Last weekend, in the middle of a very busy week and month, Jesse and I took off a day and a half to go to New York City.
Was it because we needed one more thing to do? No, it was because we are learning that it’s important to be intentional about making time for fun — especially when it comes to our marriage.
We can get so busy with life… with the things we feel like we need to do and with the things we feel should do. We can feel like we’re just rushing through life — going from one project and to do to the next.
When you’re a person like me with a very Type A, driven personality, busyness and productivity come naturally. Taking time to rest, relax, and have fun do not. But, as I’m learning, it’s very important if I want to have a healthy balance in life.
So, as we flew home from New York City, I through about three reasons why it’s important to take time for fun…
#1) It Relaxes You
We often need to remind ourselves to relax and breathe. When Jesse and I were in New York City, we left the to-do’s, the projects, and even the kids at home. It was the first time we had both left the kids with a babysitter and gone on a trip in at least three years!
It was so good to get away from all of the noise and to just breathe. And honestly, in taking time to breathe, I realized that I’d been figuratively holding my breath for months and months — never allowing myself to fully relax and unwind. It felt so good and it was so needed.
#2) It Re-Energizes You
We need to refuel ourselves. If we just go and go and go and we never take time to refuel, we’re going to feel burned out and exhausted.
I’d been feeling really tired and exhausted recently, so I found myself thinking before the trip, “Why are we going on this trip when I’m already tired and exhausted?” But, as I discovered, taking that time to step away from normal life and to just do fun stuff completely re-energized me — even though we didn’t get very much sleep on the trip!
We went to a Broadway show, we went to a really nice restaurant (something we rarely ever do!), we got to hang out with our dear friends who were in the states from South Africa, we got to take the Staten Island Ferry, see the Statute of Liberty, ride the subway, see Wall Street, go to Rockefeller Center (with about every single other person in New York City, it seemed — the crowds were insane!), and go to the World Trade Center Memorial.
On the plane ride home I kept thinking, “You know? I was tired when I left and I’m kind of tired from all the walking, but I feel so re-energized and ready to jump back into life!”
#3) It Reminds You of What’s Really Important
I feel like the quick trip away cleared my head and helped me to be able to come back to real life with a fresh perspective. It reminded me of what’s really important.
Yes, there have been a lot of to-do’s and projects and deadlines the past few months, but while those can be important, people matter so much more than projects and productivity.
My marriage is what really matters, my kids are what really matter… that’s what I want to wrap my time and life around. That’s what’s going to matter most in 25 years from now.
Some of you might be feeling discouraged right now and maybe even saying, “That’s nice for you, but there’s no way on earth we could get a babysitter and go to New York City!”
To be 100% transparent, we paid very little out of pocket for the trip. We almost always fly the same airline and stay at the same hotel chain when we travel, so this allows us a lot of perks and the ability to earn a few free flights and hotel rooms. So, we were able to get our flights for free and our hotel stay only cost us $4! We went really cheap on food (except for the nice dinner our), we walked or rode the subway most places so transportation was very inexpensive, and most of the attractions we went to were free (other than the Broadway show).
But most of you probably don’t travel a lot for business so you don’t have these same perks and maybe you don’t have any wiggle room in your budget right now for fun. If that’s the case, don’t feel discouraged. You can still make time for fun — without speaking a dime!
Get together with friends over homemade dessert and play games while your kids play in the other room. Swap afternoon childcare with another mom so you can read a book from the library or work on a project you love. Plan a family night with a themed dinner. Watch a comedy with your spouse after your kids go to bed. Try a new sport as a family or couple.
Fun comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes — and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Get creative. Think about what sounds fun for you and then start brainstorming ways to make it a reality. It will be worth it.
What are your favorite ways to have fun — individually, as a couple, or as a family? I’d love to hear!
Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun! My husband and I play basketball together or go to the outlets to window shop. It’s free and fun! : )
Rosanna Sauereisen says
In October, my husband and I spent the weekend at home without our children. We have never done this before, usually we would stay in a hotel for the two nights. The choose to do it this way because we are working really hard to pay off our house. We didn’t do any business work or work on the house, just spent the entire time together. It was so much better than either of us thought it would be. We both say we would do it again. I truly believe it is important to take time together. For me, I can always think of more work to do, but we really all need time to live.
Emma | Money Can Buy Me Happiness says
I have a plaque on the desk of my home office that say ‘Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life’. Wiser words were never spoken! I’ve just returned from a 15 month world trip with my family so I definitely try to live those words but with so many ideas and so little time – with 2 little children – it’s hard to switch off sometimes. Thanks for the reminder.
I’m glad you had fun in NYC. I live there. Your picture in the subway made me smile. You are standing by the entrance to the train I take.
-girl’s “bring & finish your craft project” night in
-cookies & cleaning – get cookies & have friends over to tackle a cleaning project together, then switch houses
-dance party in the living room (especially fun with energetic pre-schoolers)
Frugal fun out:
-go to a different neighborhood (very easy in NYC), walk around & get a snack
-free cultural events at the library
-bring a friend to Zumba (or other exercise) class
-take Christmas cards (or other holiday) with small candy & encouraging scripture verses or notes & give them out to every employee you encounter while running errands. I just did this today – makes the errands more fun & folks at the bank, market, pharmacy, pet food store, and laundromat light up.
Crystal Paine says
I love these ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!
We go geocaching. As a family, we go and let the kids sign the logs too. WE bring things to leave so the kids can take something from the cache. When it is just my husband and I going, we like to go on the well-hidden ones in the woods. Then we find a spot to sit down and make out!!! 😉 Or, at least we did that the last two times we went geocaching together 🙂
Crystal Paine says
My kids LOVE geocaching!!! I love the idea of making it a fun date for couples!
My husband and I have instituted weekly “porch time.” After the kids are in bed we go out on the porch with a glass of wine (or cup of hot chocolate!) and just talk. Those conversations and quiet times together help center me and sustain me in the middle of busy weeks!
Crystal Paine says
I just LOVE this idea!
We’ve started having tea on the couch on Wednesday nights after our kids are in bed.
My husband and I started what we call “date days” in August. He too has problems taking time off. I was finding he was squishing date nights between errands and it just wasn’t filling my love tank. So I suggested we stop weekly dates all together and start booking 1 whole day off together each and every month.
To keep them inexpensive we often seek out free events in the city we want to visit, use coupons or daily deals for meals or other entertainment, and purchase discounted gift cards for restaurants.
My husband really opens up when he is driving so I often suggest day trips that included a drive of 1 to up to 3 hours each way just so he can have time to unwind and start to open up.
We usually leave early in the morning and get home just before bed. Our children range from 13 to almost 20 so we don’t need sitters.
My favorite part of date days is always the walks we do around town that usually end in sitting on a bench somewhere enjoying the view and each others presence.
Although my husband is the one who is more inclined to always think he should be working, I am the one who has problems just sitting and doing nothing. He has taught me there is great value in being still.
The next day both of us are re-energized and ready to hit the ground running with our various jobs–as well as talking a mile a minute about what area near us we should explore next date day.
Crystal Paine says
I have LOVED seeing little peeks into your Date Days on Instagram. Such a fantastic idea!!
We simply like to walk around our neighborhood after dark to enjoy everyone else’s Christmas lights. We’re “splurging” tomorrow night to go to a dinner theater produced by the youth group at a local church. I do try to put back just a couple of dollars a week, plus the money I get from surveys and rebates so we will have money for fun activities. You’re right that just having fun for a few hours can re-energize you.
Crystal Paine says
I LOVE this! So simple and beautiful! What a great idea!
I was just telling my mom this yesterday. I’m a graduate student, and am still not finished for the semester (should be tonight). I’ve worked, it seems 12 hours a day all term. If there is a period where we do not have an assignment, the professors add other things to our schedules, like, let’s get together and read X (nothing to do with class), or, re-edit your paper so we can publish it, or go attend X conference, or go hear X present a paper at the colloquium.
The people in my department have lost touch of FUN!
So, no, I don’t think one needs to go to NYC to have fun; for me, fun will be going snow shoeing, reading a book not related to academia, baking cookies, hanging out with a friends These are simple things that when you work all the time, you can really forget. Of course, I always make up for the hard work in the summer by a lot of hiking and camping!
Crystal Paine says
I hope you have a wonderful semester break!! I love the fun ideas you have planned!
What a lovely trip! My husband loves to explore new places and have fun. I, however, am a complete homebody who has a difficult time justifying fun. You inspired me though and I just texted my husband and told him 2016 is the year we finally go away ? Thanks for the suggestion!!!
Crystal Paine says
My husband is JUST like your husband and I sound just like you! He has helped me to get over my homebody-loving personality and get out and explore and have adventure… which I’m learning that I actually really enjoy!