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Month: February 2018

9 Ways to Keep your Inner Child Happy

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.

1. Playtime

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.

2. Markers

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.

3. Stickers

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.

4. Laugh

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!


Five Minutes to Greatness

Do you ever feel overwhelmed?  Stressed out and anxious – especially when looking at your to-do list, project lists, goals, or general environment?  I know I do.  I was telling my therapist a few weeks ago that exercise and decluttering my messy apartment felt insurmountable.  Like I just couldn’t get past this unseen hump of “too hard” to actually start again.  She told me to start simple.  Really, simple.  Almost stupid simple.

Only one thing and one thing only

It seemed too easy, at first, but then I got into the rhythm of it and found that this is really good advice for just about anything.  So…if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or like you can’t get over whatever stands in your way of having what you want (a decluttered apartment/house, a toned body, better health) then start really small.  Tiny, tiny, tiny. Think of an action, then ask – how can I make it smaller.  I rolled my eyes at her when we did this exercise a few weeks ago in my session, but I’m telling you – it works.

So, for the apartment – I declutter one thing a day. I pick up one thing and ask myself a few questions.  Does this need to stay or go?  If it stays, does it need to live here or somewhere else?  If somewhere else, where? If here, how can I group it with other similar items?  If I can’t do that right now, then I put it back and have a plan.  If it goes, does it get thrown in the garbage or can it be donated?  Done! Now, it’s been a few weeks so I’ve slowly moved on to doing one bin or basket or shelf or section of books.  But still, one small tiny thing.

Turtle Slow…but who won that race?

I know, you are doing the same thing I did in that session – you are saying to yourself, come on, things will never get done if I do them that slowly.  My apartment or house will still be a mess 6 months from now at this rate. Maybe, but if you don’t do anything what will it look like it 6 months? Exactly.  At best it will look the same and at worse, it will look more cluttered and drive you even more nuts!  Trust me, I thought the same thing and I said the same thing, but in just a few short weeks, I have areas cleared off enough to add some pretty – a few statues, small paintings and pieces of art, and plants to areas that were once a giant pile of mess. It makes me feel better when I look at those areas because I know this one tiny small thing is working.

Okay, sounds great…but how do you scale this down for working out?  Well, we came up with 1 down dog (yoga pose) a day.  That’s it.  Again, I decided as I was doing this that I like to get into table pose and run through a few cat/cow stretches then go into down dog, but again – one thing.  One move but with full intention and questions. How does my back feel today?  How do my legs feel?  How about those shoulders?  Where can I release stress and tension? Then I come out of the move and usually go into child’s pose for just one or two breaths. Then I’m done.  I can check off that little box.   Will I always just do one yoga pose a day?  No, probably not. In fact, I’m already working on a plan to start doing a 7-10 minute bodyweight routine in the morning with an app I found on my phone.  Because exercise doesn’t seem insurmountable anymore.  Decluttering my place doesn’t seem so “hard” anymore.  I made it easy so I could check off the DONE box and make myself feel good about my progress.

Done is better than perfect!

I like to call it 5 minutes to greatness – because I usually do my down dog and my decluttering together in one 5 minute segment and when I’m finished I feel like I can take on my whole day.  Here’s my tip – do one thing.  Just one thing today.  Don’t try to do five small things for five different areas.  Start with the thing that’s really bugging you.  Your space, your health, a goal that just seems out of reach and think of one tiny daily action you could take that would help with that.  Declutter one thing, one exercise move, write one sentence, floss one tooth – think of the smallest daily action you can take then go do it.  And then congratulate yourself. Don’t tell yourself, this is stupid – it’s too easy – it’s too simple.  NO! That’s the whole wonderful point.  Say to yourself, holy crap I did it!  I did my thing! And go on with your day. Wake up and do your thing again tomorrow and again and again and feel good about yourself and your progress.

Your turn

What small action can you take today? How can I help you?  Do you need motivation? An accountability buddy?  Drop a note below and tell me what small tiny wonderful action you’re going to take today to work on your goal.  And remember – Done is Better than Perfect!

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