When was the last time you smiled? When was the last time you played?

It’s sad, but as we get older, we often forget to do this — even more so when dealing with a chronic disease such as cancer.

Our world becomes so consumed with doctors appointmentshospital visits and caring for our loved ones that we get sucked into a routine that is overwhelming and seems never-ending.

This past week(end) I attended an incredible 4-day business retreat with about 80 business owners and solopreneurs. Throughout each day, the leaders would have members of their staff or participants lead mini dance parties, which were a blast!

In those moments, you saw everyone come to life again. You could feel the energy of the room change and the lightness. So from there, we would go back to putting the pieces of our business puzzle into place. This made the whole process energizing, and there was more clarity and focus. At one point, Patrick got back on stage to lead another section and said,

Who says you can’t have fun when you’re building your business?!”

That’s when it hit me. When we’re caught in the midst of the cancer chaos and overwhelm, we often forget to laugh and play (or we’re too exhausted to.) For some of us, there’s also this belief that we’re not allowed to have fun and enjoy ourselves when our loved one is suffering. That’s not true, and it’s not honoring ourselves.

We have to consciously make an effort to say,

“In this moment, I’m going to smile and enjoy myself.”

The next time you find yourself smiling give yourself permission to really cherish that moment.

Schedule some time in your calendar to play. It could only be for 5-10 minutes if that’s all you’ve got and could include:

Here’s what it will do for you:

So I’m curious. What are you doing in your life now to have fun? What makes you smile and lighten up?

If you’re not currently doing anything, how are you going to add play to your life so that you can keep your commitment of support to your loved one and take care of yourself?

Know that there is hope even after cancer. Sometimes you just need someone to help you get there.

Photo by Deborah Kolb