Rewarding the body is in many ways also rewarding to the mind. Treats and rewards give us something to anticipate, a feeling of enjoyment in the moment, and the delight of reflecting on a positive experience. But what happens if your favorite rewards aren’t so great for you? Celebrations and personal rewards that come in the form of food–usually high in salt, fat, sugar or all three–can have a negative impact on your health. Luckily, there are plenty of non-edible rewards that can make yourself feel great without compromising your health.
Create space for daily “me time”
Removing yourself from the daily stresses of work and family life is a productive way to reward yourself and refresh your spirit. Frequent mental breaks can lower your overall stress levels and stimulate your creativity. Schedule small windows of time each day that give you space to be alone and engage in your favorite activity, no matter how trivial. Take a walk, soak in a hot bath or hide away in a quiet part of the house to watch your favorite sport or TV program. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you relax and enjoy yourself.
Receive a massage
Whether you schedule an hour-long massage at a holistic spa or simply use an electric foot massager in your own home, massage can reduce anxiety, ease muscle tension and help you achieve mental balance. Not only does regular massage unlock stress stored in your body, by opening up yourself to receive healing touch, you send yourself the message that your health and wellbeing are valuable.
Get away to a wellness retreat
Reward yourself for a significant accomplishment by scheduling a stay at a wellness retreat. Spend a week doing nothing but focusing on your physical, mental and emotional wellness. Remind yourself that your goals and desires are important. You can’t be of top service to your employer, friends or family unless you’re in top form yourself. Use your time at the wellness retreat to evaluate your priorities, reignite your personal passions and launch yourself into life’s next exciting challenge.
Schedule an exercise session
“Exercise” is probably not the first thing you think of when you think “reward,” but hear this one out. While some rewards result in the sense of immediate satisfaction, others yield delayed benefits. Though the act of exercising might not be the most enjoyable experience, however, you can anticipate the future results–a better night’s sleep, a sense of accomplishment, an improved physique–you’ll see exercise as an incremental investment in a reward that pays off down the line.
Sleep until you wake up
This is a small, great-feeling treat to reward yourself often. If your life is ruled by a strict schedule that involves waking up at a certain time every day, create a scenario (likely on the weekend) where you remain undisturbed until you wake up naturally. If you find that your body wakes up at a certain time with or without an alarm, take the time to lounge before getting up and facing the day. Stretch under the covers, enjoy the comfort of your bedding, read or watch some TV in bed. Allowing yourself to awaken gently is a fantastic way to reward yourself for the amount of energy you expend every other day of the week.
There are many ways to indulge yourself that don’t involve eating. These ideas are just a few. Just remember how important it is to take the time to acknowledge your accomplishments, big and small. Then reward yourself in whatever way feels best to you. You deserve it.