Let’s face it: the holiday season demands a whole lot of you for others and not very much of you for yourself. Your inner parent may have the organizational and intellectual skills to keep pace with the holiday season, but your inner child may be feeling sad and angry.
Just like a child whose parent drags them from one store to the next, running errand after errand, barely eating from sunup to sundown, your inner child may throw a fit for not be getting the proper time and attention that they need. Nobody enjoys when children throw fits, especially not the recovering addict whose inner child’s tantrum can lead to relapse.
Here are 8 ways to make time for your inner child this holiday season.
1. Build something.
When I was young, my creative medium were Legos. To this day, both boys and girls love them. Children can spend hours creating and recreating entire cityscapes that exist in their minds. But if you’re like me, your Legos were thrown out the minute you left for college.
Do your inner child a favor. Go to the mall and pick up a Lego kit or any tool that helped you showcase your creativity as a child—whether that's Play-Doh, origami paper, or even Gundam robots. The time spent with your inner child “just building” will be time you won’t regret.
2. Take pictures, lots of them.
And I don’t mean selfies. Half of the fun in taking pictures for little children is discovering what might make a good photo. Make time to explore all that the holiday season has to offer by capturing whatever your inner child finds fascinating. Great shots are captured wherever there is no pressure to produce the perfect picture. Remember, we’re trying to remove pressure from your inner child, not create it.
3. Watch an animated Disney film.
Any childhood animated movie will do but there is something familiar to our inner child about eating popcorn and watching a classic Disney movie. A holiday movie can also be especially relaxing because it is distracting, nostalgic and stress-free.
4. Visit a museum.
There is a reason children’s museums are so popular. Kids love going to them! Your inner child is given free rein to be amazed at whatever he or she wants to learn more about. Does your inner child love art? An art museum it is. What about history? Plenty of historical museums can be found. Marine life? Aquariums are living, water museums. Your inner child will thank you for enjoying a worry-free afternoon.
5. Buy a coloring book.
They’re cheap, easy and you can do them anywhere. Coloring books can take you back to easier days, especially as the stress and strain of the holiday season mounts. Coloring books allow for your inner child to get lost with crayons and markers while your inner adult is able to let his or her mind wander. They’re inexpensive and usually chock-full of outlined drawings awaiting an explosion of color and artistic expression. Since they are also so portable, coloring books can put your inner child in a place where they feel safe—anytime, anywhere.
Most boys don’t like to bake, but some do. It doesn’t matter. Ingredients can be fun. When was the last time you took an entire afternoon or evening to bake? (And I don’t mean for someone else.) When is the last time you baked for you? Do you love brownies, sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin squares or chocolate chip soft-bake cookies? Then make them. Your inner child will find rest and happiness in the memories that come from baking next to mom or grandma as they got ready for the holidays.
7. Go to a trampoline park.
Trampolines have made a comeback. According to Bloomberg, data from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions shows there are nearly 1,500 trampoline centers in the U.S., “a number that's increasing by 20 or 25 each year,” says David Mandt, a spokesman for the trade group. What kid didn’t enjoy jumping on a trampoline at some point in their young life? That’s why it’s such a great way to spend time with your inner child this holiday season. Bouncing away is a great source of exercise and releases endorphins that leave your inner child happier and healthier. Just don’t break a bone.
8. Build an indoor fort, grab a flashlight and read a children’s novel.
Not everyone built forts out of blankets, sheets, pillows and whatever else they could find. But for those who did, many hours were spent playing and reading in those forts. They were escapes from the outside world. Your inner child still needs healthy escapes. Maintaining sobriety doesn’t have to be a glamorous effort. It can be as easy as reading The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew Mysteries.
By paying attention to your inner child and spending quality time with him or her, you will inevitably be able to enjoy the holiday season a bit more easily this year.
If you or someone know is struggling with recovery and seeking addiction treatment, use SoberRecovery's directory of addiction rehab centers or call us at 800-772-8219 to inquire about recovery programs.