Summer is over! I felt it as soon as I stepped outside this morning—the air was crisp with a snap that was nonexistent just last week. As I watched the pool company close up my little backyard oasis, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for the lazy, relaxing, and self-indulgent pace of summer.
Probably because the day September hit it seemed that the pace of work picked up in an instant. My phone was ringing off the hook, I had meetings scheduled back to back, my friends were creeping out of the woodwork eager to reconnect. Just halfway through the month, I was feeling a little crazed—and very depleted.
But I’ve regained my composure, and here’s how: a little self-indulgence.
It doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming, but taking care of yourself is critical if you want to maintain a sense of sanity and momentum going into the winter. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or underappreciated, read on for 10 simple ways to make yourself feel absolutely spoiled—and to refuel your engine for the long haul!
1. Have a Picnic for One
If the weather permits, grab a book or a stack of magazines, a cozy blanket, and a basket filled with your favorite tasty treats. Find a shaded spot in the park by a colorfully-leafed tree and just chill.
2. Chocolate, Baby!
Scope out your neighborhood for a gourmet chocolate shop and treat yourself to three luscious truffles (or four…or five). Make sure you eat them slowly, savoring the flavors; make the experience last.
3. Soak in a Hot Tub in the Dark
Add some essential oils (lavender and mint are really lovely), dim the lights, light a candle, close your eyes, and give yourself a full hour to unwind.
4. Enjoy High Tea
Just because you aren’t British doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a posh midafternoon snack. Indulge in scones, clotted cream, and a few petit fours, topped off with a pot of specialty tea.
5. Indulge in a Warm Bed and tub of Haagen Dazs
It may sound cliché, but nothing soothes me after a long day of work like a dose of mindless reality television and a tub of Sticky Toffee Pudding under the covers.
6. Head North with Tunes
Drive—with no destination in mind. Blare music, roll down the windows, and fire up the seat warmers. Something about being alone in the car heading nowhere is infinitely calming.
7. Breathe Deeply and Consciously
You can do this anywhere for a quick pick-me-up. Take at least 30 deep, conscious, slow breaths—four seconds in, four seconds out. Sit quietly while you’re doing it, avoid distractions, and keep your eyes closed.
8. Whiten Your Teeth
Several over-the-counter kits really work! And you no longer have to commit to drooling through those disgusting strips every night for two weeks—you can whiten in just one application. White teeth make you look brighter and more energized. And chances are, if you look brighter, you’ll feel that way, too.
9. Take a Naked Nap
(Alone, or not!) Make your bed with the softest sheets you own (or buy new ones!), surround yourself with lots of pillows, slip out of your clothes, and enjoy.
10. Smell the Flowers
Literally. It has been proven that floral scents are mood manipulators, and flowers can actually make you happy. Treat yourself to your favorite bouquet and place it somewhere easily visible—and smellable.
Doing one or two of the things on this list each week will help you feel a little pampered. And when we work as hard as we do, we all need to feel pampered.
What self-indulgent strategies do you use to help you get through your work week?
Photos courtesy of J.B. Hill and Dennis Wong.