Are You Having Fun Yet?

This month Dr. Amy asks the question: “What do you do for fun?” She recants a patient’s reaction to the question and why having fun is so important to health. Dr. Amy’s daughter, who is a professional fun maker, offers suggestions on how to break away from working all the time and taking the time for some levity in your life.
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I was treating a patient recently who shared with me a host of complaints: digestive issues, sleep problems and pretty severe acne. She wanted a naturopathic perspective on finding balance and getting healthier. I listened carefully to her medical history, performed a physical exam and was trying to get a sense of how I could best help her with regard to diet, an exercise plan, specific supplements and angles on stress reduction. I asked, by the way, what do you do for fun?

She stared at me and her eyes got wider and wider and she burst into tears. 

I never know when a simple question might hit a nerve.

Increasingly, when I ask that question, I either get a blank stare or reactions like above. The sheer proximity and 24/7 access to work, the relentless virtual connectedness has many people having way less fun. It’s so satisfying to work, to get the job done, but it often leaves people in a vicious cycle that does not leave enough space for healthy living in general, like getting regular exercise or preparing healthy food, let alone carving out a little time for fun. 

Some of my patients cannot remember the last time they had any fun. Some cannot recall what they ever used to do for fun.

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