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Indulgences

Take the stress busting challenge and then learn to indulge yourself a bit more

A stress busting challenge to help you invest more time in yourself and those close to you, it will pay off handsomely

Have a close look at the table below. Note in the "like it?" column the indulgences you like or think you would like to do. Note in the "last time?" column when you last did them. Print the list and use highlighter pens to prioritise. Now start to work through the list to nurture and refresh your mind, body and soul with these warm-weather indulgences.

Indulgence

like it

last time

Just before dawn, take a moonlit hike. Then sit back at your destination and watch the sunrise from a new place.

Make or buy a strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream.

Go fishing.

Escape with your partner or friend and rent a canoe.

Go horseback riding.

Hire or borrow a convertible and just drive.

Take an historic walking tour of your town or city. Visit your local library for information about self-guided tours, or call your Chamber of Commerce to see if your town offers organized tours. Build your sense of community by learning about your local heritage.

Take the kids to the zoo.

Hike through your nearest wildlife area or park.

Sit back in a chair outside with fresh iced tea and do nothing while you drink it.

Take the kids on a bike ride.

Visit your local farmer's market.

Take a comfortable chair outside and listen to your favourite music or radio programme.

Make a great big salad for dinner. Grill chicken, cut in strips, place on a bed of lettuce, and top with your favourite veggies.

Float down a river.

Run through the sprinkler with your kids.

Play miniature golf with your kids, friend or partner, or head to a nearby driving range.

For ladies, sit outside and paint your toenails. (A number of brands dry in 90 seconds). Now, put on a pair of sandals or go barefoot. Enjoy an instant energy lift each time you look down at your feet

(I cannot think of a male equivalent!).

Eat raspberries.

Play disc golf. Many communities now feature courses for "Frisbee Golf," but you can create your own in any park. Just designate a few trees as your "holes" and toss away.

Host an outdoor party or barbecue.

Find a petting zoo.

Fly a kite.

Head to the beach just to relax.

Blow bubbles.

Go inline skating.

Dine al fresco. Set a table on the patio/deck, porch, or in the middle of your garden/backyard. Outdoor dining doesn't have to mean paper plates. Use the good stuff, light a few candles, and enjoy a glass of wine. Don't forget the centerpiece of fresh-cut flowers.

Indulge in a new pair of sunglasses.

Take the kids out for an ice cream cone. Take a walk while you enjoy this warm weather treat.

Make sun tea.

Buy and enjoy some new summer clothes.

Sit on a park bench. Just sit there and do absolutely nothing.

Take off your shoes and run through freshly mown grass with anyone you fancy.

Refrigerate your favourite body spray, or make your own by adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil to a spritzer of water. Spray the cool mist on your face, the back of your neck, and the soles of your feet.

Pack a picnic and go the prettiest place you can think of.

Visit a botanical garden.

Treat yourself to a home made fruit smoothie. Blend low-fat yoghurt with your favourite fruits. Serve in an elegant wine glass or goblet.

Enjoy the summer air while providing some creature comforts. Many animal shelters need volunteers to walk their dogs. These dogs greatly benefit from the exercise and the companionship, and so do we.

Take your camera along on a walk today. Be on the lookout for peaceful moments you can capture with a photo. Get the photos printed and place them where you will see them whenever you need a quick escape.

Watch the sunset with friends or family. Focus on all of your senses. What do you see? How does the evening air feel against your skin?

Curl up with your favourite dog or cat for 10 minutes. If your dog loves fetch, head outside to throw a few Frisbees.

Walk for 15 minutes with no destination. Whether you go alone or with someone, just make sure you're outside (no treadmills). As you walk, be on the lookout for signs of summer. The smell of fresh grass clippings. Your neighbour's flowers.

Nap on a porch swing.

Go to the library or browse an online bookstore. Select a "beach book": an absorbing story you can enjoy without a whole lot of thought. While it may not be great literature, it will allow you to escape into a new world every time you pick it up. It doesn't matter how long it takes you to read the book. It just matters that it's there.

Sit somewhere quiet, preferably outside and practice some deep breathing exercises. Consciously relax each part of your body, and feel the tension melt away with each out breath.

Stop whatever you are doing, go outside and sit in the sun. Take 5 minutes to just become aware of the present moment. Try not to think about what's going to happen today, or this afternoon, or even five minutes from now. Instead, turn your attention to the details of your life . . . the way the sun feels on your face, the way your scalp feels when your hair blows in the wind, the sounds of people talking or children playing, the joy of just living.

Appreciate nature. Whether you focus on the clouds above, a distant mountain range, flowers or a tree, try to notice the details; the shape of the clouds, the individual leaves on the trees, the colour and shape of the flowers.

Invest some time in yourself and those close to you. It will pay off handsomely.

About the author:

Susie Michelle Cortright is the author of More Energy for Moms- and founder of two "just for you" websites: www.Momscape.com, designed to help busy women find balance, and BestSelfHelp.com, devoted to helping you find the most effective personal growth tools.

Visit http://www.momscape.com today and get Susie's course-by-email "6 Days to Less Stress" free. And visit http://www.bestselfhelp.com for free self-help classics.