We’ve been thinking a lot about youthfulness. We recently launched the NEW SKINLONGEVITY Long Life Herb Collection for stronger skin that looks younger, longer. And those skin-strengthening formulas have inspired us to find as many ways to boost our immunity and ensure the longevity of our minds and bodies.
Not surprisingly, we’ve been considering the toll stress takes. As we get older, we don’t have the time to explore new hobbies and play around in the way that we did as children. But this kind of exploration is a way to let go of daily stressors, blow off steam and enjoy free time.
To understand a little more about how we can keep our spirits young, we spoke with Dr. Pooky Knightsmith, mental health expert, author and educator. With experience educating teens, children and adults on mental health, Dr. Knightsmith understands that the stress faced by different ages might be different — but coping strategies can be similar.
“I often ask adults and children alike ‘what do you do just for fun,’” she explains. “I think it’s crucial that we engage in activities that we do for pure joy. It doesn’t matter if we’re good at them — in fact I often suggest it’s better if we’re not. The ability to simply exist in the moment with a smile on our face and joy in our heart means that we can always find a little happiness.”
With this idea of relieving stress and keeping ourselves feeling young, Dr. Knightsmith suggests engaging in what you may consider “childlike” activities. Her best suggestions, ahead.
Play with Board Games or Puzzles
Have a few board games lying around in storage? Instead of leaving them to gather dust and wait for a scheduled game night, play with them regularly for screen-free relaxation. “Structured games and puzzles can be a great way to have slightly more directive fun. That can remove the fear for some adults and provide a way in,” Dr. Knightsmith says. Not only is this activity a structured form of fun, but many games engage thinking skills and memory.
If you’re looking to flex your brain muscles, try solving a more complex jigsaw puzzle or word game. On the other hand, it can be relaxing to let go through a hands-on board game. In this way, Dr. Knightsmith says that board games can provide a source of connection and joint activity.
Hang Out at the Park
Not everyone has space to build a playground, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking a walk down memory lane. The games you used to play at school can give you a sense of youthful joy. Think: monkey on the ground, jungle gym climbing, jump rope, hopscotch — or as close as you can get in your local open space. Even more, “Any kind of sport can help us to feel less stressed,” Dr. Knightsmith says. “It can be great to pick up a new sport and to embrace the hilarity of our early failures and the joy of seeing ourselves learn a little too.”
You can transform some of your favorite childhood sports into something more ageless too. Loved the parallel bars? Take a beginner’s gymnastics class. Loved climbing anything in sight? Dr. Knightsmith recommends bouldering. “The fails are quite funny at times as you’re literally falling off the wall. There’s something quite releasing about that, and once you get over feeling silly and just have a laugh with it, it’s wonderful.”
Try a Coloring Book
Coloring books aren’t what they once were. Books of basic princess illustrations have been joined with intricate designs for adults. “I think coloring is powerful, as it allows you to be creative without the need to be artistic,” explains Dr. Knightsmith.
For those who are struggling with nighttime stress or disordered sleeping, this activity might give you some much needed quiet time. “The process of coloring is very calming and can be a great way to emotionally regulate. Coloring while listening to calming music can be super relaxing and get us to a place where sleep feels more possible,” she says.
You can easily find books tailored towards adults with detailed designs. On the other hand, you can choose simpler designs that are simpler to finish, such as Dr. Knightsmith’s own The Healthy Coping Colouring Book and Journal.
Pick up Something Musical
Listening to music is one thing, creating it is something else entirely. Relive your elementary school days by embracing your musical side. Try joining your local choir, order an inexpensive user-friendly instrument, or attempt to create your own mix tapes. The hands-on experience of creating music can help improve attention, memory and problem-solving abilities. But it can do more than that. Taking a break from your favorite tunes and trying out classical music can also help uncover or jump-start your creativity.
Not a musical person? Not to worry. Dr. Knightsmith recommends giving anything creative a shot. “The key is not the activity that we choose but the attitude with which we approach it. If we approach it with a sense of childlike wonder and joy and place no expectations on ourselves, then we’re likely to feel good regardless of the choice of activity.”
Illustrations by Kayla Moffatt