Sometimes being an adult can really suck – dishes, laundry, bills, work, responsibilities – they all pile up and keep coming like a runaway train. We can’t always take a vacation day (or week or, let’s be honest, a month) when we get stressed out so it’s always a good idea to have some fun activities around to bring out your inner child.
This list might seem similar to my Self-Care list from a few weeks ago but that’s because my stress reduction techniques and my self-care techniques are one in the same, but these are more things you can do to be silly, remember that play is OK, and keep things light and easy when life gets dark and hard.
Whatever this means to you – for me, it’s singing along with my favorite pop stars but for you, it might be painting, adult coloring books, a musical instrument (just for fun – not practice or drills), or sculpting with clay. Whatever play or art or messy crafts mean to you, that’s what I’m talking about here. Get dirty, have fun, try something new, do something for fun not because you need to do it – do it because you just want to.
I love using bright colored pens or markers in my planner – it helps make my boring old stodgy to-do list brighter, more fun, gives me some instant happy feels, and can even help me color-code my tasks to keep from feeling completely overwhelmed.
This is also something I use in my planner or on my to-do lists to make me smile. Yes, I have stickers that can be useful – like a laundry basket or half-boxes to keep track of a scheduled event, but what I’m talking about here are shiny sparkly stars, cute cupcakes or coffee cups – fun stickers that literally just make me happy. I was a child of the 80s so I had stickers books and traded fun ones with friends, and this reminds me of those carefree days of my childhood.
You can watch funny YouTube videos (like this one), a comedy on Netflix or another binge site, or call up your best friend who always makes you laugh and ask them to tell you a funny story – you know they have one! Just make sure you spend a few minutes each day laughing and enjoying life.
5. Nap time
Remember when you were a small child and you ran away from nap time – well, if you can, embrace that down time now. Curl up with a good book if you can’t actually take a nap (this is me, I really have trouble falling asleep but laying down with a few chapters does the same thing). Basically, make sure you get your rest in – kids get cranky without nap time and adults get cranky when tired too.
6. Snack time
Another way kids get cranky is when they don’t have food – adults too (I mean, have you heard the phrase hangry – hungry and angry – there’s a reason) so make sure you keep good food on hand for easy snacking. Now, this is another way to add in some fun – what did you like to snack on when you were little? Ants on a log? Apple slices with PB? Teddy Grahams? Animal Crackers? Pick up something fun to snack on and actually take the time to eat, relax, and breathe – even if just for 2 minutes.
7. Pick Your Battles
I’m a parent of a 6-year-old boy, so I know all too well when to pick my battles and when to let the little guy have his say. It’s important for your inner child as well – pick your battles, if you’re trying to do something that you think is fun, but is more educational and your inner child is screaming for finger paints and a nap – then let the little one win and go do the fun, not so educational thing every once in awhile. Trust me…it will be fine!
8. Time Out
Nap times are long times of rest, but timeouts are when you are close to meltdown mode – when one more thing is going to totally make you lose it – this is when you give yourself a timeout. Even 5 minutes of deep breathing, meditation, a YouTube video, or making a really nice cup of tea can help fill your cup back up and calm the crazy. The world will not fall apart if you take five minutes, I promise.
9. Reward charts
Are you trying to implement a new habit? Drinking water or eating so many veggies a day? Then use a reward chart – make it bright and colorful, use stickers – and give yourself a real reward. You can make it any length of time you’d like – did you drink 8 glasses of water all week? Give yourself a check and a treat. Did you eat a green vegetable for one whole month? Awesome, give yourself another treat!
How do you keep your inner child happy? Do you have other ideas I haven’t listed here that work really well to keep you smiling, keep your joy shining, and pretend (even for just a few minutes) that you’re 12 again? What YouTube channels make you smile? What movies or TV shows have you been binging on? Need a list of my favorite sitcoms – go here! If we can remember the innocence and joy of childhood even as an adult, I believe we can be happier, healthier, and have more fun! Enjoy!