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Guilt-free rewards in the new year

AP Photo
AP Photo
Lynne Sladky

What do you think of first when you think of the words “reward” or “treat?” Do images of decadent desserts or comfort foods and cocktails start floating through your mind? Gourmet food and beverages are delightful, but we need to be aware that there are many other ways to treat ourselves besides with calories, especially empty ones. Here is a short list of positive ways we can reward ourselves and stay guilt-free.

1. Relaxation Time – What makes you feel truly relaxed? Why do we always feel guilty or worry about problems when we try to relax? Total relaxation for me is sitting outside listening to music, sipping an iced tea and reading a wonderful book. Other things to try: candles, baths, massage chairs, meditation, poetry, and breathing and visualization techniques.

2. Go Out and Play – Play your favorite sport, walk down a beautiful street, or go shopping all day – these are all great ways to get exercise and feel great while having fun. If you have trouble thinking of an activity you enjoy, try remembering what you enjoyed as a child or in school, or try a new sport. Dress up in your favorite exercise clothes and get moving. You’ll feel wonderful with all of that confidence and the endorphins that exercise produces.

3. Fun with Friends – Call up a friend and make plans to do something fun that does not involve overeating. I enjoy trying to write music with one of my friends, seeing movies with another one, and talking on the phone to my best friend who lives out of town. Any time we can be ourselves and enjoy lasting friendships is definitely a treat.

4. Beauty Indulgence – True beauty is found within, but it sure helps us feel confident when we know we look our best. Go to a spa and get a massage, get a new hairstyle at your favorite salon, or get a luxurious manicure and pedicure. If you are broke, have a friend paint your nails and then you paint hers. Even the smallest beauty indulgence can work wonders.

5. Try Something New – Risk-takers are more content with their lives. Learning new things is also said to help keep your mind active and prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. Regardless, it’s always rewarding to try something new and make new friends in the process. Here are some ideas: Learn a language, learn to dance, attend a class in continuing education, get a certification in a new field, or take a weekend trip just to explore.

There are many more satisfying ways we can reward ourselves for accomplishing our goals, so keep trying and sharing new ideas!
 

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