Editor's Note: Although summer in the US is winding down, these tips reprinted with the kind permission of Sarah Borien remain helpful.
It’s the weekend and the sun is starting to shine. The nights are getting lighter and it’s around this time I start to get that itchy Spring feeling in my bones. The one that says, come out to play! There is fun to be had!
When you suffer from a chronic pain condition it can be difficult to go out and have fun, especially if you’re in your early 30s and still associate fun with loud bars and physical activities you can no longer do.
At a risk of feeling a bit sorry for myself, I decided it was time to remind myself – and all of you – that there are many fun things to do, even if you’re aiming for a life less physical. So join me, won’t you, as we work our way through a list of 15 things to do (alone or with friends) this Spring and Summer.
(Readers, please note, it was reeeeally hard not to just list 15 different types of food to eat. Like, really hard. Food probably crops up more often than it should, but I think eating is the most fun I can have. I promise I’ve tried to mix it up with some other stuff though.)
Subscribe to the World's Most Popular Newsletter (it's free!)
Make a big deal out of Sunday brunch, either at your home or at some hipster cafe. I think Sunday brunch is the best thing in the world. Add some pre-noon Prosecco and you have yourselves a party.
Take a day trip to somewhere nearby, preferably somewhere you haven’t been before. It can be to the nearest countryside, a picturesque village or a country house. Take the day to explore, and do it slowly.
Movie night in your house is an easy one and no, that doesn’t mean falling asleep 15 minutes in to the film. It means get popcorn, get chocolates, get a blanket, close the curtains, and pause it as much as you like to adjust those aching limbs.
Meditate. I know, it doesn’t sound fun. But apparently it is. Apparently you feel pretty awesome afterwards, and surely anything that makes you feel better equals fun? Look, it’s a risky one, but I’ve been hearing good things about meditation for about 20 years so it’s worth a shot.
I warned you food would feature more than once. Take a short walk or a drive to a country pub – ideally one with original beams and a log fire. A pub lunch should always feature a good pie in my humble opinion, and you should definitely order it.. And you should have some kind of chocolate pudding; British pubs = general happiness.
Do a jigsaw. Okay okay, so this might not be everyone’s idea of fun but I grew up with big jigsaw puzzles on the dining table. My mum loves them and they’re strangely therapeutic. Good ones go on for weeks, and I really want to get one started.
Take up photography or a similar hobby. There’s so much to explore, you can take it at your own pace and you can make it as big and as time-consuming as you want.
Go for a short walk, because aren’t we always being told that a bit of exercise helps to manage the pain? The sun shining and a half hour outside can do you the world of good.
Back in August I blogged about a day painting pottery. It was one of the most fun, creative and relaxing things I’ve done in a while. I’m going back again this weekend and I definitely recommend it. See the blog review here.
It might not seem that fun to begin with, but, write something. You don’t have to share it or publish it, but it’s therapeutic and you can let your imagination run wild.
Go somewhere you’ve never been. Pick a place for a weekend, a day, or an hour that you’ve never been before. Think of somewhere the guide books recommend, somewhere the tourists go, somewhere that’s been on your list but you still haven’t made time to visit.
Go to a spa, or bring the spa to you. There’s nothing more relaxing than fluffy white gowns, all day massages, and saunas and swimming pools into the early evening. If money is no object, then you get your spa on. If, like me, you can’t afford to pop to a spa every weekend, then bring it to your home. Laze around in your dressing gown, do your nails, have a long soak in a bubble bath, light some candles, and bring relaxation and calm to your house. If that’s not fun, I don’t know what is.
When the sun’s shining and the temperature picks up, make a picnic (see – food again) and go to a field. Bread and cheese and chocolate and strawberries and all things delicious.
Write to a friend who’s far away. Not an email or a facebook message, but a handwritten card that will land on the doormat of a friend who needs to hear your voice. You never know, you might get one back – and what’s more fun than post that isn’t bills?
Have a games night. Get friends over, order a pizza and bring out the board games. You can even do it in your pyjamas and no one will care because, games night.
If I do all these things over the Spring and Summer months, I will be one relaxed and happy cookie.
Sarah Borien lives in a country cottage in Oxfordshire with her husband and their two cats. She has had fibromyalgia since 2009 and is passionate about finding and sharing new coping strategies. Sarah authors her blog, A Life Less Physical, and has written for New Life Outlook (Fibromyalgia).