Hip & Healthy contributor, Mai Copsoe, reveals how changing our attitude towards rewarding and treating ourselves can help bring happiness and energy back into our lives as well as build better self-love.
Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents gave you an ice cream for dessert because you had finished your entire meal? I do. I also remember how a few weeks ago I opened up a bag of delicious chocolates because I was working late on a blog post, or how I let both Ben & Jerry ‘treat me’ to some nice cookie dough on an evening last week after having finished a tough workout earlier that day. Sound familiar?
Because many of us grew up in a home where we learned that if we did what was asked of us we would get a nice little treat in the form of sweets, ice cream or other sugary goodies afterwards. And why stop that habit? It feels good! Or does it?
I’m all for a balanced diet with room for chocolate, ice cream and what ever else your heart desires. When I’m scrolling through Instagram and see pictures of measly little salads with the hashtag #healthybody it certainly doesn’t make me feel inspired. It may be a healthy menu, yes, but seriously where is the love??
In my world, food is a way to take care of myself. Food is a way for me to show love to my body by feeding it beautiful delicious stuff it will thrive off of. However, although food is a form of self-love it is not something I can use as a reward, because the moment I make the turn from love to reward, that’s where it all goes wring. I break the bond.
The bond I’m referring to is the trust between mind and body, which seems so forgotten these days in all the goals we’ve set for our bodies by our minds. ‘Now I want to be healthy’ so I will have a juice’. ‘Today I did a good job with my workout I deserve some cake’. ‘Oh I ate junk food today, I’ll make sure to skip lunch tomorrow’.
Are we loving ourselves when we feed our bodies with a big bag of crisps to say: “Thanks! You’ve done so well today”, at a time when we’re perfectly full? No. A true reward and act of love towards ourselves is to listen to our bodies and giving it what it needs – when it needs it. Of course we need to look after and treat ourselves when we deserve it – but there are so many other ways of doing it. Ways that boost our energy, confidence and wellbeing so much more. Therefore I’ve made a little list of alternatives to reward and treat yourself with things other than food:
After the workout:
A long bath with candles, scented oils and your favourite magazine. OR spend some time shopping online for some fresh, new activewear! (You can do that here!)
When working late:
Listen to your favourite, chill-out Spotify playlist drinking energising mint tea with fresh flowers on the table next to you.
After a long stressful day:
Book a relaxing massage or an uplifting facial…. Or both!
Having landed a great deal at work:
Take a well-deserved day off to enjoy your city – jump on the tour bus or explore a new area so you fall in love with the place you live all over again.
After an intense month full of commitments:
A whole weekend in bed. Catch up on your sleep and Netflix …and squeeze in an outdoor workout or a brisk walk in a park you’ve never been to before.
After a challenging year:
Research you next big holiday! Mexico! Bali! Portugal! Barbados! Wherever you fancy!
When feeling sad:
Write in your journal, do a workout, see a friend or watch your favourite feel-good movie with a cup of tea.
If feeling stuck or bored:
Roller blading, rock climbing or anything else that’s new and challenging!
These tips are just a few awesome ways to love your body and reward yourself without the use of junk food. Learn to establish a trusting relationship between your mind and your body. This means not letting the mind control everything and allowing your body to have a say as well. And quite frankly: how often do we neglect treating ourselves to these true rewards simply because we forget? Its easier going to the cupboard – but by using these tips we not only reward ourselves for what we did well – we’re also boosting our wellbeing and energy levels, which help us feel alive and happy!
words by Mai Copsoe