Updated: Oct 7, 2021
Eight Reasons Why Fun Needs to be Prioritised
I'm an advocate for fun in everything that I do, not because I don't take life or my business seriously though, quite the opposite.
Something is wrong in the world today as I see it. Mental health issues are on the rise for entrepreneurs as a result of the pressure they put themselves under.
We live in an instantaneous society where immediate gratification is ubiquitous. It's no wonder that people who work for themselves are feeling not just one episode of burnout, but are experiencing many, many intermittent episodes of it. No sooner has one phase of recovery passed, it's straight back on that metaphorical horse, spinning a dozen cowboy hats. Selling, planning, making, marketing, promoting, cleaning, producing...
Then there's the well-being pressure. We're stuck in this dichotomy of wearing burnout as a badge of honour whilst simultaneously promoting our understanding of well-being and adherence to the notion of it. Hail more practices to squeeze into our already busy days.
But even on top of this impossible list of everyday duties, plus well-being, plus family, friends, and perhaps even trying to have a damn life, lies yet another tacit and less spoken about pressure; attitude.
Attitude as a fun killer.
The attitude around what it takes to be an entrepreneur, to dare give oneself the title. Judgement of ourselves and of others. This is where I shake my head and roll my eyes in disbelief at the craziness that is human beings!
Judgement is everywhere and it's unfeasible and hypocritical.
Eat this, don't eat that, but also eat what makes you feel good, and don't give in to dieting.
Work hard, but take care of yourself.
Get up at 5 am and slay your day, but also rest lots and take lots of me-time.
And, to get to the point of my message to you here; do the work that you love, but don't be seen to be loving it!
The pressure to have oneself and one's work taken seriously is under further scrutiny as a female entrepreneur in a patriarchal business world.
I see it often with women in business and how they interact, either online or in person.
Ask any woman in business how she's doing and she'll almost certainly respond with "I've just been so busy" followed by a list of recent tasks at hand because women for some reason feel pressure to justify their busyness. I'm not sure where this need came from or why it still exists in the progressive 2021, but it does and it needs to change.
There's an ongoing unspoken internal dialogue "don't smile too much" "lower the pitch of your voice" "don't use too much humour" "be more assertive without sounding bossy" I doubt a man has ever had to worry about sounding "bossy" in the workplace.
I worked alongside a woman once who was particularly abrupt with our event sponsors. So much so, that one of the sponsors threatened to pull their sponsorship unless they spoke only with me. When I discussed this with her and explained that he found her manner was a little rude (which it was), her response was "I guess I come across as hard because I think like a man"
What does that even mean? I wondered. Was she referring to her own gender as weak? Was she insinuating that thinking like a man means justifying rudeness to make it in the business world? Is this a shared view of many women who feel that they somehow need to be what they see as more manlike, in order to be taken seriously?
I do not think like a man. When I am strong I am thinking like a strong woman and own that female power. I am assertive and polite, strong and compassionate because one is not exclusive of the other.
The fear of fun.
Women are scared to be seen to be having fun for fear of not been taken seriously. Read that again and tell me how sad and unfair is that? Did we all miss the memo that said just look at the way men in business behave? You only have to watch Wolf of Wall Street to see just how different the depiction of the world of male entrepreneurship is from ours.
We spend most of our lives working. All that time pretending, worrying about appearances, caring what irrelevant people think, and to what end?
It's time to reframe what is important and I say that having fun should in fact take the number one priority spot in your work, well-being, family, and life. Prioritising fun is essential and here's why:
1. Fun reduces stress.
Work-induced stress increases cortisol and too much cortisol in our bloodstream is a bad thing, leading to health issues such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Introducing fun into your day as a priority will release happy hormones which in turn work to reduce cortisol.
2. Fun increases creativity and productivity.
When we're having fun we're often thinking of new ideas and using our imagination, both processes which influence improved creativity. Taking a break to have fun is a refreshing activity that will help you to focus and increase your productivity when you return to your work.
3. Your sleep will improve.
Reduced cortisol in the bloodstream and increased levels of happy hormones make for a more restful night's sleep.
4. Fun keeps you young!
Both internally and externally, having fun keeps you looking and feeling youthful. Smile more, it relaxes your face and reduces frown lines! Laughter lines make you appear kind and approachable, especially good if you are customer-facing! Have child-like fun every day and realise just how much younger and lighter you feel.
5. Your communication skills will improve.
When we're having fun it's usually in the company of others, so it improves how we connect with each other and reduces social anxiety.
6. Need to improve your memory? Have more fun!
Reduced cortisol means a clearer mind and more space for focus and concentration.
7. Increase your energy levels.
Actively seeking out more fun and creating new experiences and memories, can significantly lower periods of anxiety and depression, both of which come with assisted fatigue.
8. Fun is a present and mindful state of being.
When you're having fun you're in the present moment and less likely to be distracted or anxious.
Something to think about:
We get one go in this life. Which of these statements make more sense to you?
you stay serious to avoid judgement from others on social media
you show a stern, professional persona at all times to prove you take your business seriously
you avoid being seen to have fun in case anyone thinks you don't work hard enough
you continue working under pressure because you feel that is what you should do
you feel unwell and unhappy most of the time because of all of the above
you live your best life, work to your own narrative and have fun in the process!
you are happy and healthy, sleep well, and rarely feel stressed
you're a better person to be around for the people you care about
you realise that you can be the change and that the actions you take can inspire others to be happier and healthier
You are the very best version of yourself when you are healthy and happy, not when you are overworked and caring too much about what others think.
How about you make the decision today, right now, to make having fun your top priority and schedule it in your diary?
Final words and my pledge to you!
Believe me when I say that I take the responsibility of curating fun events for female entrepreneurs seriously in the pursuit of what's important. I take your mental health seriously and we need to give fun its place at the table along with mindfulness, rest, self-care, sleep hygiene, and every other aspect we know to increase our well-being.
Co-Women are the supportive, FUN business family you've always been looking for. Past events have included clothes swap networking, meditations in the woods, and silent discos.
Find out why we're different at www.co-women.org