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Are You in a Fun Famine?

Do you feel like every waking moment is packed with something productive and useful? When was the last time you did something solely because it made you smile? Have you played any games lately—like board games or tag? Spontaneously started a dance party or tea party with your family? Does it feel like you’re always working or thinking about work or reading some article that tells you how to work better or smarter? Does it feel like you rarely take breaks to just be, to just be silly, to just laugh? Does it feel like your days are filled with too many tedious, blah tasks?

If it does, you might be going through a fun famine.

According to Rebecca Scritchfield, a wellness coach and registered dietitian nutritionist in her excellent book, Body Kindness: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out—And Never Say Diet Again, a fun famine is: “scarcity of laughter, silliness and joy; the state of taking life too seriously; extreme absence of pleasure, as evidenced by severe facial expressions, bodily grunts, growls and sighs, and the presence of a never-ending to-do list.”

Of course, everyone’s definition of fun is different. Maybe dancing isn’t your thing. Maybe you hate board games. Which is why it’s vital to explore what fun means to you.

Scritchfield shares many wonderful tips and insights in her book on incorporating more fun into our days—whatever fun looks like for you. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Complete this sentence: “Fun is __________.” Think of at least five scenarios. Maybe it’s playing pretend with your kids. Maybe it’s attending an art gallery. Maybe it’s doing anything outside or by the water. Maybe it’s reading children’s books. Maybe it’s seeing a funny movie.
  • Infuse dull tasks with fun and meaning. For instance, here’s how Scritchfield views grocery shopping: “When I get my reusable bags and strap my daughter in her car seat, I’m not just going grocery shopping. I’m going on a treasure hunt. I look for at least one fruit or vegetable I don’t normally buy. I get excited about the possibility of discovering a new recipe or some other food trick to make my life easier. Sometimes I challenge myself to see how quickly I can get in and out of there by sticking to my list. I assign my daughter to help me spot items on the shelf. It gives me a chance to talk about food and build a positive connection to eating, which is very meaningful to me…” How can you make seemingly boring or tedious tasks a bit more enjoyable, more lighthearted, more meaningful?
  • Jot down the first activities that come to mind for these descriptions: “You can’t wait to do it again… You lose track of time… Spontaneous laughter erupts… Your spirit feels lighter… Your worries disappear…” How can you add these activities to your days?

Your days are no doubt busy. You work. You need to make money. You have many responsibilities—which you can’t ignore or put off. All of this is true and real and important. But what’s also true and real and important is: What is it all for? Because this talk of fun brings up some serious questions: How do you want to be living? What do you want to change?

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash.
Are You in a Fun Famine?

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2017). Are You in a Fun Famine?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 16, 2018, from


Last updated: 6 Oct 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2017
Published on All rights reserved.