This morning, a health client texted me an update and said “Sugar detox is going well; 2 cardio sessions since we talked. I’m buying myself flowers today.” (How awesome is she?!) It got me thinking about the ways we reward and celebrate ourselves. This Valentine’s Day, I am sharing some ideas tied to the 5 senses that support a healthy lifestyle.
I think the flowers go under this category because, even though they also smell good, I think it’s the sight of them that cheer most of us up. Flowers are such a lovely, tangible way that you can show you care about yourself and your home. Also, if you’re choosing them yourself, you get to pick our whatever is your favorite! A bouquet can cheer you up for a solid week every time you see it. If you live in a city with a Trader Joe’s then take advantage of their particularly well-priced floral options!
Treat yourself to a luxurious body product (perhaps it makes that post-workout shower that much more enjoyable!) or some aromatherapy. If I’m splurging, I’m really fond of Molton Brown, an English line I first sampled at a bed and breakfast in Oregon. All their stuff is unisex-y!
Lush is another indulgence, but a company you can really believe in because it’s all handmade, they endorse ethical buying practices, and they are against animal testing. I love their bath melts in the winter; so moisturizing! Check out this adorable heart melt!
If I’m wanting to keep it local, and thrifty, I might take advantage of the aromatherapy line at Bath & Body Works and get an awesome scrub.
Have you noticed my recent Instagram or Facebook posts pertaining to the sense of hearing? A few weeks ago, I went for a hike and didn’t listen to my beloved podcasts or any other external distraction. I just listened to the wind rustling the trees and realized it’s my favorite sound in the whole world. The Japanese call this “forest bathing”, which basically means “taking in the forest’s atmosphere”; isn’t that lovely? Unplug and treat yourself to some peace and quiet.
Then, this past Saturday, I attended the symphony with my friend Lynlee…I guess it was our “Galentine’s Day”! Beethoven’s Symphony Number 9 culminates with the exultant Ode to Joy, and my heart was truly moved. Not that many things inspire awe in us as adults. Seek them out.
Ah, we come to the crux of the matter. We are perhaps most comfortable treating ourselves via the sense of taste. Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest to you that you celebrate yourself with kale. My message today is that if you’re going to treat yourself with food, make it a quality treat. Not McDonalds. Not Russell Stover. Seek out a local bakery or chocolatier. Have something homemade and handmade. Perhaps you want a filet at an upscale steak house, or a gourmet burger. Ask yourself what you really, really want. Then, savor it. Be mindful of every bite. Stop eating when you’re satisfied.
For my birthday a few years ago, I splurged on Christopher Elbow chocolates…and ate one every night.
You know what I’m going to say here, right?! Get a massage! That’s the ultimate healthy way to really treat yourself. Activate your parasympathetic nervous system, release stress and tension, and promote healing of soft tissue strains or sports injuries. These days many massage businesses offer memberships in which you have some accountability as you’ve made a commitment to get massages every so often. There are also tremendously talented providers who do in-home massage at reasonable rates.
Until your next massage, hug somebody! Hugging releases oxytocin, the “love hormone”. Just a 20 second hug (make it count, people) reduces the stress hormone cortisol and has a positive effect on your heart rate and blood pressure. 10 minutes of hand-holding will get you the same result.