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Lighten Up! 5 Ways To Explore Your Playful Side

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

The title screen of the blog with four kids facing away from the screeen with the title across the middle - Lighten Up! 5 Ways to explore your playful side

Have you ever been told to lighten up?

Do you take everything way too seriously?

Have you lost your sense of adventure and fun?

If you have ever been asked or have considered these questions, you may have become out of touch with the kid you have inside.

Life is sometimes hard! Being a human being on this planet has never been so challenging. The pressure can be overwhelming at times, and the best way to unwind is to unleash that inner child healthily.

Here are five ways to explore that inner world of child-like behaviours that you may have locked away deep inside so you can perceptively function as an adult.

1. Skip

A man skipping away from us on the beach.
Skip, skip to my lou!

Even if you didn't skip when you were a kid, there is no better way to tap into your awkward side of body movement than to skip around the block.

Once you desensitize yourself from people's interesting looks, you will notice a special kind of energy that skipping creates. It is playful, fluid and engages all those forgotten about muscle groups.

Practising skipping, and I am not talking with a rope, but that can work too, is an excellent way to release all those feel-good chemicals in the body while attaching to a sense of play.

Try it!

A women dancing and flinging her hair in a beautiful sunset
Dance like nobody is watching

2. Have yourself a dance


Who didn't enjoy dancing when they were young?

Now, I wasn't the kind that was first on the dancefloor as a teen, but I would frequently crank up the old cassette of Duran, Duran Hungry like the Wolf and spin around my room.

Open up the old Spotify playlist that holds those hidden classics and cut loose. Be careful not to hurt yourself!

My last dance party, which was to House of Pain, Jump around, resulted in several scrapes on my knuckles as my six-foot-one-inch body bounded around my living room.

3. Have a piece of candy

I know sugar is the new smoking, which will make this challenging for some of you anti-sugar eaters out there.

A picture of a women about to eat a chocolate covered cookie and a small chocolate at the some time

I find no harm in a periodic indulgence of a candy bar, but that is just me, especially if it is one of those childhood classics.

My favourite candy bar is a Whatchamacallitt!' I was introduced to that treat in 1978 when we used to frequent Birch Bay, Washington, a popular summer spot for us Lower Mainland Canadians.

The name itself drew me to it, and I remember trying it for the first time.

The allure of not getting it in Canada and the delicious peanut buttery taste had me sold.

We would make special trips down to the beachfront town to stock up.

Hunt down your favourite treat and occasionally and in a mindful and reminiscent way reconnect with the flavour. I recommend taking your time with it and recalling a favourite childhood memory while enjoying the treat.

A small child smiling an peeking around the corner of a brick wall
You can't see me

4. Play a game of 'Hide and Seek'

The best thing about 'Hide and Seek' is that you don't need any special equipment to play and most of us know what the game entails.

Here you get to team up with another adult or join in with a group of kids. Either way works fine.

Hide and seek is a fun way to explore the child-like creativity of finding the perfect hiding spot and the excitement of watching the seeker walk around only steps away from you.

I played a lot of hide and seek with my kids back before they became teenagers, but even now, I can entice them into a game of hide and seek in the dark.

We will turn off all the lights and blindfold the seeker, who can only use their hearing and touch to find the hider. The idea is the seeker 'tags' the person they have found. The first person tagged is the next seeker.

DISCLAIMER: I hope this goes without saying, but there is an inherent risk to this game, so be mindful of the dangers! Do not, I repeat, do not play this game on the second floor of a house where there are stairs around. Doing this will not be good. Make sure the play area is clear of obstacles before starting the game!

5. Spend time with horses

A women kneeling on the ground looking up in wonder at a horse who is looking back.
Enjoying the company of a horse in wonder

Have you spent time with horses?

These remarkable animals have a way of bringing out a child-like sense of wonder and awe that many of us lose as we grow.

Horses are prey animals and rely on their sensing and feeling abilities to stay safe. These carefully developed abilities of the horse encourage us to sense and feel more. Horses give energetic permission to be ourselves. Being connected with our emotions and body is something we did well as a kid, but many have forgotten its importance as we became adults.

I know some of these activities will push you out of your comfort zone, which they are supposed to do.

We lock away many of our childhood tendencies even though, as adults, they still call to be expressed. We do this as we are afraid of being judged or labelled as immature. The truth is that by connecting with this playful facet of ourselves, we are regulating stress and building emotional agility.

By suppressing our sense of play and exploration, we are hindering our growth. Perhaps this would be a wonderful and fun place to start bringing some lightness back into your life and the lives of those around you.


Dave is a Leadership and Life Coach living in Steveston, B.C., Canada. Dave has experience with individuals that feel stressed out and exhausted who know that they want something different.

In 2017, Dave left a career as a Senior Manager at a large Local Government organization to start Small Pause Coaching & Consulting. His philosophy about taking a pause and inviting in a new conversation, a deeper conversation, has supported hundreds of individuals and organizational clients.

He is a Certified HeartMath® Coach & Mentor, a trained Equine Guided Learning Facilitator and a Certified Coach with the ICF. Dave took his coaches training at the Newfield Network in Boulder, Colorado.

You can learn more about his work at or look him up on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook.

Dave also expresses his creativity through the Small Pause Shop, where he designs apparel that supports living life 'inside the pause.'

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