Updated: Sep 30, 2022
Are we having fun yet?
I hope so, because fun is great for our health!
Fun, enjoyment, laughter and play decrease the stress “fight or flight” hormone, cortisol, in our bodies. Cortisol is necessary for our survival in several ways, but too much of it without a break can cause excess tension, negative thoughts, headaches, depression, and many more health problems.
So it seems clear that, even after retirement, we must purposely find ways to keep having fun!
Fun can come in enjoyable alone time, in the company of one other person or interactions within a small or large group.
So the question is, how do we each have fun in these different circumstances?
My mom enjoys her alone time by doing various crafts and watching her guilty pleasure, reality TV competition shows. She especially loves it when she can get another person, namely me, to join her obsession with these shows so we can discuss and analyze all the contestants. My mom’s love of crafts gave us the idea to let women advertise their post-retirement businesses on the Retired Active Women website, and her guilty pleasure TV shows inspired the Binge-Therapy discussion forum in our community.
My sister (the other administrator of Retired Active Women) has fun by kayaking, hiking and biking with friends. Her absolute favorite way to have fun is to travel with a group. She has joined or created groups who zip-lined over a tropical forest, rode horses to an old western ghost town, snorkeled with sharks, walked the Great Wall of China and got the rare opportunity to visit the inside of Stonehenge. My sister’s love of travel is the reason Retired Active Women will have several fun-filled, affordable trips every year!
One of my best friends, a senior woman who is retired, loves gardening and making soaps, bath salts and meals from her own home grown food. She also enjoys singing, jumping on a trampoline and volunteering. She influenced us to help retired women find volunteer opportunities.
As for me, I enjoy my alone time walking, reading novels and playing with my rescue pets. I love going with small groups to the theatre, movies and concerts, followed by desserts and great conversation. Oh! I love to learn new things and am always taking fun classes! My interests gave us the idea of having book clubs and free classes available on our website, as well as a platform to create local activities with other Retired Active Women in all our locations!
Although we have all found our own ways to have fun, retirement has given us the time to create even more cortisol busting enjoyment in our lives! So where do we begin?
10 ways to discover more ways you can have fun
1. Make a list of all the alone activities that you enjoy. 2. Make a list of activities you would enjoy with another person. 3. Make a list of activities you would enjoy with small and larger groups. 4. List the ways you had fun or the activities you enjoyed when you were younger. 5. Make a list of the ways you can experience those activities from your youth now. (Example: When I was a teenager I was on the school dance squad. Now, even though I am now a middle-aged woman, I enjoy taking dance classes in a studio.) 6. Make a list of fun and activities you’ve always wanted to try, but never have. 7. Speak your lists out loud to someone who you know will support you! (Not someone who will tell you your ideas of fun are wrong. Listening to naysayers is the fastest way to squash fun!) Have your supportive person help give you ideas. 8. Under each list, come up with plans on how you can do one or two of these fun activities in the near future. 9. Do it! Remember that it sometimes takes effort to have fun! You have to make the first step, accept that invitation or ask others to join you in your fun! 10. Join an online group with offline activities, like the Retired Active Women community, for a lot more ideas, tools and support in having fun during your retirement!
So let’s all help our own health by giving our cortisol a break and adding more fun in our lives. We all worked hard for a long time, so now let’s find ways to enjoy our extra time!