How To Have Fun This Year

Teresa Thomas photo by Sarah Whiting

There were many moments in the past year when I experienced the empowerment that comes from joy. I used fun as a tool for resiliency and to regain hope.

Focusing on joy gives me clarity about what I want and what I believe in. It has increased my ability to stand up for myself. As someone who often stifles my own voice, rather than speaking my mind, I have noticed that when I nurture my joy, I have an easier time expressing myself.

How Do We Focus on Joy?

As a networking coach and facilitator, two years ago I created “50 Fun Things®” — a series of workshops and tools to foster joy, fulfillment, and connection for individuals and teams. I originally created the tool in order to cope with my own midlife crisis and gratify my desire to feel more connected to others in my later years. I never expected it to have such a powerful ripple effect.

I notice that people who create a 50 Fun Things® chart are not just focused on the big things, or the fun things, or the bucket list. It is also about appreciating things we might have started to take for granted, looking for sparks of daily joy, experiencing gratitude, and self-care.

Many people report experiencing a paradigm shift after they start looking at life with this fresh perspective.

I have since heard from resiliency experts, self-mastery teachers, therapists, and regular folks that joy is imperative to our health. Having things to look forward to gives us hope, motivation, and eases our anxieties. Raising our level of gratitude and appreciation for simple joys allows us to better cope with depression.

Is It Hard to Experience Fun?

It is often easier to know what feels fun for loved ones. We tend to forget what fun is for ourselves. Do you put work and life obligations above everything else? Do you feel disconnected?

Some people who have worked on their list report that the word “fun”  feels intimidating. If this describes you, consider using a related word, such as joy or fulfillment.

One woman told me she viewed fun as something to have only when everything else in life was achieved.

Another lost her sense of self after her baby was born, but regained it when she started focusing on what brought her joy. As a result, she became a more energized mom and role model.

We can regain a sense of flow, and find a spark, by noticing clues in simple things. Deep connections can be formed when people talk about what lights them up. Have you noticed how you listen and retain more of what is said by someone who is excited about what she is talking about?

The idea behind 50 Fun Things® is to incorporate self-reflection, communication with others, setting and expressing intentions, and taking at least one step toward creating a more fulfilling personal or professional life. This is a catalyst for transformation.

Poet Toi Derricotte proclaimed: “Joy is an act of resistance.” I am still wrapping my head around this concept. To me, it means to take care of ourselves is to embrace joy, rather than giving way to despair.

Teresa Thomas (she/her) is living out more than the 50 fun things she originally set out to experience. Details: