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December Self-Care Challenge Day 17: Set Your Inner Child Free

During therapy sessions, when I talk to my clients about their inner child, usually it is centered around the unmet needs and trauma’s that occurred during their childhood years (ages 0-14). During these sessions we focus on healing from those unmet needs and traumas.

However, I also try to balance all this with reminders to my clients that those tender childhood years were also full of curiosity, wonderment, exploration, and discovery. As a child you relished the simple joys as well, like running around the playground, climbing trees, making mud pies, and holding pillow or snow fights with friends as you shrieked and giggled.

What if I told you all that was still in you? That the curious and joyful child was still there ready to leap out and be playful? Sometimes it is buried under mounds of responsibilities and demands, and it just needs a little coaxing to come out and play.

Today I invite you to tap into those joyful and curious characteristics of your childhood self.

How you do that is up to you. Here are a few suggestions though:

1) Recall your favorite silly/fun memory as a child. What were you doing? Let me give you an example. The one that sticks out the most for me, is the time when my family went on a late fall camping trip, and we got caught in a snowstorm. Instead of fearing for our safety and how we were going to get home, my mom broke out the trash bags she had brought, and we had an impromptu trash bag sledding party and snow fight. Afterwards we gathered around the campfire with smores and hot cocoa. I remember the gales of laughter and snow pinked cheeks as we romped and ran through the snow. This is a good memory to grab hold of as I seek my inner child.

Perhaps that means I’ll break out the trash bags and my husband and I will go trash bag sledding. Or perhaps I’ll build a fire in the fireplace, and we can roast smores and have hot cocoa. Whatever I want that is reminiscent of that favorite memory of mine.

2) What were you curious about as a child? Perhaps it was exploring the woods behind your house or taking an epic bike ride down to the grocery store, or swimming in the lake to find new and exciting fish and creatures under the water. For me it was wildflowers. Exciting right? Lol but I remember taking a guided hike when I was 8 years old and the guide pointing out all these plants that I had never noticed before and she told us what they could be used for. From that moment on I was obsessed with exploring my neighborhood and figuring out which flowers could be harvested and used for medicine or food.

Recall what made your curious today and open up that curious brain of yours again. Perhaps the things that you were curious about back then don’t hold interest for you anymore. Perhaps it is something new. For instance: perhaps you’re curious to learn how to snowshoe or ride a fat tire bike or hiking that trail people have been telling you about for years.

3) What made you laugh as a child? Perhaps it was a tickle fight with your best friend or sibling or telling silly jokes to each other so badly that you laughed so hard you couldn’t go on. Perhaps it was watching a silly movie or cartoon.

Today tickle that funny bone again. Tell all the bad mom and dad jokes you’ve been storing up in that brain of yours to a friend. Rewatch those cartoons from when you were a kid, like Duck Tales, or Scooby-Doo. Or have an impromptu tickle fight with a friend or a loved one. Let go and laugh my friends.

4) What was your favorite game as a child? Was it Monopoly? Scrabble? Cards? Hungry Hippo? Candy Land? Guess Who? Mouse Trap? Operation? Sorry? Clue? Or a game I haven’t listed?

Break out that favorite game(s) from your childhood and have a nostalgic game night! Laugh and joke and relax! No competition here! No need to thwart everyone and get boardwalk on Monopoly, or aggressively send out your hungry hippo to eat up all the marbles. Just enjoy the experience of no pressure, silly/fun games!

5) What was your favorite snack or meal as a child? Maybe it was PB & J, or melted cheese sandwich, or noodles with nothing on them. For me it was chocolate pudding. One of my favorite memories and pictures from my childhood is of my grandpa (Papa as we called him) made my little sister and I chocolate pudding and we got it all over our faces, the table, the floor and we didn’t care. We had so much fun making and then eating it with Papa, and he never once chastised us for the mess we made. 😊

What’s your favorite childhood snack or meal? Make it for YOU tonight. Revel in the memory that accompanies the meal, perhaps call up a sibling or friend and share it with them as well and talk about old and fun times.

These are just a few ideas.

Perhaps you want to build a pillow fort, or try playing the original Mario Brothers online, or go out to your favorite childhood restaurant like McDonalds, or Chucky Cheese, not because you have a kid in your life that wants to go but because YOU want to go!

The only rule to today’s self-care is to remember what it was like to be a fun, often silly and rambunctious child, and revel in that inner child.

So go be silly today my friends!

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