When you were a little kid, you’ de rush out of the schoolroom doors..run home, and be ready to play.

Sometimes this would be make-believe games with dolls or imaginary friends, sometimes it would be building something like a lego set that your dog would eventually step on, or perhaps it would be spent drawing coloring, or writing. Regardless of the activity, you couldn’t wait to do something fun each day.

The problem is, most of us no longer do that. We forget along the way to have fun with ourselves. We lose touch with our playful side and become these adults who embrace serious activities with serious goals. We no longer spend our free time in a state of play. Rather, we spend it hosting dinner gatherings or getting drinks with friends where we ultimately sit around and talk.

While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with this..it does leave a part of ourselves behind.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, spending time with yourself is one of the greatest gifts you receive. Spending time alone helps you process information, be more creative, and also become more productive. Time alone helps you get to know who you are and what you enjoy doing most.

In order to have healthy relationships, you need to have a relationship with yourself first.

Here are 7 ways to have more fun with yourself and help you embrace life more fully.

1. Take yourself on a date.

Truth be told, I was single until I was 25 years old and feel pretty safe saying that I am an expert at dating myself. For years, I went to the movies, took myself on dinner dates, and out to a happy hour or two…I went to museums and live concerts alone. I did everything a “couple” could do or

To some, this might sound sad and depressing, that “poor thing” sign might have left your chest. But the reality is, these moments and experiences have been some of the best of my life. I absolutely loved dating myself…and I still do.

I will never forget the first movie I went to alone…it was an Indian Jones film in 2008. The theatre lights dimmed, and I sat there with a bag of popcorn and root beer all to myself. No other greasy butter hands being repeatedly stuffed into my bag, or slurping of my straw to interrupt the pattern of consumption I had created for myself. No whispers in my ear. No one asking me to go to the bathroom with them in the middle of the most climactic moment because “they just had to pee soo bad”. It was glorious.

Moments like these not only make spending time alone special, it’s also exhilarating. You are in complete control of the date and the experience that you get to have. The number of unknowns are endless and that is where the fun begins!

2. Let’s get physical…physical.

I LOVE the gym, it is true. While these are words on a page, and you can’t necessarily see my figure…I am the scrawniest, most hood rat, gym shark, meathead you ever saw. And not because I want to be a weightlifter or do figure competitions. I simply love the joy of exploring physicality and working out.

When you work out you literally get high. This is a fact. The amount of endorphins that naturally pump through your veins are enough to leave even Miranda Priestly from Devil Wears Prada with a smile on her face. I don’t know why more people don’t work out.

Change how you view exercise, turn exercise into a game. I love to see what others are doing in the gym and then try it for myself. This turns into a giant obstacle course of sorts within the gym where I jump from one movement or exercise to the next with excitement and wonder..” Can I do that?” trickless through my mind the Steve Urkel. And usually…I can.

3. Treat yo’ self.

If you are anything like me, you probably grew up on Seventeen magazines, which slowly became Cosmo magazines once your mom stopped monitoring you, and they all said the same thing…pamper yourself. I am not one to really dive into a bubble bath or a day filled with shopping. But there are a few things I will do. And the rare moments I do them with myself end up being so precious and dare I say…fun.

Face masks are often where it is at. I love to apply a good mask to my bare face and feel its tingle as it dries firm against my skin. I started using this Aztec mud mask and it literally makes your face tingle, that I then follow up with a Vitamin C sheet face mask that makes my face feel like a moist baby bottom.

But here is the fun part, I send silly videos of myself to people…often pretending to me Mrs. Doubtfire when she shoves a cake on her face, or Damien from Mean Girls with lunch meat on my face.

Turn the mundane into the imaginary.

3. Talk to yourself.

When you speak words from your heart, you will begin to find a major sense of honesty within yourself. You gain a sense of perspective that wasn’t previously present and you know who you are on a deeper level. If that isn’t worthwhile, I don’t know what is.

This was a slow process for me and is something that ebbs and flows, it starts as allowing yourself to have honest thoughts, then those thoughts translate into honest words written on a page, and then those pages become words you can speak out loud. I absolutely love to use the app voice note on my phone to record my thoughts throughout the day or use Otter, an app that actually transcribes your audio recording. Simply hit the record button and the words you say will begin to fill the pages on your phone.

Speaking to yourself creates this fun relationship with who you are. You begin to find yourself fully present with you.

4. Make fun of yourself.

Self-deprecation is one of the most magical things someone can do. Research has found that people who regularly poke fun at themselves exhibit greater levels of emotional well-being. Not only that but, they are better leaders who gain trust due to their ability to see their own faults and take themselves lightly.

Allow yourself to see potential humor in the experiences you have. If you try something new and fail, find the silliness in the moment. I have found, the more serious I take things…the worse they often end up. It really comes down to viewing your life, and yourself, lightly and with a playful nature.

5. Have sex with yourself.

Ladies, this is something that so many don’t do. Yet, the benefits and joy that come from enjoying masturbation or self-sex are endless. It relieves stress, reduces cramp pains, and even pregnancy symptoms while also putting you in a more relaxed state of being. We can’t forget…it feels great too!

This is such a taboo and uncomfortable to talk about, and admit. Like many things, the more you masturbate, and talk about masturbating, the easier it becomes.

Embrace your sexuality and explore the beautify that is your body, mind, and soul. When you are able to fully be present with all of you and enjoy yourself, you can better know what you want when it comes to full-blown sex. And that is something you should enjoy too!

6. Learn something new…alone.

Embark on a journey to learn something new that deeply catches your curiosity and attention. A few years ago I began to take acting classes, I had shared this with a few friends who also seemed interested but ultimately signed up alone.

When you walk into new experiences with others, they will automatically have preconceived notions of how you will respond and expect you to act in certain ways. I have found that by removing the factor, I can walk into something foreign with more of an open mind and experience it in ways that surprise me.

Then, when ready…I share it with others in my life. Let me tell you, the ability to share something you love with others is unmatched. In this moment, you will feel so powerful, accomplished, and proud of who you are.

7. Take your shoes off and stay awhile, it’s time to relax.

Boredom is the spark for creativity. The more time you spend in stillness, doing nothing, the more creative you are forced into being.

We live in a world that even today, still upholds that the busiest person is the best person. And while hard work and dedication are required to succeed in life, there is something missing with this equation. In reality, taking moments to pause and slow down actually makes you more efficient in the long run and allow you to see things you wouldn’t have if you were going a million miles a minute.

Imagine you are on a train…the train of today’s life is going 100 miles per hour through the beautiful fields. But you can’t see any of the flowers out the window, you can’t smell any of them bloom and you sure as hell can’t pick any of them to put in a vase once you get home. Slowing down, and relaxing helps you see the world, to experience the world, and to learn how you, yourself, feel about it all.

If you are anything like me, slowing down fills your head with thoughts of panic, “I should be doing this…” or an anxious buzzing sensation in your body comes alive the moment you take a seat. I have found that practicing breathwork is the best way to step into relaxation without these thoughts or feelings. I love to work through guided breathwork exercises as it gives me something to focus on and fall into. Once the exercise completes, I emerge more aware of myself and loving of life.

Take a moment and ask yourself, Are you giving love to yourself? And more than that…are you accepting yourself and HAVING FUN?

You can’t receive love if you aren’t giving it. You can’t have fun with others if you can’t have fun with yourself first.

We only get one life to live and you deserve to enjoy every moment of it.

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This story first appeared on Medium.