Returning to childhood joys increases happiness, de-escalates stress

Reminiscing+my+childhood+joy+of+playing+video+games+with+my+siblings+led+to+a+binge-play+of+my+favorite+Pok%C3%A9mon+games.+This+provided+me+with+incredible+stress+relief+and+a+week+of+self-care.+

Hannah Conn '23

Reminiscing my childhood joy of playing video games with my siblings led to a binge-play of my favorite Pokémon games. This provided me with incredible stress relief and a week of self-care.

Euphoria rushed through me as the Masterball clicked for the third time. I had done it! In just two days, with my head down and fingers glued to the buttons and toggle at every waking moment, I had collected the legendary Pokèmon and completed Pokèmon White (my absolute favorite of the Pokèmon games). It had been years since I had done so and the happiness the Nintendo DS game had brought me seemed quite silly. But it wasn’t! 

Having been constantly surrounded by academic and social stress, I, and so many others, have grown up so quickly. The Washington Post cites “Technology, academic pressure and a changing global marketplace [to be] helping to kill whatever remained of childhood.” The years of enjoying 2D gaming, bracelet making, card collecting, even sitting down and cracking open a book, have disappeared due to extensive school requirements, sport teams and other extracurriculars. But, committing to just a few days to truly focus on and enjoy reconnecting with my childhood game was incredibly lifting and de-stressing. 

In retrospect, bringing my Nintendo DS to school and playing throughout my classes may not have been the most productive choice, but that did not discourage me from committing all my efforts to collecting each and every gym badge and ‘Eeveelution’ as possible. Sometimes, a distraction as pure as a simple Nintendo game is desperately needed to decompose and relax from the constant stress and pressure of everyday life. 

Take a moment or two out of your day’s extensive to-do list and dedicate it to truly remembering what it means to be a kid. ”

— Hannah Conn '23

Whether such activities come in the form of video games, arts and crafts or photo collaging, I believe that students should strive to reconnect with their inner child and return to old past times that brought them genuine joy. The consistent schedule of work and no play that Staples inflicts, while preparing us for college and post-highschool life, limits the time we have as children to truly love our youth. 

In such dark times where teenagers are caught up in the detriments of social media, international news, politics and so much more, taking a few minutes out of your day (or hyperfixating for a weekend) to truly relax and focus on self-care can benefit you immensely. EveryDayHealth.com cites self-care to be essential in promoting positive and healthy lifestyles and also providing one with the proper tools to best manage stress and negative emotions.  

While I did not realize it during my excursions with my Pokèmon team, I was happily participating in a form of much needed self-care. The Health Coach Institute writes that there are seven different facets of self-care, each including various ways to properly and healthily cope with one’s surrounding environment. According to Healthline.com, reading for pleasure for just 30 minutes a day can lead to a world of benefits; including lowered blood pressure, heart rate and feelings of psychological distress. 

I encourage you to reminisce about the “good ol’ days” when all we had to worry about was which game we’d play next and how quickly it would take to draw a garden of flowers. Take a moment or two out of your day’s extensive to-do list and dedicate it to truly remembering what it means to be a kid.