How to Have More Fun

Oct 31, 2022

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Have you grown up a little too much? Lost the natural child-like ability to just have fun on a daily basis? I think that, as adults, we have to cultivate and create fun for ourselves. We’re quite good at thinking about this and making it happen for the children in our lives, but not so good at making it happen for ourselves. And let’s face it, fun doesn’t just happen by itself. It takes some intentionality.

Why is this important and why am I talking about it? Bottom line: It’s healthy. We need the rejuvenation that doing something we enjoy – something just for the pure fun of it – offers. Our lives are busy, hectic, stressful… and without making time for recreation, we will burn out. So let’s talk about how to have more fun! And if you have difficulty thinking of things you might like to do, I have some thought-starters that may help.

“Life is a series of challenges and events and things that happen… Do we feel like we have enough of a buffer or surplus to cultivate the good stuff…To allow us and enable us to meet all those challenges and not to feel wiped out?”  – Dr. Sara Dill

What You’ll Learn

  • Reasons we lack fun
  • Why we need fun
  • Remember what you used to like
  • Some thought-starters
  • Intentionality of challenge

Contact Info and Recommended Resources

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Podcast Episodes that pair well with this one:

Connect with Sara Dill, MD, The Doctor’s Coach


Dr. Sara Dill: I’m Dr. Sara Dill, and this is the Stress-Less Physician podcast, Episode Number 38. Welcome to the Stress-Less Physician podcast, I’m your host, Dr. Sara Dill, MD. Using my unique combination of coaching and mindfulness tools, I will teach you practical ways to reduce your stress level, feel happier at work, and create a better balance between your medical career personal life. If you are a busy practicing physician who wants to design a life and medical career that feel good to you, you are in the right place.

Hey, everyone, welcome back to the podcast. I think this is going to be airing on Monday, October 31, which here in the US, is Halloween. I don’t know if it’s a big holiday for you or not, if you’re someone who really enjoys Halloween, or not so much. My neighborhood, we do like it, I wouldn’t say we go over the top. But there are a lot of decorations out there. And my puppy, who just turned one, has been very scared by them. So, we have been working on desensitizing him to the ghosts and ghouls and all the different decorations. So that has been our current adventure.

And today, I really wanted to talk to you about something I’ve been thinking about and working on for myself, which is, how to have more fun in your life. So lately, I’ve been thinking about whether my life has enough fun, and spoiler alert, I’ve decided it doesn’t. I want more fun. Part of the impetus for this has been that my boyfriend has really gotten into playing beach volleyball, he has a big group of people, I think it started with a class he took. And he really enjoys it. It’s super fun for him and active and he likes going and he likes the people. He’s had a lot of the team over for barbecues, as well.

And so, I’ve just been observing this and how much he enjoys it, and how fun it is for him. Even though it’s also really challenging, which I think sometimes is actually part of the fun. If something’s too easy, or we aren’t learning and growing, sometimes things aren’t as fun for us. The human brain likes to use play and fun as a way to learn, right? If you watch children, when they’re learning things, they often do that through play or through activities that are more fun. And in fact, we try to create that for children as a way to foster better learning.

So, watching this beach volleyball team, just noticing how fun it is in every way. And I was thinking about my life and realizing that most of my fun activities, which I love, involves going out with friends, going out with other people, socializing. We do a lot of socializing in my neighborhood, which is fun. Also involves food and wine and travel. But I really want to create more fun in my life on more of a daily basis.

And I do try to find and create fun feelings in most of what I do. I think people who know me realize that. I like to have fun at work. I like to have fun seeing patients and in coaching, and all of that. But I think there’s a difference between sort of enjoying what you do and finding some fun in that, right? Which isn’t all fun; work sometimes can be very challenging, and we deal with sick patients. And right now, I think a lot of our work environments are sort of the opposite of fun, with a lot of what’s happening.

So, I’ve been thinking, like, I would like to have more of what I would consider like real fun, fun-fun, super fun. And I think as adults, we often stop having so much fun in our lives, or maybe we just expect it to happen and then it doesn’t. But what I’ve been thinking about is, what if it’s a habit that we need to cultivate more intentionally? Just like I’ve talked about scheduling free time, what if we need to incorporate and schedule more fun in our lives? What if we need to take responsibility for creating it in our lives?

And again, if you have kids, notice how much fun they have. Can we reclaim that same fun attitude that maybe we once had for ourselves, right? Children find fun in so many things. And most parents try to help their children have fun and enjoy things. Do we do the same for ourselves? Do we plan as many fun activities and sort of entertain ourselves, as we do with other people or with our children? It’s just sort of curious why or why not.

So, I’ve been deciding to find more fun activities, and maybe just try out some new activities, and then consciously add at least some of them to my life. And in thinking about this, I realized, and I know this is something I’ve thought about before, is that I definitely had a lot more fun activities and hobbies, and sort of diversification of what I did before med school and before residency. I know people talk about that, too. I think when you have work and a career, and children and everything, we sort of just keep adding on all of the tasks that we have to do.

And I feel like fun and hobbies sort of go out the window for a while. And so I realized in medical school, a lot of my hobbies got dropped and now I want to pick some up again. And I have done this in the last few years as well. I just want to keep doing it. And I thought I would talk about it today. So, you can start by asking yourself if you want to do this: what is fun for you now? Do you have enough fun activities and people and times in your life? Or do you need to create and plan more fun? Or do you want to, maybe?

Is your life mostly work and errands and taking care of other people? Are you doing a good job taking care of you and creating a life? That is fun enough? Maybe not all the time? Of course, but a little fun, daily or weekly? How often do you say: that was really fun? I really enjoyed myself. Are you laughing?

I feel like again, especially with all the challenges at work, at least in my life and everyone I’m coaching right now with staffing, right with not enough doctors and not enough nurses, medical assistants or front desk, people quitting and leaving, with the supply chain disruptions, right? For us, we have our lidocaine shortage. With just general inflation, the stock market performance, flu season, everything that’s happening, there’s a lot out there in the world.

I think we need to create more fun intentionally. We think about it as sort of like a buffer or a vaccine, to protect us in some ways, against all the challenges that life has for us. And we’ll continue to have, right, nothing’s gone wrong, in some sense, in that, life is a series of challenges and events and things that happen. And are we in good shape, right? Do we feel like we have enough of a buffer or surplus to cultivate the good stuff, to sort of balance out what we find is not so good, right? To allow us and enable us to meet all those challenges and not feel wiped out, and to enjoy our lives. I mean, isn’t that the point is to have lives that we enjoy.

For me, in thinking about this, I also want to incorporate some more physical activity. I already like walking a lot in my neighborhood. But I’d like more physical activity and possibly some social interaction in my fun as well. So that’s sort of the idea that I have. So, I started by thinking about what I used to like to do. What sounds fun to me now, what other people find fun, and tell me about, like pickleball. And I started by making a list.

And I would encourage you to do this as well, right? Because sometimes we’re like, I don’t even know what’s fun. And so it helps to just start with a list that you can actually consult when you’re stuck and you want to do something fun, or your brain is telling you you don’t know, right? There’s nothing fun to do. So, I want to encourage you to list as many things as you can. You don’t have to do them all or intend to do them all, but include what you currently do and find fun as well.

And just a little caveat here, too. I think fun is different than pleasure. I think both are super important, and I think they overlap. I think fun is the kind of pleasure and pleasure often has fun as part of it. I’m actually going to do a future episode on incorporating or diversifying your pleasure in your life. And I think again, fun activities are pleasurable, but I think pleasure actually encompasses a lot more than just fun things. So, think about bit a little bit. But I want to really focus on fun here, which I think again, is pleasurable naturally.

I’m just going to read you my list just to sort of give you some ideas, and I may come up with some others too. So, I started with things that I already currently like and find fun, which is walking. I like hiking a lot as well, I find that fun. I haven’t been doing it lately. And I especially like hiking with other people. So, there’s lots of hiking groups in my town.

And so one idea I have is to sign up for a hiking group, and start to incorporate that and see how much fun it is. Lately, I’ve gone—and my neighbors have puppies as well, and we’ve done sort of a dog playtime in a big enclosed area at our local school on the weekends. And that’s actually been super fun. It’s social. I run around a little bit with the dogs. We all do. So that’s something I just started doing. And I found fun, and I want to continue.

As I mentioned, I really like going out to dinner. I like researching new recipes and new foods and new cultures, through food and wine. I like wine tasting, and I live in a big wine tasting area that’s fun, and can be social. But again, not something I get to do every day, maybe once a month. I like travel and day trips, things that I really enjoy already, especially that are active, are kayaking, and stand-up paddling. Again, I’d like to maybe make those more social. So, thinking about doing those with friends, or a group of people.

I think about some of my old likes that I enjoyed doing. So, tennis, I used to play a lot of tennis in high school. And after sort of gotten out of it, I really enjoy rowing crew, that’s something I’m investigating here, I used to be part of a neighborhood boat club back east in New England. And out here, I just discovered that we do have a adult crew group that meets up at a lake. It’s a little bit of a hike. But I’m super excited about that I actually really enjoy that. I’d like to learn to scull as well, which for anyone who doesn’t know is individual sort of rowing as well. And so those are some things I’m definitely going to explore. And you’ll notice like even now when I’m talking about it, I can feel that I feel a little more energized, right? My voice is a little more excited. That’s sometimes how you know you’re on like the right track, right, you’ve discovered something that is genuinely appealing to you.

I used to like bicycling long time ago in high school. So thinking about that, is that something I might want to do? I used to really like photography; that sort of went along with hiking. I like sort of nature photography. I used to love doing pilates. So I’m thinking about trying a group class or doing some private lessons, again, that would incorporate some physical activity. Right now, I don’t know how much fun it would be, it tends to be quite challenging for me. But there can be fun in that too, in terms of pushing your own limits. And again, growth and becoming stronger, fitter, can be fun. Yoga is another thing I used to enjoy doing that I’ve gotten out of the habit. And I loved horseback riding as a girl. So, I am thinking about either trying lessons again, or trail riding. But that sounds very fun and interesting to me.

Some ideas I had about some new activities. Again, one was sculling, which is similar to crew but different. never actually done that. I’m thinking about getting more into sailing. I live on the ocean here. I’ve done sailing classes before. But I still sort of liked the idea of it more than the reality. So, it hasn’t been that much fun. My dad lives on a boat, and I have a lot of friends who love sailing, and some of them do racing as well and they love it. They have a lot of fun. It’s a team sport. For others, we can check out boats or go sailing, so it could be social. So, I’m thinking about taking a class and getting more familiar with that, too. Sounds like it could be fun.

Again, pickleball; seems like all my patients love pickleball. I’m thinking about trying that although I’m not sure if I would like it. I might get back into tennis instead. Maybe try trail running or running in a group. I have some friends who really enjoy that. Again, something that I haven’t really enjoyed doing in the past, but it could be fun, I don’t know. I was thinking about trying some new group fitness activities or classes. There are a lot of different kinds of group fitness classes here. There’s something called Class Pass, where you can just do drop-in activities, try them out. That could be a good way to try new things, even like a martial arts or something. Really trying to sort of think, broadly here and notice that maybe there is some things I’ve sort of assumed I wouldn’t like that maybe I would like.

There is a company here, a local business that does crafting and arts classes for adults, they have a whole variety of things, I thought that could be fun to do, maybe with some friends, and see what I think. I was also looking into cooking classes. There aren’t that many cooking classes where I live here, but there’s a ton online. And there are some that are online live on Zoom. And I thought that could be fun. I do love reading cookbooks and recipes. I would like to try cooking.

Again, other sort of ethnic foods with which I’m not very familiar, it’s fun to go find the new spices and new ingredients. And that could be fun. Now that I’m thinking about it, that might be fun to try with some girlfriends at my house. And we could sort of do it as our own group as well just sort of started our own cooking group. That was something I did in the past. We would do like a group cooking dinner once a month or something. And I really enjoyed that. So again, that’s fun. Not so much physical activity there. But again, diversifying the fun in a variety of ways.

I was thinking again, about maybe a class on orchids, or gardening, I love orchids, I have a lot of them in my house. There are some orchid greenhouses here, and I don’t know if they do any classes. But that could be fun to do. And then I was thinking maybe I would try something really random, like a Women’s Soccer League or something. Full caveat. I did not like soccer when I was younger; it was sort of before soccer was very popular. And I went to a small school. And all of our physical education classes were co-ed. And I just didn’t love it. I like tennis. And I like some of the more individual sports. But women’s soccer seems like fun. I think it could be fun to do something like that in a league or group. And I know for a fact that they have classes here through our City College and also through, I think, meetup.

And so those are some of my ideas about ways to incorporate more fun. Again, this is a fairly long list, I’m actually going to print it out and post it and keep adding to it when I hear things or see things or think of things. I’m not going to try to incorporate every single thing but I may try a few things out and see what clicks with myself. See what I find genuinely fun, sort of like testing it out in reality, right, take it for a spin and see what I think.

So, I’d love to hear from you all. I generally think just based on talking to people that I think we all need more fun. I think we get sort of a tendency to be serious and focus on the challenges in life, which I think is important. And again, I think tackling challenges can be fun, right? Can we create some fun or creativity, bring laughter and all of that into everything we do, especially things that we find challenging, or maybe stressful?

And yet, I think it’s also nice to cultivate activities that we find fun, genuinely and easily. Can we have more play and more fun in our lives? Like children, right? Think back to when you were a child? How much fun you had, how much you like to laugh? What were some of the things you like doing? Are you serious all the time? Do you have fun with your children? If you have children? Do you play with them? Do you schedule and create and think about what would be fun for you as much as you do for your children or for other people in your lives?

So Happy Halloween to everyone. I will say in the spirit of Halloween, I think it’s also important to cultivate doing things that scare us a little bit. So, I don’t know, can you have fun and maybe also do things that are a little scary, things that are a little bit challenging, like, for me, considering train a Women’s Soccer League? That sounds a little scary, but in a good way. Not a terribly scary way. But I don’t think I’m genuinely good at soccer. I think it’d be a challenge for me and maybe a little bit scary in terms of being a new situation. I think it could be fun, definitely is going to be physically challenging. And I think I will go look into that. As well as a couple of the other things.

My top option is right now are more kayaking, more stand-up paddling, maybe trying out tennis again, it’s been quite some time and looking into joining that adult boat group, rowing some crew, and getting back into horseback riding. Those are the things that sound the most fun out of this list. So, I will keep you posted. Let me know what resonates with you, what you find fun. And I would just challenge you to include more fun in your life. I think there’s nothing bad that can come from having more fun. And I think only good things can come from that.

Love talking with you. Again, please feel free to reach out anytime with questions, comments, feedback, or if you just want some personal help with any of these things that I talked about in the podcast, or with work and burnout and stress and all of that. I definitely think medicine is in a very challenging place right now. I don’t know about you, but it’s challenging. I use myself coaching skills every day and when I go to work.

So again, feel free to shoot me an email anytime, [email protected]. I read and answer all my own emails. Hope you’re having a wonderful week. Happy Halloween, and I will talk to you soon. Bye.

If you are a busy practicing physician, ready to start feeling less stressed, enjoy work more and learn how to create a more balanced and sustainable medical practice and life, sign up for a consult call with me at, that’s It would be my privilege and pleasure to work with you.

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