By David Joel Miller.
Have you forgotten how to play?
Children start out life being able to play naturally. As you get older it is easy to get caught up in the seriousness of the adult role. Some people get told far too early in life that they should grow up and act like adults. Happy, emotionally healthy people discover that being able to play can be a great stress reducer. Think some about how much you used to like to play. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could put some of that playfulness back in your life?
Once you get to be an adult you may have started to think that having fun was either expensive or involved high risk behaviors like drugs, alcohol or sex. There are plenty of ways an adult can have fun that do not involve high risk behaviors. Here are some suggestions for ways to play and have fun again in ways that are consistent with a health emotional life and recovery from whatever you may be recovering from.
Plan a tour for an out-of-town guest.
Where would you take an old friend or relative if they visited you in the town you live in for the first time? Bet there are tourist attractions you have never seen right around the corner from where you live.
Are their museums, quaint shops or other things that bring tourists to your town? Consider giving yourself a tour of all those hidden pleasures. Consider checking out the tourist must see spots in your own town.
Make up an excuse to play in the dirt.
Remember how much fun it was way back when playing in the dirt? Why can’t adults do that again? Plant a garden, go digging for rocks and minerals or work on an outdoor restoration project. Find a way to get back in touch with the earth in an adult fun way.
Physical effort, the kind you just can’t do in a suit and tie is good for the body and the soul.
Offer to babysit.
Like kids but yours have grown up and moved away? Help out someone and watch their kids. Volunteer to take some kids on a field trip or coach a team. See how much fun you can have sharing your experiences and knowhow with youngsters.
Go toy shopping.
Therapists who work with children get to use this excuse a lot. A major part of the fun of toys is shopping for them. Visit a toy store. Buy some toys for you and a partner or child to play. Consider donating some toys to needy children at a holiday. Any excuse to shop for toys will do.
Remember that doing for others is often more rewarding than doing for yourself.
Plan a craft project.
Craft projects are great fun for children of all ages from birth to however old you can be. Make something to decorate your home. A small handmade thing says this is my space whether it is at home or at the office. Handmade craft projects are great gifts also.
Color with crayons.
Remember when you used to do your art? Did you draw or color? Get that feeling again! There is nothing like crayons to bring out the child in you. You do not need to be a great artist to enjoy the process of expressing yourself.
Paint some rocks.
Honest the rocks do not mind. There are plenty of them. Think of all the fun things you could make decorating a rock. This can make a great group project. Have a contest for the best painted rock.
Looking again at common everyday items in a new way can spark your creativity. What shapes do you see in the rock? Can you bring them out by adding a touch here and a line there?
Mother earth scavenger hunt.
This is a great chance to combine a competition, you know how adults like competitions, with some teamwork and the great outdoors. What would you expect to see if you walked in the park or woods? Make a list of what might be there if you looked really hard. Did you see the squirrel and the toad?
You do not have to collect things or bring them home. Just capturing the memories of the things you saw can be an exciting fun-filled adventure. Take some photos or a video. That smart phone or tablet has uses beyond social media.
Those are some of my thoughts about how to change-up the pace and have some fun even if you are an adult. But the way it can help to reconnect with your inner child if you can persuade a real small child to accompany you on this expedition. Maybe a grandchild or plan an event with a friend or neighbor who has small children and could use an outing also.
Any other ideas for how to be childlike and have fun once more? Wouldn’t it be good to get some play back in your life?
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books