Life can be full of responsibilities and expectations: to do lists, ‘shoulds’ and obligations. It might feel as though everything has to be a bit controlled and ordered just to survive the week and to get through all the chores. Sometimes you might feel a bit weary and burdened by it all. When did life start to become so serious and stern? Once upon a time, you are sure you used to laugh and have a spring in your step as you ventured out the door in the morning. Now, you feel as though you have all but lost your sense of humour. Silliness and playfulness seem a distant memory and spontaneity has disappeared, as life has taken over.

A fantastic way to relax and refresh yourself; reigniting and lightening your spirit, is to tune in regularly to your playful inner child.

5 ways to embrace your inner child

1.Regularly engage in activities that personally lift your spirit and make your heart sing. Whether it's singing, dancing, roller-skating, riding your bike very fast downhill, comedy or music. Listen to yourself and follow your joyful energy and enthusiasm as you consider options. When absorbed in activities that you really love, it often focuses you in the present; raises endorphins and makes you feel happy.

2. Tap into your imagination; let your thoughts drift; escape for a while in your daydreams and allow your mind to relax. You might want to think about holiday destinations or career dreams or relationships. Just let your mind wander and unwind.

3. Enjoy some food in a childlike way. For many of us, food is now linked to rules, body image concerns and worries about health. Allow yourself now and then to choose foods that you really love and that taste absolutely delicious; the ones that give you the ‘yum, yum’ feeling. Make sure that you regularly gain pleasure and delight from the simple pleasure of eating.

4. Smile. Laugh. Be silly. Play jokes (kind ones)! Regularly use humour to lighten your day and to connect and bond with people around you. Choose to see the funny side of life and try not to take yourself too seriously.

5. Have a childlike attitude. Adopt a curious and questioning approach to situations. Be spontaneous about making decisions. Decide a course of action and then leap in with enthusiasm and energy. Live in the moment and enjoy the outcome whatever that might be.

Think about what might work for you personally to bring your playful child to life to enhance well-being.

If you find yourself reading this and feel very down and disconnected from your inner playful child, maybe this might be the time to think about seeking some support so you can begin to reconnect again to this part of yourself.

Harriet Frew is a therapist on the welldoing directory.