Summer’s here and it’s the time of year when you’re being called to enjoy the warmth and fun of the season. As a child, you may have waited all year for school to let out just so that you could swim in the lake with your friends, have outdoor parties, and lose ourselves in three months of fun. As an adult, you may or may not have the luxury of time and freedom to spend your days in a hammock enjoying the afternoon shade, but you can steal some time back to have some good old-fashioned fun.
As an adult, you may have long forgotten what it’s like to not have a care in the world—to sleep in as late as you want, to spend an entire day at the beach, or to take a real vacation. (You know, the kind where it’s all play—no work.) You may have spent your life building a career and/or building a family of your own, which means your attention is usually focused on doing, going, accomplishing, and achieving so that “someday” you can enjoy life. In today’s crazy world, it’s hard enough to carve out an hour for yourself at the end of a day, let alone giving yourself permission to fully embody summer. Those days seem a distant memory, when you weren’t rushing off to work to spend 8 to 10 hours in an office while the kids are away at camp or your friends are lunching and hanging out poolside.
But what if you could throw caution to the wind and steal back some time to let it all hang out? Wouldn’t that make the summer season just that much more enjoyable? Here’s the thing: you can do just that if you choose to put joy, happiness, and fun into the mix while still honoring your responsibilities. Adulting doesn’t have to mean life outside your work is over. In fact, you can improve your physical, emotional, and mental health exponentially by taking a break, peddling around the park, and daring to be young again at heart.
We can talk about why it’s important to have fun and we can cite research and data that proves how much better off we’ll be by enjoying life, but let’s just get right into the nitty gritty of some fun ways to spice it up this season to help bring a little of that inner you out to play. Here are 10 ways you can embody summer and bring some fun into your days.
1. Give Yourself Permission to Have Fun
First and foremost, you’ve got to give yourself permission to unwind, let loose, and enjoy life. This can be the single most difficult thing for you to do because the weight of expectation and responsibility can feel too heavy a burden to unload. At the end of the day, if you’re not giving yourself permission to have some fun, then what is all the work and worry for?
2. Go Someplace You’ve Never Been
Pack a bag, pull out a map, hop in the car, and drive. Whether it’s a day trip into the mountains, a picnic in the park, or a vacation to a destination resort, find someplace new to visit. New places bring new perspectives on life. A change of scenery can do wonders for the mind—sparking creativity and igniting inspiration. Be willing to go someplace you’ve never been. You never know who or what fun might await you there.
3. Make a New Friend
Talk to a perfect stranger. Engage in conversation with a friend of a friend at a social gathering. Connect with that interesting person from yoga class. Make a commitment to meet one new friend this summer and make a date for coffee, lunch, or a walk on the beach. Get to know this person, learn about their interests, and expose yourself to the newness and excitement that comes with enjoying their company.
4. Buy a New Outfit and Rock It
Who doesn’t love a new outfit that makes them look good and feel confident? Take yourself shopping for something perfect (even consignment and thrift stores have some chic steals!), and then create the perfect opportunity to rock it. Maybe it’s a romantic date night with your love, an afternoon romp through wine country, or a night out dancing with your girlfriends—make this outfit (and yourself) come alive! Ladies—don’t forget the power of a bright pink lip for extra “pop.”
5. Exercise Outdoors
This is so simple yet so underrated. If working out is part of your daily routine (and it should be!) get your jam on in the outdoors. There’s nothing quite so invigorating (besides rope swinging into a cold river) as exercising in nature. A run through wooded trails, a swim in the ocean, yoga in the park, or cardio and weights in the backyard can be just what the doctor ordered to change up your daily routine in summer months.
6. Lighten Up
This can mean different things to different people. When I think of lightening up, it conjures up images of not taking life so seriously all the time. Yes, you have roles and responsibilities, but let’s face it, you’re also here to experience joy, happiness, and a carefree sense of freedom and wonder in your life. Lightening up could mean dumping some of the unnecessary burdens, whether they’re mental or physical. Off-load old baggage, cut loose toxic relationships, and clean out your closet (literally or figuratively) so that you can breathe in the exhilaration of the summer season.
7. Do Something Daring
Can you recall a time in your life when you did something that was so bold, so daring, that it simultaneously scared you (in a good way) and excited you? Maybe it was taking a risk and kissing that one person you were totally into, or perhaps it was the day you moved to a new city or went skydiving. Think back to how nervous you were to do “the thing” and how absolutely ecstatic you felt after having done it. Find something you would love to do—something that, when you look back on having done it later, you’ll think to yourself, “That was SO crazy, and it was SO worth it!”—and then go DO IT!
8. Take Breaks in Your Work Day
Even the shorter blocks of time you can peel away in your work day can make the biggest difference in how you experience summer. Get breakfast at an outdoor café before heading into work to change up how you start the day. Pack a blanket and brown bag it for lunch outside in nature rather than sitting at your desk. Take 15 minutes to walk around the block to get some fresh air and clear your mind instead of powering through for several straight hours. Meditate in your car for a midday reset.
9. Try On a Fresh New Look
Tired of your same old look? Take yourself in for a total makeover. Head to the makeup counter and have one of the pretty ladies give you a fresh, dewy look to change things up. Donate clothes you never wear and take yourself shopping for some new duds. Peruse magazines or do a Google search on trendy new summer cuts and head over to the salon to give your locks some fresh, new lines. It needn’t be anything dramatic—unless that’s what’s calling you—and a new look can be an invigorating way to embrace the summer season.
Gentlemen—this is not just for the ladies. If you could use a solid refresh, this is a great time of year for you to step out with a new look as well!
10. Spoil Yourself
Remember, at the end of the day, to treat yourself to the things you truly enjoy. You are the number one most important person in your world. You have to nurture and care for yourself before you can expect to do the same for others, so take the time and be willing to invest in your self-care. Date yourself. Buy yourself fresh flowers. Sleep in. Get a facial. Go see live music—often! Take an entire day to read a great book under the shade of a tree.
Summer is here and it’s calling you to get out of your normal routine, have some fun, and let it all hang out. After all, you work hard, you’re doing an amazing job, and you deserve it.