According to Wikipedia Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (July 8, 1926 – August 24, 2004) was a Swiss-American psychiatrist, a pioneer in near-death studies and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying (1969), where she first discussed her theory of the five stages of grief. In an interview she stated:
“In Switzerland I was educated in line with the basic premise: work work work. You are only a valuable human being if you work. This is utterly wrong. Half working, half dancing – that is the right mixture. I myself have danced and played too little.”
An objective in my thriving after loss action plan is having fun. Nothing about being stuck in the anger and depression involved with grieving was enjoyable. I felt I deserved some serious happiness.
I was so desperate to have fun again, I frantically jumped into entertaining activities. After feeling lost for so long, I went along with whatever others said was fun. Only certain experiences brought me pleasure, and I thought that was part of struggling to move past grieving. Some of that may be true, but I realized not every activity brings me the same level of pleasure. I don’t like riding a motorcycle myself, even though I got my license because girlfriends raved about it. I love being my husband’s bike passenger and exploring new places.
I think having fun was challenging for me because I didn’t have any for so long. I snow skied and hiked beautiful country again. I subscribed to event lists and went to sporting events, concerts, festivals, parties, and local attractions. I explored museums, went to craft classes, and learned to cook new things. I traveled to new places and tried adventurous things like swimming with dolphins and parasailing.
Having fun after grieving was a significant part of my healing. Joy raced through my veins, I smiled often, and laughed even more. Fun helped move me towards a sense of well-being and life felt lighter. When I am playing, I feel my soul nurtured and grateful. I felt anxious if I didn’t have fun planned so at the end of every week, I look at the next week and make sure I do. To me, fun is as important as eating well and exercising.
I spoke about thriving after unimaginable loss at a national grief conference. I shared my thoughts about the importance of fun. A therapist attending commented that he often asks clients what they do for fun because he agrees it’s important. He said most often the answer is a blank confused stare. It’s easy to overlook making fun an integral part of life.
Don’t fill your days with so much busy work there isn’t time for fun. Joy is fuel for thriving, and it’s not just for kids. Fun can have a positive effect on all areas of your life. Don’t let time pass by and then realize you could have danced and played more.