Suzanne Lyons is a Play Therapist who recently went on a journey to reengage with her inner child in time for Playful May. Discover how you can channel your inner child to incorporate play into your every day life in just three easy steps!

I have a favourite book that I love to return to when I’m in need of a bit of re-balancing in my life. The book is called Spiritual Relationships by Gopika Kapoor. In the book there is a part that recently caught my eye about childhood. She says that…

“We were born complete. As children we have incredible self confidence and pride in ourselves”.

But something changes as we grow up. The book suggests that in order to feel more lightness in our life as adults we should revisit our favourite childhood memory, a time where we felt strong and whole and like we can conquer the world. While reading this I realised that I couldn’t pick out a favourite memory to focus on very easily, and being huge fan of lists and categorising, this caused much alarm! I went to remedy this immediately.

I set about sketching out a few of my golden memories from childhood, luckily I had many to choose from. Once done I looked at them all and wondered what it was they had in common, what were the themes that brought all these memories together in which I felt whole and complete. I got a list going and here were some the themes:

  • Playing
  • Games
  • Hiding
  • Dancing
  • Music
  • Outdoors
  • Nature
  • Independence
  • Running
  • Climbing
  • Team work
  • Exploring

Writing them out made it clearer for me how I would engage with the more playful child version of myself, things she liked and made her feel happy. I wanted to nurture her too.

Sometimes the idea of being playful in an adult world can be hard to imagine. It can be a hard task to think where this would fit in. How do we go back to being like a child and actually playing again? Will it be authentic?

Try these three easy steps to help channel your own inner child…

You will need a couple of things to help you along the way. Grab yourself some paper and some pens, pencils, paints or crayons.

  1. Close your eyes for a moment and allow your mind to wonder back to a favourite childhood memory. Try and remember the sensations that were part of this memory – the sounds, the smells, the weather, who was there at this time… Take some time to fully immerse yourself in the memory. If your mind takes you to more than one place, just go with it!
  2. When you have experienced your memories, take your paper and whatever creative mediums you’ve chosen and try to represent your memory or memories using colour, line and shape. Stay with your creative brain and see what happens. Remember, you don’t need to show anyone this and it doesn’t need to be a masterpiece! This is a piece of creative process that will help you to channel your inner child.
  3. Take a step back and have a look at your drawings. Try and think about the qualities and the feelings that you have represented on paper. Now, try to make a list of words that sum up the feelings you had at that time.

Take a look at your list – are there any feelings on that list that you would like to recapture? How might you go about revisiting those feelings on a daily basis? Once you have this clarity you will be able to think about how to apply these qualities into your life as an adult, which is a great place to start if you want to get some balance back.

Playful May is a great opportunity to start adjusting your work-play balance, and starting to prioritise play as part of a daily routine. Play is not necessarily an activity, but is more of a state of mind and a process of being creative and free. In play we can recapture some of these childlike qualities and get back in touch with our inner child.

Prioritise time for yourself by doing something just for the fun of it each day. Research suggests that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so if you can incorporate some play into your every day routine you should be well on your way to living a more playful life by the end of the month!

That’s what I’m going to do this Playful May, and beyond!

Join the challenge! 31 days of play begins on 1st May. Upload your playful pictures onto social media using the hashtag #playfulmay to take part! 

Reading Time: 3 minutes