lost you, too...
It strikes me that fun is an important, if not crucial, component of recovery and life generally. Research suggests that those of us who are fortunate enough to have things we enjoy, and time to engage in these, are likely to report better quality of life. Hardly surprising.
What is surprising, worrying even, is how little time we spend enjoying ourselves.
Fun, smiles, and laughter are all good for our health. Doing things we enjoy, and things we are good at, are both equally important. Pleasure and mastery fight depression and other ailments.
I have deliberately introduced fun into my life. I am who I am because of my friends, and some of my closest friends are my 'fun police'. They too realise the importance of having fun, and we make sure to make time to do so.
There are certain things I try to do every day, as basic maintenance, which enables me to maintain a sense of balance, and purpose during my waking hours. Then I have things I do weekly, or at least several times a month. These give me a sense of progress, and are markers I plan ahead, and organise, as celebrations of achievements, or things to look forward to. Finally, there are some things I maybe do only annually, which also form part of my 'fun' routine. Holidays and breaks away from my usual routine add to my motivation, and provide me with opportunities to both reflect on what's been and what's yet to come.
So, I cycle and I swim.
I read things that interest me.
I practice yoga.
I buy flowers when I visit the supermarket.
I get my hair cut and my toenails painted.
I keep in touch with people I care about.
I get to the cinema, and to the theatre.
I drive to beautiful places.
I visit art galleries and exhibitions.
I enjoy drinking tea with friends.
I travel to different parts of the world, with different climates (and, in particular, good snow).
And, I think about what I'd like to do on my next day off...
No one said that life was easy. No one said it was meant to be miserable, either.