Advice From a Recreation Therapist


Many moons ago I was a Recreational Therapist working at Hutching Psychiatric Hospital in Syracuse, New York.  I loved my job.  I helped people rediscover some of the activities they once enjoyed in life.  As they worked with clay, played a game of basketball, cooked a meal with others, or created a piece of artwork, joy would begin to bubble up in their hearts.  Someone who was nonverbal or withdrawn would begin to share their story.  Who would have thought that a freshly baked coffee cake made in community with others or a game of badminton could be therapeutic?

Sadly we have forgotten or become too busy in life to understand that having fun is good for you!  It reduces stress, improves creativity, creates more energy, and boosts your serotonin levels which are known to improve sleep patterns.  This of course leads to a more relaxed and positive outlook on life.  I have already said it, but I want to say it again, having fun is good for you!

Last week Brenda and I took a three-day trip to Wisconsin to see some friends and check on our home.  We were a little bummed that there was no snow as we landed in Green Bay.  Brenda had prayed a little prayer, asking for just enough snow to make it look beautiful but not so much that the roads would be dangerous.  The minute we drove into our driveway the snow started to fall, and it fell hard.  Within 30 minutes the ground was covered and it looked like we were in a snow globe.  I found my Carhartt jacket, my faux rabbit hair winter hat, longjohns, and gloves and went outside to play in the snow.  For a few minutes, I felt a little foolish.  I was alone, with no grandchildren, Brenda is inside by the fireplace, and I am running around like a little kid who is seeing snow for the first time.  I quickly realized the snow was perfect for a snowman, so I started to build one.  I had so much fun!  I couldn’t wait to show it to Brenda and send a picture of it to my grandkids.  My serotonin levels were off the charts.  Who would have know making a 4-foot snowman with a scarf, carrot nose, Green Bay Packer hat, and scarf would have been so therapeutic?  There is no doubt about it, having fun is good for you!

So what are you going to do today to have some fun?  It doesn’t have to cost you anything.  You don’t need to do it for an hour.  What’s something you used to do that you could do today that would bring you joy?  Take a picture and share it with us.