15 Little Things That Actually Bring The Magic Of Childhood Back To Your Boring Adult Life
Once you're an adult, it becomes very easy to get stuck in a boring, monotonous rut. The whole up/work/home/bed thing is real life for a lot of us — and often a necessary part of adulting. But it doesn't have to be that way all the time. In fact, if you bring back the magic of childhood, it's possible to have a lot more fun.
Because really, those were the days. There were games, and toys, and crafts. And of course no work to attend or bills to pay. Being an adult is decidedly less magical — especially if you consistently go about your day without so much as a laugh.
"We get stuck in a rut when we think that, to be successful, something has to be serious," health coach Maya Henry tells Bustle. "We start carving out time for specific things and we forget that there can be elements of fun ... in almost everything we do.”
For example, think how different your commute would be if you spent it playing a game instead of stressing out. Or how much more fun you'd have vacuuming if you did it to music. Sure, you'll still have to pay bills. And yes, you'll still have to go to work. But it can all be done with an entirely different attitude. If you think that sounds like a better way to live, then read on for some kid-approved ways to have more fun.
1. Have Fun With Your Food
It's fine to take a break from your usual sensible salads and expertly-prepared cheese platters. Because hey, sometimes you just need a dinosaur chicken nugget. Besides being easy to make, childhood foods bring back happy, comforting feelings, registered dietician Jessica Setnick tells me. (She also suggests dipping your cookies in milk, in case you haven't done that in a while.)
2. Actually Enjoy Your Workout Routine
While there's nothing wrong with treadmilling it up at the gym, jogging in place for thirty minutes isn't exactly the definition of "fun." And it certainly isn't how you stayed feeling great as a kid. So try some different ways of working out. Play soccer in the park with your friends, ride a bike, or dance around your apartment to (very loud) music. It may not be formal, but it still counts as exercise.
3. Be OK With "Messing Up"
Kids are great at trying new things, mostly because they aren't afraid of being "bad" or messing up, life coach Lindsay Robin tells me. This is something we never do as adults, and it makes for a very serious (and kinda boring) life. So go ahead and give yourself permission to "follow your interests and whims." Do that thing you've been wanting to do (painting? dancing?), and do it without a care in the world.
4. Make Time For Creativity
Remember when you used to open up a craft box and just go for it? We rarely do this as grownups, which is why it's so important to make time to create. "Even if one does not feel 'artistic' or 'crafty,' I often tell people to get a journal they can write or color in," says author Carrie Aulenbacher, in an email to Bustle. "It can be a gateway to exploring your mind, [and] learning about what you find 'fun'."
5. Go Ahead And Dig In The Dirt
If it's been a minute since you got your hands dirty, then I highly recommend popping outside to dig in the dirt. Or, if you want to be the tiniest bit more grown up, arrange a Plant Nite with your friends. These events are held at bars and involve creating your own (adorable) potted plant. "At Plant Nite, we see people reignite that childhood bliss of playing around in the dirt and adding dinosaurs to their micro landscapes," says Courtney Osgood, Plant Nite's head of PR and communications. "It’s so fun to watch!"
6. Forget About Your To-Do List
When was the last time you spent a few unstructured hours all to yourself? (Probably been a while, right?) "Then take time daily, just for yourself, to do whatever," Aulenbacher says. "Sculpt with kinetic sand, buy yourself some Lego, start a stamp collection. But make the conscious effort to label that time as 'play time.' Hearing the word can be powerful in helping yourself change gears from work to play."
7. Play A Game You Used To Love
I recently went to a game night with some friends and was instantly transported back to my childhood. So let this serve as a gentle reminder that games are great, and you should incorporate them back into your life. Not only are they entertaining, but trust me when I say it's very relaxing to focus on something other than work for a while.
8. Stop Stressing Out In The Shower
Your morning shower is the perfect time to review your to-do list whilst drifting off into mild panic. But it's also a good time to actually relax, and maybe even have some fun. Try switching things up by playing music, soaking in a glittery bubblebath, or expertly sculpting your hair with shampoo 'til it turns into a soapy mohawk. (I'm not the only one who did this, right?)
9. Make Sure You Celebrate Holidays
Remember how awesome Halloween was back in the day? I bet you went all out with your costume, and spent the evening hoarding pounds of candy. But now? Now you halfheartedly throw on some cat ears and call it a night. This is clearly not ideal, especially since holidays are meant to be celebrated. So go ahead and do it up on Halloween, make sure you see fireworks on the Fourth of July, and unabashedly get excited about presents on your birthday.
10. Wear Something That Makes You Happy
What was your go-to outfit as a kid? For me, it was anything bejeweled. I loved a sequined hat, or a pair of mittens speckled with gems. (Hey, it was the 90s.) In fact, I'm currently on a mission to find them again so I can feel dazzling every day. It may not be "adult" clothing, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with wearing something wild if it makes you happy.
11. Build A Pillow Fort
I remember building a pillow fort in college and watching as my roommates just about died from joy. That's because pillow forts are amazing, and should be a regular part of all our adult lives — especially when they can be incorporated into everyday activities. "While it was magical as a kid to have your own private escape, it would make a wonderful stay-in movie date night or fun sleepover as an adult," says PR expert Megan Young, in an email to Bustle. Great idea, right?
12. Make Your Childhood Dreams Happen
What did you most want to be when you grew up? Did you dream about being a rockstar, or a dancer, or an adventurer? "Pick one and then find an activity that is like a mini-version," Henry suggests. "Schedule that karaoke night, or go rock-climbing at a gym." Whatever your dream, decide now that you'll make it happen.
13. Host A Themed Movie Night
I'm all about informative documentaries and serious shows on Netflix. But sometimes you just gotta buy a bunch of candy and have a fun themed movie night. And the more you can do it up, the better. "Pick a theme like 'underwater,' choose a movie that fits, and decorate accordingly," suggests certified life coach Laurie Wolk, in an email. For extra points, make sure your clothes match, too.
14. Quit Being So Darn Serious
I know, you have a million responsibilities and a packed schedule. But it's still so important to be lighthearted and silly as often as possible. "Make funny faces at your cat, put on loud music to do the dishes, [or] sweep the floor in your underwear and socks," Henry says. Doing something kid-like will shock you out of adulthood — in a totally necessary and healthy way.
15. Hang Out With Kids
If all else fails, go hang out with some kids. Call your sister and ask to borrow your niece for the day, or take your little cousins to the park. Then get involved. Swing on the swings, instead of just watching. And go ahead and climb on the monkey bars. Sure, you'll be that grownup on the swing set, but who cares?
It's all about (finally) having some fun.
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