Many of us equate the idea of ‘treating’ oneself with being frivolous. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a world awash with stress and overburdened schedules that prioritizes results over well-being, it can be hard to see the merits of taking it easy.
But there are merits, and these merits can (and do) pay off mentally, physically and even financially. Don’t buy it? Then read on.
Timing is Everything
Exercising willpower is like exercising any muscle: while you need to work it to make it stronger, it gets tired if you use it too much. These days, we overwork our willpower, using it to push through our saturated schedules. The result is compromised focus, clarity and motivation. In other words, the more we put on our plates, the less we can actually eat. So we starve: mentally and physically and spiritually, we suffer.
The health consequences of excessive stress have been well-documented. They include:
- Weight gain
- Compromised focus
- High blood pressure
- Poor sleep
- Lack of energy
- Increased risk of cancer
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Increased risk of heart disease
The best way to avoid these negative outcomes is to avoid subjecting yourself to avoidable stress. This isn’t to say you should live a life of total sloth (which carries its own health risks), but that you should make time for self-care so you don’t become a ticking time-bomb of illness and despair. You can — and should — practice self-care every single day. You can do this without quitting your job or breaking the bank, too.
Make time to exercise. Try a short, 15 minute HIIT workout or yoga session. Go for a brisk walk at lunch. You don’t have to try to squeeze another unrealistic activity into your life, but almost anyone can take 15 or 20 minutes to do something good for themselves.
Mini-spa day. Every day can feel a little like a spa day, and this tiny bit of self-care can work wonders to improve your mood, the way you feel about yourself, and your entire approach to life. Treat yourself to that luxury skin cream you’ve been coveting, or those restorative under-eye patches. Give yourself a foot or hand soak. Even if it’s just 5 minutes of uninterrupted pampering, you deserve it (and need it) to be healthy.
Go to bed. We often push ourselves to stay up late, trying to get more done. However, the reality is that when we are tired, we are less focussed, and we are more likely to take twice as long to get the job done — if we can do it at all. Save yourself time and aggravation and go to sleep. You will be able to do whatever you need to (and do it better and more quickly) in morning.
Eat well. Diet is often the first thing to go when we get stressed. We go for fast food and stimulants that clog our arteries and put us at risk of serious diseases, including cancer, coronary disease and diabetes. The excuses are often that unhealthy food is more convenient and more affordable — but nothing could be further from the truth. Overtime, the amount you’ll spend on eating crap is significantly more expensive that what you’ll spend making and eating healthy meals made from whole foods. So don’t deny yourself those healthy treats you love. Stock up on them so that they are ready and waiting when you’re hungry.
Treating yourself is not only enjoyable, but necessary, so no excuses and no guilt: now’s the time to do something for you!