Start off the New Year with a resilient spring in your step, thanks to these top tips from Ed James, co-author of new book: Be More Kid – How to Escape the Grown-up Trap and Life Life to The Full.
Kids are the best teachers we have! They cope with massive changes, learning to walk, talk, starting school – and they take most things in their stride. There is a lot of talk about ‘resilience’ at the moment and kids have this in spades, it’s their default setting.
We all still have those resources inside of us, we just need to learn how to reconnect with them. Once we can do that, we combine those resources with the wisdom we’ve gained as an adult – and the result is a pretty powerful combination! The Be More Kid philosophy is broken down into the 4 P’s – Play, Present, Passion and Purpose and here are some practical tips on how we can channel our inner kid and be more resilient during these times.
1) Stay in the moment
Think of a child at play. They are totally engrossed in what they are doing at the time. They are not thinking about what’s happening later, they are not worried about what may or may not happen in a few weeks, they are totally focused on the present. We are living through a scary, uncertain time but most of it we can’t affect. The secret is to focus on what you can control. We can have no impact on the virus, the government or even how other people behave. We can only control 2 things – our thoughts and our actions. So focus on those and ignore everything else!
Play is defined as ‘an activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation’. When was the last time you played? If ever we all needed more time to play, it’s now! It could be anything from a sport, a game, reading, painting, an instrument you used to love. Have a think about hobbies and activities you used to really enjoy that maybe you’ve lost touch with over the years and start up again.
Think about the films you used to watch as a kid, or even better the music you used to love, this is hugely powerful. Why not plan an afternoon immersing yourself in the things you used to love doing as a child. Reconnecting with those feelings is so powerful and will release the mood enhancing chemical dopamine in your brain to make you feel happier straight away.
3) Make things better for other people
One of the best ways to feel better is to make someone else feel better. We recently asked on our radio show on Heart for listeners to tell us about kids who had been amazing during lockdown and we were inundated. Kids had done so much from making and selling badges for the NHS to recording jokes and stories and sending them on email to elderly people living nearby.
One little boy’s mum was an NHS front line worker and he got up really early every day to draw a picture or write her a letter telling her to be safe and that he loved her. There are so many opportunities to help now, from volunteering through the NHS app, helping a local foodbank or homeless shelter or just offering to help any elderly people who live nearby. The one thing to come out of this pandemic is the increased sense of community spirit and there really is no better feeling than helping someone else.
4) Get the basics right
Kids have a brilliant routine forced upon them! We know this as it is us, the parents, who do the forcing! We make sure they are getting to bed, getting enough rest, eating their greens, and getting exercise. I have lost track of the times I had to convince my kids to come on a walk because it was ‘good for them’!
The point is though as adults we sometimes neglect the basics, especially during these crazy times. At the end of a stressful day, it’s easy to reach for the wine. But this can quickly turn in to a bottle a night, a later night, then before you know it, you’re exhausted, jaded and don’t feel like doing any exercise at all.
Self-care is so important, and it starts with the basics. It sounds boring but you need sleep, exercise, nutritious food and water. We would not allow it for our kids, we should not for us either!
5) Get Outside To Feel Better
I’ve spoken to many people who said the first lockdown was easier because the sun was shining. As the nights get darker and the weather feels colder many of us have felt it less easy to stay positive because we feel couped up inside. The thing to do here is to think like a kid and not let a bit of rain stop you! Get your coat on, pull up your wellies and get outside. Feel the wind and rain on your face, splash through the muddy puddles and get your heart rate up. The cup of tea and warm shower at the end will feel even better!
For more inspiration, spend just a few hours with a child. Look at their passion, the way they see the best in everything and the way they find the fun and adventure in the simplest of things. You will feel better for it and will hopefully learn some things too!