The ‘5 days of Play-mas’ according to real-life UK clown Em Stroud to help banish SAD this winter

As the John Lewis advert is sung by a ‘sad clown’, meet the real-life UK clown turned happiness coach who is helping adults combat Seasonal Affective Disorder this winter

5 days of Play-mas

“5 Lessons From A Clown” author and life coach Em Stroud trained in the classical art of clowning and offers unique personal development techniques that help adults embrace the importance of ‘play’

A theatre clown turned life coach is urging adults to make time for ‘play’ this Christmas by suggesting an ‘alternative advent calendar’ to celebrate the 5 days of Play-mas.

Em Stroud, 42, strongly believes that the key to maintaining everyday joy and cultivating this ahead of Christmas can help reduce stress and combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Her new book, ‘5 Lessons From A Clown’, released earlier this month on Audible, focuses on applying the critical principles of clowning to everyday life as a tool for creating space for joy to be a better version of self. One of these core principles is to ‘be playful’ which is the most important aspect that can help combat SAD.

With this in mind, Em has put together 5 suggestions for incorporating play into everyday life in the run-up to Christmas, to beat the stress of the festive season. 

Em says: “We’ve heard the phrase ‘work hard, play hard’ like we somehow need to ‘earn’ enjoyment, but I’m here to tell you that it is possible to live each day with a sense of joy that you can own simply by showing up for yourself and building confidence and creativity using clowning techniques to beat the stresses of this time of year.

We are told that Christmas is for children, however as adults if we don’t keep up our sense of play too, it can be difficult to find a route to daily joy without connection to a sense of fun.” 

One – Invent your own Christmas Character

We know the usual suspects – Santa, Rudolf and Mrs Claus, however, what if you could invent your own Christmas character? Elvis the Elf, Bouncy the 9th Reindeer, and Chris the Christmas Tree, how would they dress and what items do you have in your wardrobe that they would wear? Dress up as a completely new Christmas character today that is purely a figment of your imagination.

Two – Create a Christmas Dance Routine

Create your own viral Christmas dance to your favourite festive song or carol, and share it on social media. See if it catches on- or- if you’d prefer to keep the dancing to the four walls of your kitchen – do that too!

Three – Share board games

You may have an old favourite board game that you play every year, however, Christmas is the perfect time to discover new ones. Ask your friends, family, neighbours and extended relatives to share and swap their favourite games. It’s a really fun way to discover a new game and doesn’t break the bank!

Four – Christmas treasure hunt

It’s not just Santa who is full of surprises, creating a Christmas Day treasure hunt can be a perfect way to generate fun and excitement and add a new tradition. Get the whole family involved, young and old, hiding presents in the tree branches, in the dog’s bed or up the chimney!

Five – Christmas karaoke 

Do you think you can sing All I Want For Christmas better than Mariah? It doesn’t matter how good you are, now is the time to pick your favourite song and do it justice in your unique way. It doesn’t have to involve a microphone, get a group together and play a YouTube instrumental.

About Em Stroud 

Em Stroud is a “Corporate Clown Coach” for the brave and the curious. She works with a roster of CEOs of SMEs and global businesses using personal and business improvement techniques, including those mastered from the art of clowning. Em employs pioneering techniques learned during her classical clown training that help leaders to develop more confidence, find their creativity and have more fun. In a world where the challenges of everyday living are becoming greater, her book ‘Lessons from a Clown’ will inspire readers to be themselves, have more courage and laugh every day. Em is one of the Co-founders of the new movement ‘Laugh. Think. Play.’ and hosts ‘Clowning Around’, a top 30 podcast in the UK. She has also just delivered her second TEDx talk.

Read our previous article about Em Stroud here