Latalia White, AMFT

How often have you heard an adult say, “I wish I could be a kid again?” Most kids don’t have a true understanding of the responsibilities of adulthood, so many adults look back on their childhood with a desire to gain some of the wonder, freedom, lightness, and playfulness they experienced as kids. We are especially prone to thinking this way when we are feeling bogged down by the drudgeries of everyday life, attempting to juggle work, family, health, fun, finances, love, home, etc. Life is short, and the happiest people are often willing to disregard what others think of them and embrace a childlike spirit every now and then.

If you’re thinking that you need to inject some of your childhood feelings into your adult life, try making these small switches in your normal routine:

Replace a normal workout with a physical activity from childhood.

Many people struggle with working out and regard it as a necessary evil. If this is you, every once in a while, replace your time at the gym or out on a run with something that gets you moving and allows you to forget you’re exercising. Try schoolyard favorites like jump roping, hula hooping, kickball, tag, hopscotch, roller blading, etc. For any team activities, invite some friends who you think could also use a break from adulthood (and remember that the people who would seem least likely to accept probably need such an invitation the most).

Replace a normal meal with your favorite foods from childhood.

Similarly, if cooking has become a chore, replace a meal every week or two with your favorite foods when you were growing up. You can either replicate the meal as closely as you remember it or work to update it if your tastes have changed as you’ve aged.

Find a children’s or young adult book that matches your adolescent reading interests – or reread your favorites.

Reading seems to become less magical for people over time, especially for this who had heavy reading loads in college or have to read a lot of dense material for work. Allow yourself to go back and read your favorite books from your childhood. Alternately, you could research online newer YA releases in beloved childhood genres: magic, mystery, historical fiction, graphic novels, etc. For the most authentic experience, don’t use any kind of e-reader – buy or check out a physical copy of a book.

Play with an animal.

If you don’t have a pet, find some way to spend time with animals – meet up with friends who have pets or start volunteering at a shelter. If you do have a pet, every once in a while dedicate extra time to playing with them.

Take a class in an activity you always wanted to pursue as a child.

Think back to your elementary school days; what always seemed like it would be so fun to try, but you never got around to it? Explore options in your city for pursuing a new hobby. Check out sports opportunities, arts and crafts classes, musical lessons, or anything that catches your eye. You could also pick back up on an activity that you enjoyed as a child or teen but did not pursue through adulthood.

Spend time with a child.

There’s nothing like playing with a young kid to help you feel like one yourself. Mentally check out from adult life and play with your kid, niece, nephew, godchild, etc. and remember what it was like to imagine like a child does. Build a fort, play school (and be the student), play in the dirt in the backyard, tie dye a t-shirt, draw, create stories…the possibilities are endless.

Get outside and explore nature.

Many people’s fondest childhood memories take place when they were out in the great outdoors exploring. Get out to a park, a forest, or the beach, leave your phone behind, and remember what it’s like to just feel in awe of the beauty of the great outdoors.