During patient consults, we talk about “the usual,” such as medication regimen, nourishment and movement. Depending on the patient, we might also discuss certain events in their life pertinent to these questions and delve into very specific pieces around sleep. These are topic areas and questions that you’d expect during a combined medicine for the mind and nutrition appointment.
But there is room for a larger – and very important question. This bigger question that I have been asking patients (and myself), is ‘What are you doing for fun?’
I ask about fun because having fun and making sure we are striving for down time and balance in our busy and challenging lives is essential. It absolutely plays a role in our nourishment, movement and mental health. If the balance in our lives is off and skewed towards there being no fun, we have limited capacity for any kind of equilibrium.
I like to understand what my patient does for fun, as this helps me get a sense for who they are as an individual. I want to understand them and learn what their outlets, values and joys are.
When I asked patients what they are doing for fun recently, these were some of the responses. Allow me to share them with you!
- ‘My wife and I are throwing me a big birthday party – outside!’
- ‘Taking walks with my dog.’
- ‘Paying attention to myself in an appreciative non-judgemental way.’
- ‘Dancing with my friends on the dance team.’
- ‘Going to a concert.’
This was one of my favorites: ‘What is fun, Robyn?’ This brought on a full belly laugh out loud moment for me and my patient!
In asking my patients about what they do for fun, I realized that I needed to be having more fun myself. In working with patients and clients I truly believe if we are not doing work ourselves, we cannot be our best as clinicians. In order for me to ask about others in a way that cares for them, I need to be sure I’m also caring for me.
Recently, for fun, I went to my first concert in two years! I love smaller venues and up-and- coming bands. A friend and I saw a group that I have been playing on repeat for months. We had a blast!
What are you doing for fun? Has fun been a priority? If it hasn’t, try giving it the attention it deserves – you deserve it!