January 2017 has been a wild month with my schedule packed with all kinds of client work. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it even though it restricted my usual freedom to work whenever and wherever I wanted. It forced me to focus and be productive when I wasn’t with clients and I have to admit that has been very effective! And somehow, in between all the work, I still managed to keep the sense of freedom that I need to feel in order to show up as the real me and to be able to create without limitations.
That made me wonder, what is it about freedom that makes it so attractive? When we talk about wanting to feel free, what does it actually mean? How do we know when we have reached it? And last but not least, how do we add this sense of freedom into our daily lives?
Let’s start with why freedom is so attractive. Well, to be honest, why wouldn’t it be? We humans are beautiful, dynamic beings that are forever evolving and growing. We aren’t designed to be locked into a room or a box, or to tattoo labels onto our personalities. We are meant to be free to be whoever we want to be and to do whatever we choose to do. That is what drives us and motivates us: feeling that we have the freedom to build a life we love.
What about what freedom actually means? To me, it’s all about being free to be me, to work and live by my own rules, and to have the freedom to choose what to do every single day. These are all the reasons why I left the rigid world of working in a corporate and became the self-employed Happyologist®. I suspect this is also one of the reasons why horses are my spirit animals with their wild spirits – and I promise you my current competition horse Mickey definitely has one of these ;)
So how do we know we have reached freedom? In my opinion, it’s not something we reach and then stay in permanently. It’s a feeling or sensation that can last for ten seconds or perhaps even 10 days. But I’m not sure about staying in it permanently because we do also need some structure in our lives, even if we think we don’t. Habits are a perfect example of this. About 40% of our daily behaviour is based on our habits and we definitely aren’t free when we are doing them because we are on total autopilot with them. At the same time, we need these habits in our lives so that we don’t have to waste valuable brainpower or emotional energy on re-learning every single behaviour that is a habit (such as brushing your teeth, washing your hands after going to the bathroom, and drinking your morning coffee). Freedom is a wonderful thing to feel and we should definitely aspire to create it, but we can’t expect it to turn permanent.
Now comes the fun part. How do you actually create some sense of freedom into your daily life? That’s where today’s tips come into play. These are the strategies I find most effective when it comes to reconnecting me with that sense of freedom that fuels my creativity and fulfilment. I hope they will do the same for you!
1. Leave open spaces in your calendar.
These spaces should be used to do absolutely nothing or to spontaneously do whatever you feel like doing at the time. This is a really important one for me, especially because I tend to plan every hour of my day. Over the last few months I have actually planned certain mornings or evenings to do absolutely nothing. It’s ridiculous that I have to plan it in but I have realised if I don’t, it’s very likely that time slot gets filled up by something and with that my sense of freedom goes out the window.
Do this because freedom is about leaving space for freedom.
2. Schedule ‘me time’ at least weekly.
From one scheduling no-no to a big scheduling yes-yes. Make sure you book at least one morning, afternoon or evening every week that is purely “me time”. You can leave it blank and not plan anything into it, but you have to keep that time as something you do simply for yourself without having to answer to anyone else. Like taking a hot long bath without a time limit. Watching reruns of your favourite Sex and the City episodes. Drinking your favourite glass of wine whilst playing with your tarot cards. Doesn’t matter what you do or where you are, as long as it’s you spending quality time with you (and you only!).
Do this because freedom is about connecting with yourself.
3. Spend time in big, open spaces in nature.
Ideally I’m talking about spaces where you can see green as far as your eyesight goes. Imagine rolling hills, field after field, or even a big park full of trees. Wherever you can go to be fully immersed in nature, breathe in the fresh air, and feel an indescribable amount of space around you – be it physical or metaphorical.
If these options aren’t possible for you, simply seek out any green space that you can find. Maybe your balcony is covered in plants or your city has a botanical garden you can visit. The most important thing is that you are surrounded by some sort of nature and that you feel like you really have the space to breathe.
I realised how important this was to me last year when I moved my horse to the Cotswolds (one of the most idyllic parts of England) and started making overnight stays here in order to be able to ride more despite living in London. I realised how being away from the chaos of London and being surrounded by green, rolling hills for even a night halved my heart rate. I felt so calm, so relaxed and so free.
Do this because freedom is about feeling a healing space around you.
4. Let go of the people who make you feel like a prisoner.
This is a tough one but a critical one. We all have people in our lives that give us tips and tell us how we should live their lives. That’s ok – as long as they are ok with you not listening to them and doing what you know is right for you. Sometimes there are people in your life who might not accept this and might forcefully drag you into a direction you want to go. That’s when you know you’ve got to cool it and take a break from that person, or if needed and if possible, let them go completely.
I had to do this a week ago. After working with my first ever literary agent for about six months, I realised we weren’t quite a fit. We had different communication styles, different visions for the book, and different motivations behind the book. Stubborn as I am (and one that can’t be reined in!), I realised I had to let go of my literary agent to give myself the freedom to write the book my heart is yearning to write.
Do this because freedom is about being free to be you.
5. Remind yourself that you are the master of your life.
If you feel like a prisoner of your own life, it’s time to adjust your attitude or adjust your life. You are the master of your life so only you can create a life that makes you feel free. What that looks like is entirely up to you. Get clear on what makes you feel free and how you can add those things into your daily life to get your freedom back.
Do this because freedom is about creating a life that makes you feel free.
With all that said, I hope you’re inspired to turn the feeling of freedom into a daily occurrence. I want you to feel free to create whatever you want to create, to live the life you truly want to live, and to be unashamedly and wholeheartedly you. Every single day.
Now, I’d love for you to have a go at playing with freedom. What makes you feel free? What does freedom mean to you? Comment below with your insights and inspire the rest of the Happyologist® community!
If you enjoyed this post, please do share it, like it, tweet it, all of it – it’s always very appreciated it :D
With that, I wish you good luck in your adventures and until next time!
Wishing you love, light & joy,