Reconnecting with your inner child



College is stressful. Being an adult is stressful. Will the grind ever stop? If there is a higher power, does it have any mercy for our endless toil and suffering?

It’s OK, here’s some Play-Doh.

There’s a lot of psychology behind the “inner child” within each of us — too much to get into in an editorial. Over recent years, inner child work has gained more traction as a way to heal trauma and understand our insecurities, but also as a way to just have some fun. Day-to-day life would look a lot different if we had time to do something enjoyable for the sole purpose of enjoyment.

Allowing ourselves to be consumed by work means everything we do is done for a reason, a certain end that rewards us with a grade or a paycheck. Keeping commitments shouldn’t require all of our time and energy, but when we give all of ourselves to a job or school, it’s easy to forget what it’s like to do things that don’t lead to anything.

Intentionally connecting with your inner child is one way to regain agency in your life. When was the last time you played Duck, Duck, Goose with a group of friends? The last time you sat down to color a picture or write a story? Do you remember what boredom felt like on a summer day, and the random things you came up with to entertain yourself as time passed so slowly?

There’s nothing stopping us from playing or being silly every day, no age limit to experiencing joy. Not everything we do has to be productive because even the things that seem unproductive are still beneficial, as they can bring us a sense of relief. There’s also no rule that says you have to complete all your tasks before you’re allowed to have fun.

Playing while you have other things to do isn’t procrastination, either. Time spent engaging in hobbies, playing games or doing nothing but daydreaming isn’t time wasted.

Maybe your inner child needs attention and that reconnection will help you address dissatisfaction you feel in certain areas of life. Or maybe you just need a really good laugh to remind you there’s joy to be found in small, inconsequential acts.

Either way, a can of Play-Doh is 50 cents at Walmart. Knock yourself out.