Today I am thinking of some of the things that I have done in my life that bring infinite joy to my heart. Sometimes because of the creative process behind it, and most times because they were just plain fun!! I thought I’d share some of these experiences with you to remind you that we really do not need much to make our lives fun – whether we are alone or in a family or at work (online or in person). Such experiences lift our hearts and minds for better health (I believe) for all.
First, I can tell you that I used to be an extremely shy student. I was driven to get to University as quickly as possible and I had decided that when I did, I was going to create a whole “new me” in terms of my schooling persona. I attended the University of Alberta which is the third-largest University in Canada and the thought of attending classrooms of 500 students each was certainly not easy for me. I would make sure I got to my classes early or on time, but inevitably there were lots of people to get through to get to a seat from which I could see the instructor clearly. When I’d get to my seat, I could often feel my heart beating in my chest from my nervousness. Still, determined to create a confident-Hanifa persona, I would introduce myself to the person to the left and to the right of myself once seated. This took some courage as it often surprised the fellow students and “Hanifa” is not the easiest name for new people to learn. Yet it often did turn into quite the conversation piece; sometimes I would just make a simple comment about the reading to be done or the weather (always an easy small-talk topic). And often this led to fun discussions, laughter and then the search for the same classmates in later classes.
At the Naturopathic College (CCNM in Ontario) I worked as a part-time Academic and then Clinic Receptionist and I loved joking with both patients and student-clinicians through my working time. Since I often worked in the evening I would occasionally have the fun of making the “final announcement” of the night reminding students that reception would be closing in 15 minutes. I loved making those messages fun and light for people to hear before they would finish with final billing and/or booking appointments. So, for a while I would end my message with “singing” the phrase “By Mennen” which was a phrase used in commercials for Speed Stick deodorant that played regularly on T.V. for a while in the 80’s/90’s (particularly amusing to me as my last name is “Menen”) – see here for example of the ads: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KQEbJ8DKiQ And then the other receptionists and I would laugh!! And students and patients would come out and laugh and all was good. The occasional rolled eyes or sour reaction never dampened the fun.
When I got a dog, I wanted to create fun videos about our miniature schnauzer so I had so much fun taking pictures that would match whatever song I wanted to create a message from. I loved the fun of thinking out the locations and actions for the pictures and I had so much fun with training and bonding with my very first dog too. I ended up creating a YouTube page for Dogtor Caesar from the videos I made. This particular video was after training at PetSmart with a fantastic trainer when we first got Caesar – it was to share the love and appreciation I had for that trainer and store. The trainer had even wanted to get the company to use this as an official commercial for the store. He tried but I believe the popular song in the background would have had legal implications and needed some copyright details to tend to (and I still enjoyed this process so much too!). Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iNTKq2CJoA
I used to love making basic walks fun. When I had my dog, just watching him made every walk more fun to me but even before him, I remember making fun albums about walks to various locations – like a waterfall adventure album from visiting several local waterfalls. So recently I decided to add more fun to the weekly walks I do with a fun health colleague and friend. What’s wonderful is that we both love positively-influencing brain health and life experience with our own clients, so we know the value of doing this for ourselves too. We had already started singing with each other – just whatever song was on our minds and this was fun. Then one day, I suggested we do a different style of “walk” for a small section of the trail we hike. I asked her how self-conscious she was and when she confirmed that she was not too self conscious, I suggested we step, step, step, step together, step left. Then step, step, step, step together, step right… continue. She was up for it. So we did. And we laughed at our missteps, enjoyed working on our improvements and both thoroughly enjoyed the fun. Last week I had mentioned it’s “her turn” to decide the steps for a section. She did. She described her steps and then we added to the idea as we went along. We stepped, we swayed, we added a bounce, and we laughed and laughed!!! Both times we found people laughing too around us (I believe it was with us, of course it could have been at us but it didn’t matter!). We had fun. And all with appropriate social-distancing as we worked on our individual steps!
Now it’s almost Christmas time and so many people I speak with mention that this year is not going to be fun since we are in the middle of Covid times. Others are so caught up in the news of many things that they are already setting their minds on the non-fun energies that can and do surround all of us and can take up much mental space and cover everything in what I’ll call a “non-fun” haze. This is a choice. I am mindfully focusing on the energies I would like to help create in the world and as most of you know I believe every thought, word and action matters.
So I am thinking of the Christmas fun I have had in past years at my clinics (since starting my practice in fact) of making little treat-packages for patients/clients. I used to wrap a couple almonds, a couple pistachios, a piece of candied ginger and a “fortune” for the year ahead – sometimes in an actual fortune cookie and most times just in the wrapping paper that I would tie up with ribbon and put into a little bowl for clients to help themselves to, on their visits with me. This took time to prepare; especially time to look for and print out messages to put into each little package. But boy was it fun! Especially seeing patients either open the packages right in front of me and read me the message or asking them to email their message to me if they wanted to share – and they always did!! Now I try to post daily inspirations on both my Facebook and LinkedIn pages and I find this fun too! Covid has not changed my desire to lift spirits or inspire people.
Finally, my laughing has been my ongoing fun. In my next post I will elaborate on this. For now, I would love for you to think about what things you do to create fun for yourself or the people around you. It does not have to be complicated. There is so much fun in simplicity. I hope you will and do find ways to have fun and do feel free to share what fun you are having below as I would love to read about it!
For now, I wish you a fun evening and fantastic holiday season ahead!