In principle, treating yourself to recreational activities or wonderful things you really like or want is not wrong. In fact, we all need a good amount of it in our lives.
Why? Because it is not true that deprivation is the answer to becoming a better, healthier you. Like a Greatist article says, with an all-or-nothing attitude, you are more likely to just end up burnt out instead of achieving your goals.
But there is also the problem of being too indulgent. Without self-control, you make no progress with your health goals. How then should you approach the principle of treating yourself? Simply put, with discipline.
Make Space for Things You Enjoy
The key to a healthy lifestyle is not to flush out everything else that has no direct effect on your fitness goals. It is to build good, doable habits that you learn to find pleasure in doing.
1. Do activities you like
Everyone needs an outlet to de-stress and unwind. This gives your tired mind and body a much-needed break from your busy workday. It can take the form of many things.
Some people like to sit down, relax, and visit their favorite nail bar franchise or spa to relax. Lying down in bed and reading a book or watching some Netflix are other ways to unwind.
Others prefer to take a more active approach by making time for creative or culinary pursuits as a way to take a break. There are also those who enjoy a good workout as a reward for a good day of work.
Treating yourself will look different from person to person. The important thing about it is that you enjoy what you’re doing.
2. Eat food you like
This is where many people tend to disagree. If you’re going to pursue a healthy life, it often seems counterproductive not to get rid of ice cream, donuts, cake, and all the sugary stuff.
Again, complete deprivation works against you. While the primary role of food is to provide nourishment to your body, eating is also meant to be a pleasurable activity. If you associate your meals with deprivation, then it lets you foster a negative view of eating.
Everyone is allowed to enjoy “bad” food sometimes, so long as it is within a reasonable amount for your health and dietary needs. When you enjoy your food in proper moderation, it isn’t really bad. It is simply the practice of having a balanced diet.
Don’t make a habit of feeling guilty about liking what you eat. Instead, make a habit of enjoying what you eat, whether it’s vegetables or fruits or sweets.
Self-care =/= Self-indulgence
To have the proper view of treating yourself to wonderful things, it is necessary to understand it as a way to live out self-care. Everyday Health reports that self-care is about taking good physical and mental care of yourself to promote good health and a good lifestyle. Do away with the notions that self-care is about over-indulging.
If self-care is about staying healthy, then it also means that treating yourself is a means to stay healthy. When you treat yourself, you give yourself an outlet to relieve your stress and anxiety in a manner that still promotes overall well-being.
Aside from doing things you enjoy, there are practical ways to treat yourself as you cycle through your daily responsibilities.
1. Take short breaks
The Pomodoro Technique, developed by an Italian named Francesco Cirillo, is a method to manage time wisely.
First, decide on one task that you need to accomplish. Then, set a timer for yourself of 25 minutes, working on that one task with no interruptions during this time frame. When the 25 minutes are over, take a quick five-minute break and do something unrelated to work.
When you complete four cycles or four pomodoros, take a longer break of about 20 minutes. This simple practice keeps you from getting burnt out from over-exerting yourself at work, especially when you have deadlines to finish.
2. Journal your thoughts
So much busyness often keeps you from taking the time to process your thoughts. A great way to process is to get a pen and paper and write down your thoughts freely.
Don’t censor yourself, and don’t think about having to sound good on paper. This is simply a time to express what’s on your mind so that you are equipped to take on the next day feeling refreshed.
In the process of journaling, you are also able to learn about yourself.
Treating yourself isn’t bad for you! You simply need the proper understanding of what it means to do it and how it is tied to living healthily.