How to Be Fun, Have Fun and Stay Young

Low angle of African American middle-aged man and woman paddling kayak.

Medically reviewed in January 2021

Feel like your life has done a number on your fun factor? You're not alone. Deadlines, bills and crazy-busy schedules keep most of us from cutting loose and getting silly. All work and no play isn't just dull. It negates something that's hardwired into the human psyche, say "play experts." So we're giving you an assignment: Carve out some time for playtime. Find something that makes you feel like you're floating free, happy and totally absorbed in your own play land.

Here are some ways that a busy grown-up can cut loose, play and even learn something new along the way.

  • Find your inner artist. Haul out your water-color set, old sewing machine or woodworking tools. Feeling musical? Dust off your old clarinet, take a guitar class or join a band. As long as you're having a good time with no high-pressure expectations, it's play.
  • Flex your green thumb. Gardening doesn't just produce beautiful flowers and produce, it can also be a relaxing way to get your daily dose of exercise in a stress-free way. Once the ground thaws, make a pact to plan and plant a plot this year.
  • Turn your workout into play. Haven't found a physical activity that you dig? Don't give up. Be brave in your search. Consider outside-the box activities, such as roller skating, salsa, hula hoop or join a sports league at work or in your community. Kickball, anyone?
  • Learn a new language. The ability to chat in Thai, Greek or Arabic is good for more than ordering coffee abroad. Learning a new language as an adult or picking up where 10th grade Spanish left off exercises your brain cells in ways that guard against memory loss and fuzzy thinking.

Tapping into your spontaneous, inner-child packs big benefits for your health, mood, mind and job, as well as relationships. A study shows it eases job strain, connects you with others and makes you laugh. So what are you waiting for? It's fun time!

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