Go Ahead, Indulge…a Bit

We're going to be somewhat counterintuitive. While so many of us this time of year struggle to come up with our list of resolutions to be healthier, more financially prudent, and certainly kinder, we are here to suggest that it’s okay to indulge.

We know what you’re thinking. In theory we concur with the concept of forgoing indulgences. However, when life at times becomes boring and overwhelming with the shootings and shortness of life in our face, we say, “indulge yourself.”

Now may be a propitious time as we’re being bombarded with so much information that is making many of us anxious. We don’t like to bring politics into our blogs, but we’re upset at the direction some leaders of the country as well as those at the state and local levels are taking. And you might be as well. We’re concerned about taxes going down for the megarich, children being uninsured, environmental guidelines being tossed aside like day-old bread, and sexual harassment cases still being unearthed and publicized for some MEN and, in much rarer cases, some women whom we admired and thought were upstanding citizens.

If you’re feeling anxious, indulge. Science backs this up with the benefits. Certain indulgences can lower stress hormones and increase the “feel good” hormone dopamine, the “happy hormone” serotonin, or promote the release of endorphins when we do something to refresh the body, relax muscles, and melt away stress and tension. 

It’s really simple. This can mean anything from taking a hot bath, having a massage or pedicure, reading a good novel, watching a favorite funny TV program and laughing hysterically, to working out with a trainer, grabbing an afternoon nap, and having a good cry. Or it can be something bigger and more costly like a trip, even a weekend getaway, or shopping for baubles that sparkle and a great pair of shoes or two pairs, maybe.

And don’t gasp as you read on. Indulgence means eating carbs as well. They can make us feel so good--when we slowly or quickly consume a potato latke, big wedge of pumpkin pie and a huge dark chocolate candy bar. We know that we may be adding too many calories, too much fat and too much salt or sugar. We even advocate indulging in the pleasure of quaffing a velvety, smooth glass of Pinot Noir.

In the scheme of things, what’s the real harm to imbibing or gobbling extra fat, sugar and salt? The trick is to do it in moderation rather than eliminating it totally. This includes even frivolous shopping for a year, as writer Anne Patchett wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed piece. We ask: What does that really prove? Yes, we probably all can follow through and give up anything for a set period or altogether if necessary to make a point or for serious health concerns.

Parcel out your indulgences. Maybe, give up wine except for one glass a week. Sweets every day and go for one favorite treat on a Friday or Saturday night out or at home. Maybe limit your big—i.e. expensive shoe purchases—to two a season. This way you won’t feel deprived yet still have some self-control.

However in one area we think it’s prudent to indulge every day--always try to be kind and considerate. There’s no room for moderation there, ever.


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