I ran a little giveaway on The Listed Home a few years ago, for some beautiful adult colouring books. The response was really fantastic and there was so much interest in them. Plus it uncovered a common theme, which ran throughout most of the comments I received. Namely, how everyone really enjoyed colouring in but hadn’t done it for years. How it was lovely to do things to improve mental health.
One comment in particular resonated with me and got me thinking.
My reader, Natalia, said;
‘I was thinking of colouring as of something that kids would do but who cares what age we are? If we enjoy it, we should do it more often!’
And it made me think. When is it we stop doing childish things in favour of being more ‘adult’?
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Putting Away Childish Things
Why (and when) do we stop doing lovely, simple, enjoyable things?
Perhaps if more adults took up childish pastimes — jigsaws, building Lego, colouring in, playing board games, making pom-poms — ‘adulting’ might be a little easier; the world might be a gentler, nicer place.
It made me think of the bible passage — 1 Corinthians 13:11.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
I don’t really like the sentiment behind this prose; I think it’s incredibly sad that once you’re an adult, you should stop doing the things you once enjoyed as a child.
Ways to Improve Mental Health
There are so many lovely pastimes that are deemed to be too ‘childish’ for adults to partake in aren’t there? But perhaps if we stopped rushing around for a little while, and took pleasure in the small things, our lives would be a lot happier and calmer as a result.
You rarely see stressed children (thankfully). Or come across little ones with depression or stress-related stomach ulcers.
The only time any of the children I know very well are mildly stressed is if they have lots of homework to do or if they’ve fallen out with a friend.
They don’t stress about how to be mentally healthy and happy; they just are. Mostly, they bowl along, from day to day, just enjoying life, playing, laughing and learning.
We could definitely take a leaf out of their book.
Maybe take a moment when we’re feeling particularly bogged down with adulthood and engage in something a little more fun.
5 Childish Things To Improve Mental Health
Grab a colouring book and some crayons and sit for half an hour, colouring in. It doesn’t matter if you go over the lines either. Or do some craft for relaxation.
Chill out, zone out and just enjoy the process.
Play a Board Game
Connect 4, Downfall and Guess Who are STILL firm favourites in our house. Love them.
Particularly matching the ‘Guess Who’ characters to real-life people from the telly (the original 1980s version is much better than the updated version for this).
Watch a Disney Film
NB — Bambi and Dumbo are real tear-jerkers so possibly avoid these when trying to cheer yourself up.
Kick a Big Pile of Crunchy Autumn Leaves
OK — this one is season dependent but I absolutely love it. It’s a brilliant stress buster and makes you feel immediately happy.
Have a Kitchen Disco
Who doesn’t love a bit of spontaneous dancing? Pop on some loud music and bust some moves.
Every child I know loves nothing more than dancing wildly to music. They look ridiculous half the time, but who cares? They certainly don’t.
Make Salt Dough
It’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon, and it’s great to get the kids involved too.
How To be Mentally Healthy and Happy
This is a valuable lesson that we should take from our littles.
Lose those stuffy old adult ties and immerse yourself in something fun for a little while. Practising mindfulness exercises is unquestionably good for our mental health but so is playing, dancing and just being a bit silly every once in a while.
Put away your inhibitions. Put away your ‘adultish things’ and start thinking (and acting) like a child once more.
Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.