Adulting sucks. Paying bills, remembering appointments, chores, food shopping. I'm already yawning just typing this.
Remember when you were a kid and you put pegs on your nose to see if it would hurt? (or was that just me?). Putting on "plays" for your family, pulling funny faces, making fart noises with your mates. The biggest tragedy of adulthood is that we seem to forget how to play, how to have fun, how to take risks. We forget how to let go and be happy.
A lot of your inner child was lost somewhere between school and university. We grew up with expectations of "settling down" and "being a grown up" and eventually settled for mediocrity instead of holding on to that sense of fun and childlike wonder. We've been paying for it ever since without even noticing. We know there's more to life, more to happiness. It just feels a long way away in the thick of adulting.
But what if I told you that it's not too far? That you can get your inner child back (and feel like an 8-year old again) anytime you want? Here's something else to think about. Having fun and playing can be an amazing way of relieving stress and improving your mood. Here are 6 tips for how to embrace that inner Larrikin every day:
1) Smile more. Say your mantra with me: "If I smile, the world smiles back".
Smiling relaxes your face and makes you look approachable and happy (which is what we want in interactions). When you smile, your brain releases endorphins and neuropeptides so will help relieve any anxiety and stress, so you can feel more confident to let go of that adult expectation to be "sensible" (i.e boring).
2) Play with stuff.
Keep those cheeky double entendres for your playtime... I'm talking about playing around for 45 minutes straight with anything you find lying around. Something you wouldn't normally play with, like a tube of toothpaste, an empty box or loose change.
Try everything at least once - squirt the toothpaste on the mirror and draw a picture, spray perfume in the room and dance into the particles as you notice how it smells, put one coin between two cups and try to balance them... you get the idea. Believe it or not these little playtimes can also help release your creative flow, and improve focus when you get back to your work/activity.
3) Go out for a walk/skip/dance/hop/shuffle
It can be as long or as short as you like, depending on your level of comfort and how much time you've got. Just getting outdoors and away from the stresses of the day for five minutes - whether it's swaying in your living room, running up and down the stairs, or playing hopscotch with the kids - is enough to make you come back feeling less stressed and more refreshed.
4) Turn a boring adult task into a game
If you're washing the dishes, try seeing how many bubbles you can make with your soap. If you're waiting for water to boil for your tea, see how many times you can thrown the teaspoon into the pot from a distance before it starts boiling. You'll be surprised how much more quickly time passes when you've got an activity to focus, and you will have a smile on your dial when you go back to the grind.
5) Do something unexpected.
After a long day of deadlines, errands or meetings, it's easy to forget how much more exciting life can be than just working all the time.
Next time you're in line at the grocery store or waiting for your friend, do something that would normally get you into trouble when you're a kid, like running around the store, singing a song out loud or riding on the trolley with your feet up. You'll be surprised how much fun it is and you might even make some new friends. Go on - I DARE you!
6) Grab a friend and have a spontaneous "date".
Take your besties for coffee and draw pictures together in the foam, or on the napkins. Go for ice cream and eat it from the bottom of the cone, or go to the movies and throw popcorn at each other.
Not only will you have an awesome time, but you'll most likely spend all the time laughing and have a great story to tell your other friends, who are probably hanging out with their significant others instead doing boring adult things. You will be reminiscing about that for years to come.
So what are you waiting for? Get that Larrikin side of you out for all to see, get playing and have fun!
Oh, I should warn you. There's the catch... you have to not care about what people think. You have to let go of the fear of being judged.
I know, easier said than done. But the more you do it (and it takes practice), the easier and less scary it becomes to be free and spontaneously happy without worrying about what people think of you.
And trust me - they're not thinking anything bad *wink wink*. Your friends will love seeing your inner child; If anyone is judging you or criticising you - it's because they wish they could do that too. That's their issue, not yours.
Is there something you're putting off doing, because it might make people judge you? Is there a hobby you've been meaning to try but haven't yet? Maybe something you want to learn or a sport/activity you've been wanting to get into for ages but you are worried about what people will think or that they will make fun of you?
Now's your chance. In fact, you've got no time like the present! And it doesn't have to cost anything. Just get out there and have fun! CBF with what what you "should do" or how you "should act".
Take that inner Larrikin out and let them play.