Why does it seem like the healthy choices are always the least fun? It’s little wonder that health-focused resolutions are hard to maintain if you feel like you’re missing out or punishing yourself. That’s why it’s so important to treat yourself when it comes to your health. By coming up with ways to combine healthy habits with personal indulgences or fond memories, you can make healthy living fun again. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about tying a bow around cauliflower and pretending it’s a gift. Instead, take inspiration from these seven ways to treat yourself for health.
1. Bedroom Bliss
A good night’s sleep is key to good health. Get your rest off on the right foot side of the pillow by transforming your bedroom into a comfortable, relaxing retreat that tempts you to catch more z’s. What would make your bedroom work better for you? New pillows? New bedding? Blackout curtains? A white noise machine? A picture-perfect painting or gallery wall to fill the blank wall your TV used to fill up? You’ll still have to budget enough time in your busy schedule for sleep, so treat yourself to the inspiration you’ll need to make that change.
2. Make Treats a Treat
The problem with “everything in moderation” is our sense of moderation has been distorted. What we blissfully call moderate tends to fall closer to overindulgence. Strict diets don’t work because they make us miserable by cutting out everything we like. That’s why it’s important to keep treats a part of your diet. But the key is to keep them a treat. Don’t eat a huge bowl of ice cream every night or donuts every day for breakfast. That’s not moderation. Instead, make your indulgences a reward to look forward to, such as a glass of red wine to celebrate the end of the work week, a square of dark chocolate as an afternoon pick-me-up, or a bowl of your favorite sorbet or sherbet to celebrate a work milestone.
3. Pack Up and Picnic
There’s nothing like the warm sun to make your mouth water for tart, refreshing fruits and cool veggies. Pack a cooler of mouth-watering, healthy dishes, grab a few friends, family members or your partner, and head out for a picnic. Fun and relaxing, picnics are also a great way to make sure you’re soaking up the necessary amount of vitamin D. Just keep some sunscreen handy. Bone strengthening, immune-boosting vitamin D is great, sunburn not so much. Not a fan of the great outdoors? Compromise by treating yourself to a smoothie at a swingin’ joint with a great outdoor patio.
4. Ditch Old Dishes
Did you know big plates play psychological tricks on your appetite? It’s easy to assume a full plate is a healthy portion, which means big plates trick us into thinking we need bigger and bigger servings. Turn that trick on its head by treating yourself to new dishes. Plates marketed as salad plates are a better choice since they’re smaller than the serving platter size of modern dinner plates. Ditch your old dishes and give yourself the gift of a beautiful new set in a more moderate, calorie-friendly size.
5. Shake Your Groove Thing
Step one — gather a bunch of your favorite shake-your-tush tunes and make a one-of-a-kind dance mix. Step two — dance your heart out. You can go it solo or dance like a loon with friends or family. Have a spontaneous dance party after a long day or have a party with ridiculous dance-off contests. The point is to get up, get moving and get the mood-boosting, memory-aiding, immune-strengthening powers of music.
6. Laugh It Up
Laughter may not be the best medicine — let’s face it, there are times when you need some good old penicillin or, you know, other actual medicines — but a good giggle sure has its health benefits. Treat yourself to a ticket to see your favorite stand-up comedian, go to the newest blockbuster comedy or invite friends over to watch your favorite sitcom. Watch Friends with friends, for that matter. And don’t be like Joey – share your food with your friends.
7. Melt Into a Massage
Do you really need to be sold on a massage? The health benefits of a massage are often overlooked because it’s considered such an indulgence, but massages do an incredible job detoxifying your body. Put the “treat” in treat yourself by indulging in the professional massage of your choice. You’ll come away with less stress and tension and will likely notice your mood and sleep improve as well. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and treat yourself. It’s for your health and well-being, after all.
Jennifer Landis is a 27-year-old healthy living blogger who loves yoga, running, and dancing it out with her toddler! You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama, or by following her on Twitter: @jenniferelandis.