Hi friends! Coming at you from the beginning of yet another busy day. This hustle lifestyle doesn’t seem like it’ll slow down anytime soon (40-hr workweek, freelance assignments, gym time, friends and family, holidays rapidly approaching), so I’m here today to share the ways I indulge without getting totally off-track.
Living healthfully is super important to me. I make every effort to exercise consistently, eat a balanced diet, and get enough sleep. This means that I miss out on some stuff: pizza for lunch, cocktails while I make dinner, sleeping in, late-night texting conversations. BUT, it also means that, when I do treat myself, it feels like a special treat. Not just a normal Wednesday.
Being conscious of these treat moments is one of my secrets to staying positive when I am overscheduled to the max. Taking 15 minutes for a treat moment re-ups my motivation, so I’m ready to keep going.
Your treat moments will likely be different than mine. But these ideas can almost always make me feel better momentarily and reset my attitude. Which means I feel better in the long-run. Win-wine (I mean win-win. Genuine typo that I refuse to correct 😜 ).
- Eat something indulgent. This one is tricky. It’s super-easy to set out to eat one indulgent thing and end up finding last year’s Christmas candy where you hid it from yourself in January. Been there.
But, and here’s the secret, if you plan the one indulgence and think of it as one treat, not the beginning of a series of treats, it can totally work. For me, this may be a trip to Andy’s Frozen Custard (concrete with peanut butter and raspberries, thank you) or ordering the fried chicken sandwich for lunch.
This tip does not work for me if I “treat myself” to the stale cookies I found in the pantry. It’s like my brain knows that the cookies were a consolation prize for the indulgence I really wanted. Eating those stale cookies is a way more consistent trigger for an emotional eating backslide than eating one perfect slice of cake.
Since I don’t keep food like this around the house, I have to go out of my way to indulge, which makes this work even better: if I know that I want to get my HyVee Chinese food for dinner (don’t judge, it’s weirdly good while also being total junk), I eat clean-as-hell the rest of the day, and the next day, too. That doesn’t mean I starve myself, but it does mean that I stay away from grains and load up on the veggies.
Purposeful indulgence is better than mindless gorging. This I know is true.
- Rest your eyes. Really.
Last Sunday, I was dead on my feet. I’d been out late the night before, had spent the day exercising and doing chores, and my eyes had the heavy, watery feeling they have before you fall asleep involuntarily in front of the T.V. I was about to go make myself coffee, but I did something different: I set a timer for 20 minutes, and I closed my eyes. Did anyone else’s parents do this? Mine did, and now I totally get why. I still had stuff to do, it was too late in the day to take a for-real nap, but I just needed to power down for a few minutes. I lay there under a cozy blanket, in the dark (since 4:30 is basically pitch-black now), and dozed.
I didn’t feel like a brand new woman or anything when the timer went off, but I did feel like I could power through the rest of the afternoon without coffee. Huge victory.
- Make time (even a little time!) for the thing you love. In a crazy busy week, the kind where I’m going,going,going from the time my feet hit the floor until bedtime, I try and find at least fifteen minutes each day to read. Sometimes this means taking an afternoon treadmill walk with my book (hey, two birds, one stone, ok?) or it can be while dinner roasts in the oven.
I love reading and learning new things, and making time for that hobby helps me feel like a crazy week is more in my control.
- Have a date night. This one is truly the hardest to pull off, for several reasons. When my weeks are busy, that means I have likely scheduled events and tasks within an inch of their lives, so rescheduling for date night feels next to impossible. BUT, with enough elbow grease, it can normally happen. Maybe the two hours of work I needed to do in the evening can happen with an early wake-up call and a desk lunch the next day.
The second obstacle is ensuring that I’m not so stressed from the week that I am a total grouch during said date night. This one I am still working on.
A date night can be theatre tickets you’ve been looking forward to for weeks, or even just wine and UNO on the couch. No T.V. though! If I want to stare at a screen without talking for hours at a time, I’ll go back to work 😂
Even spending just 20 intentional date minutes together is better than nothing. Maybe taking the time to drink coffee together before the day really starts? (Note to self: this sounds lovely, and we should actually do that more often.) It’s easier to hustle through a packed day if you start with something to smile about!
I know I’m not the only one with a jam-packed schedule. My freelance deadline is your carpool to soccer practice or marathon training or having a way-cleaner house than I do. Pretty please share your treat moments in the comments! I’m sure we all need all the ideas we can get.