Connect with your Inner Child
When we were children, we were free to explore the world without the burden of adult responsibilities and expectations. We also had the benefit of a beginner's mind, and it didn’t matter too much whether we were good at doing the things we were doing or not. As we grow older, we often lose touch with that sense of wonder and playfulness. However, by reconnecting with our inner child, we can tap into those memories of creativity and joy, which in turn can help us navigate life's challenges as adults.
Here are some ways you can connect with your inner child:
Remember to play
Play is essential to children's development, and it's just as important for adults. Whether it's playing a game of catch, colouring in a colouring book, or building a sandcastle, engaging in play can help you let go of stress and connect with your sense of fun.
Spending time in nature can be a great way to reconnect with your inner child. Take a walk in the park, go for a hike, or just sit outside and enjoy the beauty of the natural world. Nature has a way of bringing out our sense of wonder and curiosity, and can help us feel more connected to the world around us.
Dance or sing
Dancing and singing are two activities that can help you connect with your inner child. Put on your favourite song and dance like nobody's watching, or sing along to your favourite tune at the top of your lungs. Let go of any self-consciousness and just enjoy the moment.
Watch a childhood movie or TV show
Watching a childhood movie or TV show can transport you back to a time when life was simpler. Whether it's a classic Disney movie or an episode of your favourite cartoon, take some time to indulge in some nostalgic entertainment.
Creating art is another way to connect with your inner child. Whether you're drawing, painting, or sculpting, creating something with your hands can be a deeply satisfying experience. Don't worry about whether your art is "good" or not – just enjoy the process of creating.
Journaling can be a powerful tool for connecting with your inner child. Take some time to write down your thoughts and feelings, and explore any memories or emotions that come up. Writing can be a way to tap into your creativity and express yourself in a way that feels authentic.
Play with a child
Playing with a child, where the child gets to decide what the game is about, can be a great way to connect with your own inner child. Whether it's playing a game, reading a book, or just goofing around, spending time with a child can help you tap into a sense of playfulness and curiosity.
Connecting with your inner child can be a transformative experience.The playfulness and curiosity you had as a child is still there, you just need to look for it. So take some time to engage in play, spend time in nature, create art, or just indulge in some nostalgic entertainment. Your inner child will thank you.
If you are interested, you can click here and see my ongoing art series called "Inner Child".
Holistic Mental Training
In addition to trying to incorporate a good work schedule for myself as an artist, I have also recently tried to find a more holistic way to live my life and to train my mind in general. The great life/work balance that is often so elusive, but that just about everyone strives for, is not something I always have, so I am exploring ways I can help myself find more balance. A holistic approach to mental training as an artist involves addressing multiple facets of your life and well-being, not just the “art side”. It recognises that mental health is interconnected with various aspects of your life, including physical health, emotional well-being, social connections, and spiritual fulfilment.
Below is a list of some key elements of a holistic approach to mental training for artists that I have found helpful:
1. Mindfulness and Meditation: By practising mindfulness and meditation you can develop greater self-awareness, manage stress and anxiety, and improve focus and concentration. The Headspace app has been very helpful for me, especially their guided meditations, but also other resources like The Wake Up and the small expert guidance animations. My daughter isn’t interested in meditating, yet, but she does enjoy the animations and the sleepcasts, so I am thinking it is a way to get her used to the idea of mindfulness and how important it is, until she is ready to try meditating more regularly.
2. Physical Health: Engaging in regular exercise, eating a nutritious diet, and getting adequate sleep are important for maintaining good physical health, which can have a positive impact on mental health. This might include a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching. A holistic approach would also consider incorporating activities like yoga, tai chi, or meditation to enhance mindfulness and relaxation. Find an activity that fits your personality and fitness level, and if you have a hard time finding a way to move that suits you, try to connect with your inner child, and see if you can pick up something you enjoyed when you were a child.
3. Nutrition: A healthy diet is essential for physical strength, but it also plays a significant role in mental health. A holistic approach would involve eating a variety of whole foods, avoiding processed foods, and limiting sugar and alcohol intake. It would also consider any dietary restrictions or sensitivities that may affect overall health. I, for example, need to be careful with caffeine and too much bread, they give me terrible heart palpitations which is very uncomfortable. I also try to remember to drink enough water throughout the day.
4. Emotional Well-being: Developing emotional intelligence, learning healthy coping mechanisms, and practising self-care are all important for improving emotional well-being and resilience. Here in Denmark we have the perfect word: “pyt”. It translates to “oh well” or “nevermind”, and children are taught to press the “pyt button” when something upsetting happens. Conveniently the “pyt button” is usually your belly button, so it is always with you. Even now when my daughter is ten, we use the pyt button a lot, and it does work. We even have an actual pyt button we can push when we feel overwhelmed (which is actually just a pincushion, but it does the trick!) A resource for emotional intelligence that I really enjoy is EQ Applied. Justin Bariso has a very well written and helpful newsletter with a lot of free, actionable advice, a podcast, books and more. It is a great resource for learning more about emotional intelligence.
5. Social Connections: Building and maintaining positive relationships with family, friends, and community members can provide social support and help you feel more connected and fulfilled as social connections are essential for mental health. Seeking professional help from a therapist when needed is also a good option. I must admit this is the hardest for me. I am very socially challenged, not because I don’t like people, but I just never know what to say or do, and I am terrible at starting conversions or mingling. FInd me in a corner, waiting for enough time to pass so I can justifiably leave to go home to my cats, plants and books. I am trying though, and online communities are a good place to start. There are so many options online for both paid memberships or free Facebook groups, so do a bit of research, and find the best one for you. I am enjoying The Art Queens, which is a paid membership, and the price is totally worth it with the amount of content you get: live classes, meditations, coaching etc.
6. Spiritual Fulfilment: Whatever spiritual fulfilment means to you, whether it is volunteering, practising religion, or engaging in creative pursuits, the important part is that they give you a sense of purpose, meaning, and fulfilment. I like being in nature, getting my hands dirty planting flowers in my balcony garden, or reading. I also enjoy listening to music, and my mood is very dictated by the types of music I choose. Embrace what fills you up, and make you happy, and if you have a hard time remembering what brings you joy, try to connect with your inner child.
7. Sleep: It is crucial for physical and mental health to establish a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing sleep environment, and practising good sleep hygiene. I need between 7-8 hours of sleep at night, and I need my room to be cool and dark. A hack I have to quiet my head is to read for 10-20 minutes before I go to sleep. It helps me empty my brain from all the impressions of the day. Another thing I try to do every night before sleep is to write three things, big or small, I feel grateful for in order to end the day on a positive note.
These are only a few ideas to how you can add a more holistic approach to living your life. It can help you develop the skills and resilience needed to navigate life's challenges and achieve greater overall well-being. If you have any additional tips on how to develop a more holistic way of life, I would love to hear it. Please connect with me on Instagram.
Disclaimer: I have linked to a few websites in the article, and I am not affiliated with any of them. They are resources that I genuinely enjoy, and that I think others might find helpful.