I go crazy for dressing up!

Marilyn Monroe, Princess Leia and Tweedledum (Heather was Tweedledee of course) are just a few of my favorite costumes. I go wild for any opportunity to leave my normal wardrobe in the closet and I don’t wait for Halloween to get into the action. Dress-up days and events are an easy, guilt-free way to have fun at home and at work - and I love to have fun!

Since most of us will spend about a third of our lives at work, it’s important to take a break from the 9-5 routine and laugh a little. Not only does laughter reduce stress, among many other health benefits, it can also create strong bonds and a positive work environment. I seize every opportunity to join my fellow “cube-mates” for onesie day or giant hat day. My Hello-Kitty and Grinch onesies sure do make people laugh!

If you follow First Story, @firststoryorg, you have noticed I incorporate dressing up into our team building activities. I have a theme for everything! But not every theme is created equal. Keep your themes approachable for all shapes, sizes and genders. Be sensitive to different cultures and beliefs. If this is new to your office, start small with themes that are easy and inexpensive to participate in. You will see my office in shades of pink and red for Valentine’s Day, in our favorite NFL jersey during football season or as giant turkeys at Thanksgiving. If you’re short on ideas, just throw a tutu on – tutus turn everyday attire into something snazzy.

In our regular office #FeatsofStrength competitions we tend to up our game with superhero costumes, leis and hula skirts or sweatbands from the 80’s. We may have a backwards long jump competition dressed as Olympic track stars or measure our ape index dressed as – you guessed it - apes. Adding a dress up component makes an otherwise average team building activity truly extraordinary!

Important note: Have fun with your team but don’t slack off—that sends the wrong message. Balance is key. If you’re not sure what kind of fun or attire is appropriate, take inspiration from others to see where the bar is set. Don’t be afraid to participate, all work and no play makes for long work days. Where there is laughter, joy and comradery high-performance teams thrive!