How to Bring Out Your Inner Child (You’ll Feel Amazing!)
Lately, I’ve been trying to keep it light. (Don’t laugh!)
Okay, if you’re not new here – or even if you are – you probably already know that I stay busy. But you should also know that I don’t like to “hide in my busy.” That is, being busy (or even totally overwhelmed!) is not an excuse for not taking care of myself and connecting with those around me. Often, this is through food. But as I was packing up the house for our move, I found myself looking at childhood pics of my boys (and even some of myself!), and I started to think about how time passes.
These days, time seems to move quickly – but when we’re kids, it passes so much more slowly. Maybe that’s because children are unusually able to stay in the moment, totally engaged in whatever they’re doing. There’s no multi-tasking or to-do list on their minds; they’re just present. It made me want that feeling back!
So, during these carefree late-summer days, I’m calling out my inner child and adding a dose of child-like wonder to the season. For me, it’s a lot like an emotional savings account: I’m committing to being present and storing up happy, relaxing memories that I’ll then call on the next time I feel overwhelmed. Just like my [oh-so-slight!] tan, I plan to take that summer feeling into the fall and beyond.
And you can do the same! Here’s an incomplete list of ways to find your wonder – but feel free to borrow from it and add your own:
Take a Walk Outside
This is simple – get outdoors, and get moving! You don’t have to break a serious sweat to reap the mind-clearing benefits of a walk; just put your feet on the ground and go. If you have plenty of time, perhaps indulge in a long afternoon ramble. Or, if you’re feeling the “busy” descend, park a little farther from your destination and build in a short walk on your way there – and on your way back. Let the rhythm of your steps connect you to the ground, and be sure to savor the feeling of the sun on your skin or the whisper of a cool breeze in your hair, just like you would have when you were a kid. Bonus points for walking barefoot in the cool grass or on the warm sand.
Crank Your Favorite Tunes
It’s an open secret that I’m a terrible dancer, but that doesn’t keep me from it! Whether you’ve got a world-class groove or just love to sing along in the shower, playing music that makes you feel good is a great way to get into the moment. Try putting on your favorite tunes before you dive into your meal prep for the week or before sitting down with a book or magazine. After all, there’s a reason that they add soundtracks to movies – it anchors you in the moment and adds to your sensory experience (even if what you’re experiencing is responding to emails or folding the laundry).
Fill Up on Memory-Laden Meals
Nothing’s more joy-inducing than a meal associated with happy memories – because sometimes, it’s not just about the food, but what it reminds you of, too! You might feel a wave of nostalgia transport you to a special time in your life, a memorable place where you ate, the beloved person who made it for you, or some other story. Add some of those memory-laden meals to your summer repertoire to feel nourished, heart and soul – spread out the picnic blanket and make a grown-up PB & J, have some fun with a watermelon pizza, or cool down with a colorful popsicle and feel like a kid again.
Throw It Waaaaaaay Back
Summer is a perfect time to bring other childhood favorites back into your life. Entertaining? Pull out an old board game that you love! Bored with the gym? Time for a bike ride! Find your inner child and let her put your mood – and with it, this summer chapter of your food story – back on a happy track.
Take a Swim
Whether you favor rhythmic early-morning laps in a pool or splashing around in the ocean at the height of the day, being in the water on a hot summer’s day is as Zen as it gets. And bonus: no tech! Leave your phone, headphones, social media, even your fitness tracker somewhere dry and just be in the water – and in your body. Like the kid you once were, you’ll be utterly present in no time.
See, it’s really easy (and fun!) to bring out your inner child, relax, and just be right where you are, enjoying that very moment!
Now it’s your turn: What do you do to bring a sense of wonder into your life? Let’s transform the comments into a summer wonderland!