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BLUE ZONES: Have fun and stay young

January 29, 2018 GMT

Feel like your life has done a number on your fun factor? You’re not alone.

Deadlines, bills, and crazy-busy schedules keep most of people from cutting loose and getting silly. All work and no play isn’t just dull. It negates something that’s hardwired into the human psyche, say “play experts.” So here is an assignment: Carve out some time for playtime. Find something that makes you feel like you’re floating free, happy and totally absorbed in play land.

Here are four simple ways that a busy grown-up can cut loose and play, helping to downshift and live longer.

• Find your inner artist. Haul out a water-color set, old sewing machine or woodworking tools. Dodge County has many great resources to help people get creative. Nancy’s Notions, is headquartered in Beaver Dam and offers a wide variety of fabric crafting. Twisted Sisters in downtown Beaver Dam offers a variety of do-it-yourself home décor and Jo-Ann Fabrics and Craft Store in Beaver Dam provides instruction on everything from jewelry making to food crafting. As long as you’re having a good time with no high-pressure expectations, it’s play.

• Turn a workout into play or play into a workout. Consider outside-the-box activities, such as roller skating, Zumba class, or jumping rope. Check out the open skate schedule at the Beaver Dam Family Center. Capitalize on the Wisconsin snow and go sledding on a nearby hill where both the ride down and the walk up get your heart pumping.

• Buddy up. Still think being silly is just for children? Consider volunteering to organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dodge County or local school THAT can pair you up with a student in need of a mentor. In addition to being a positive adult role model in the life of a child, be open to seeing the world from their perspective on occasion as well. Allow yourself to be reminded of the joys of being young at heart.

• Find Your Purpose. Ask yourself, “What do I truly love to do?” What do you enjoy doing so much that you get lost in the task? If you find it difficult to answer these questions, attend a Blue Zones Project Purpose Workshop. People with a strong sense of purpose live seven years longer than people without. The two-hour long, interactive workshops are free to attend and help you to begin to understand what gifts you have that are unique to you. Go to the Blue Zones Project Facebook page or bluezonesproject.com to find out more and to sign up for an upcoming workshop.

Tapping into your spontaneous, inner-child packs big benefits for your health, mood, mind and job, as well as relationships. A recent study shows it eases job strain, connects you with others and makes you laugh. So, what are you waiting for? It’s fun time.

To learn more about Blue Zones Project visit dodgecounty.bluezonesproject.com. Call (920) 212-8511 or email bluezonesprojectdodgecounty@sharecare.com with questions.

Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through improvements to a city’s environment, policies, and social networks. The project has been brought to Dodge County by Beaver Dam Community Hospital. Blue Zones Project is a division of Sharecare.