I don’t smoke, I don't drink alcohol, and I mostly eat very healthy (including recently giving up meat except fish). However, a couple of times a year I love to have an indulgent meal and a stogie.
Occasionally, I like to stay in bed all day – I at least take time once a week to stay in bed all morning. It’s become a ritual for my husband and me; staying in bed in our pajamas, drinking hot coffee, reading, enjoying conversation, breakfast in bed.
As a nutritionist, I often tell my clients 80/20; 80% of the time eat really healthy and 20% of the time don’t freaking worry about it (although still try to eat REAL food). This philosophy can be taken to everything in life; 80% of the time be the responsible, straightforward adult, and 20% of the time don’t freaking worry about it. Have the chocolate cake, stay in bed all day, get a little retail therapy, treat yourself to a massage, or whatever indulgences make you happy. Just make sure to have the best you can afford and take time to enjoy it – go to a specialty shop and get the richest, best deep dark chocolate truffle you can. Savor every morsel, eating it slowly, being mindful of every sensation. This will satisfy you much more than grabbing a cheap checkout aisle candy bar and wolfing it down while you walk to your car.
Don’t feel guilty taking these indulgences. Yes, we all must be responsible, work, save for the future and do the right thing. However, those things get harder to do if you aren’t taking care of yourself and enjoying your life. The Japanese have a word for working yourself to death, “karoshi”. We were not given the experience of life merely to work to pay bills.
Allowing yourself extra down time and guilty-but-not-guilty pleasures lets you experience life, and also is a great stress management strategy. Find a balance in your life that keeps you on the straight and narrow but allows for some indulgences now and then. You will find that doing this not only keeps you happy but improves your “serious” side of life as well.