Summer comes and our thoughts naturally turn toward the freedoms that are available to us.
With longer days and more hours of sunlight, it feels as if there’s more time to do all of the things we longed to do during the winter: spend more time outdoors, sun, swim, play! Fourth of July celebrations remind us of the many freedoms we enjoy as a nation, as well.
But when it comes to our lives as women, some of us may not feel as free as we could. With so much to do each day, so many roles to play, each with a myriad of responsibilities, we don’t often give ourselves permission to do the things I mention above, including spending time alone or with girlfriends or having fun outings without our families in tow. Playing. Simply celebrating ourselves.
It’s wise to consider how much personal freedom we do allow ourselves to have. We don’t hesitate giving others permission to enjoy themselves. Oh, take a day off, we say. Sleep in. Indulge yourself. You deserve it! Excellent suggestions, but do we take our own advice? Not very often. As women who are born to nurture, we are notorious for taking much better care of others than we do of ourselves. Yet, key to taking care of one’s self is having the inner freedom to be and enjoy, not to do all of the time.
This summer, grant yourself permission to be free. Begin by taking one complete weekend off. No work, no computer, no responsibilities; no laundry, grocery shopping, or errands. Indulge in being you!
Then fit in these fun things. I’ve got eight you might like to try. If you can’t give yourself permission, I’ll do it for you. Permission granted! Let your freedom ring.
- Be outrageous. Paint your nails, wear a big floppy hat and a dazzling sundress. Put flowers in your hair. This is the season of bright colors. Wear them all at once. Don multiple bracelets and big earrings. Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, noticed that the bigger the earrings, the more self-confidence one has. So think big!
- Have girlfriend gaggles. Connect with old friends and lost friends, for friendship is a self-indulgent, but necessary, pleasure. Stage reunions, brunches, tea parties, beach parties. Laugh and reminisce together. Let the feminine energy flow and be as girlie as you like.
- Act like a kid. Play like a child. Swing, swim, blow bubbles. Buy a hula-hoop, swirl and twirl, and remember the days when you felt young and carefree. Eat ice cream without guilt. Lay in the grass and look for four leaf clovers. Languish the day away if you like. All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.
- Experiment with fun foods. Eat and grill unusual things. Get outside your food comfort zone and explore. In summer, there are many more fresh foods at our disposal, like eggplant or morels. Make exotic salads with unusual lettuces. Did you know that vidalia onions, peaches, rhubarb, and watermelon can be grilled? Delicious! Let your creative juices flow.
- Get in the car and drive. Think “Thelma and Louise” and rent a convertible, drive with the top down, wear Jackie O sunglasses, scarves flying. Go without an agenda or map and see where you land. Stop at funky restaurants. Eat local foods. Browse in galleries. Take a winery tour. Wade in roadside streams. Create day trips and select a different town to explore each time. Savor the scenery.
- Take naps. Often! National statistics reveal that over 70% of women say they feel exhausted. Allow yourself to sleep whenever and wherever you need it. In a hammock, in a lawn chair, on a blanket in a park. Let yourself goooooo …. you deserve rest, you really do.
- Do something you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t have the courage to, until now: skydive, scuba dive in a local lake, ride high in a hot air balloon. Take flying lessons. Go splunking. Climb a rock wall. The sky is the limit. Harness your fears and allow them to reveal a new you. Who knew you could be so brave?
- Stay up past your bedtime. Sit outside under a moonlit sky. Look for shooting stars. Lie on the grass and locate constellations. Build a bonfire. Wrap up in a blanket and sip hot tea. Drink wine and make a toast to the stars. Connect with the dramatic night beauty of Mother Nature and give thanks for the blessing of being here.
Summer is definitely a time to break routine and do something different. Make hay while the sun or moon shines and have fun doing it. Most of all, give yourself permission to be you, to be your freedom-loving self.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Janice Lynne Lundy is an educator, Interfaith Spiritual Director, retreat leader and author of four personal/spiritual growth
books for women, including Your Truest Self: Embracing The Woman You Are Meant to Be. Learn more, get inspired,
come home to yourself at her website, www.AwakenedLiving.com.