by Wendy Kittlitz
We have officially entered summer! Do I hear a collective sigh of relief? School is out, vacations are on, programs wind down and sunlight hours are plentiful! Are you ready? I know I am!
What are you going to do for fun this summer? I recommend a hearty, healthy, intentional focus on fun for your family. And we are going to help you do that!
There are some tremendous benefits derived from increasing the fun in your life. Did you know that laughter has a host of health perks? They include a reduction in stress hormone levels, muscle relaxation, lowered blood pressure, reduction in pain, a bolstering of the immune system, and it acts as a natural anti-depressant. Sounds good, right?
One of the top subjects pastors call our counselling line about is stress. When you are stressed, typically you are not a lot of fun to be around. Plus, your stress probably rubs off on family when you come home. While not minimizing the many things that may cause you stress, we do suggest that setting some of the stressors aside and having fun with those you love will help alleviate some of the pressure you are feeling and will give you a fresh perspective on your situation. Our focus can get very narrow when we are under pressure and we feel burdened.
Comedian Dennis Swanberg says this about laughter:
“Healthy relationships include laughter. Every relationship, whether it is with your spouse or your children, can be filled with joy. Laughter puts a spark in your relationships and keeps your everyday routines from creating boring ruts in your life. Because you invest humour in your relationships does not mean they lack emotional depth. In fact, the opposite is true. Humour adds new and intense emotions to your relationship. Sometimes an aversion to laughter may be a cover-up for some deep-seated fear. Being able to laugh at yourself and at situations that aren’t supposed to be funny are signs of emotional security and emotional good health.”
We want to encourage you, if you have not already done so, to start planning today what you are going to do for fun this summer! What you do is not as important as making sure you do it. I have been busy putting activities in the calendar: we go see Shakespeare in the park every summer; we go to a Vancouver Canadians baseball game at least once every summer; we plan days away and days at home, BBQs with friends and afternoons at the lake. You can also block vacation time off on your calendar or book a Kerith retreat (we still have a few spots open this summer!) I hear that laughter around the dinner table is amazing!
I would like to offer the opportunity for you to win some free resources that can help you and your family have some fun this summer! These offer great options for adding some fun to your family’s time together. If you would like to win one of these free resources, email us at [email protected] and tell us which resource you would like to receive. We will draw one winner for each item.
Be intentional. Don’t wait for your schedule to open up – busy people stay busy if they do not make time for downtime. Think about what gives you joy and make time to invest in that this summer and include some people whose presence you enjoy to multiply the impact. You will be healthier and happier for it!
Wendy Kittlitz is vice-president of counselling and care ministries for Focus on the Family Canada and executive director of Kerith Retreats. For more information about our retreats, visit Kerithretreats.ca
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