Food Relationship, Wellbeing

Top 10 ways to reward yourself without food

We live in the world where food is a huge part of social occasions and celebrations. Most birthday parties are filled with sweet ‘treats’ and each festive celebration throughout the year has special foods accompanying it.
Many also turn to food to reward themselves for a ‘job well done’ or getting through a hard time or a task. How many times have you bought chocolate just because it’s the end of a stressful working week?
Although it’s necessary to eat foods you like and feel pleasure when eating, there is a fine line of enjoying your food and turning to food every time you have the need to feel better or if you deserve a reward.
Sugar and processed foods hit our dopamine receptors, creating false sense of ‘reward’, yet leave us feeling empty and unfulfilled afterwards. Check out some of my favourite ways to reward yourself without ever turning to food or sugar. Many of these will also trigger hit dopamine receptors, giving the sense of accomplishment.
If you haven’t tried any of these for a while, give it a go, you might be pleasantly surprised.

1. Get yourself flowers

Nothing can lift your spirits like a bouquet of colourful seasonal flowers. Plus, they last much longer than a bar of chocolate and will boost your mood. Consider getting some
houseplants, as this way you’ll reap the rewards of watching them grow.

2. Foot soak

I often hear suggestions to get a regular massage, however if that’s not in your budget or schedule, this is a wonderful way to give yourself some TLC. We’re on our feet all day long and it can be particularly soothing to pause and take care of them. Add Epsom salt baths and essential oils for extra relaxation and massage with an aromatic foot cream to finish.

3. Visit the bookshop

Reward yourself with a book that you wanted for a while, or be it a book you have just seen. Either way, investing in a book will give you joy whenever you read it and will expand your experience way beyond of what a short burst of sugar may.

4. Take a walk or cycle

Take a walk/hike/cycle to your favourite place around. A boost of fresh air will give you the much- needed distraction, a dose of vitamin D will help increase your mood and being in nature will boost dopamine, in turn creating a feeling of ‘reward’.

5. Tidy a cupboard

It might sound like a chore for many, yet those organisation gurus will know exactly what I mean. Tidying a part of your home Marie Kondo style can bring you immense pleasure and sense of achievement, especially if you’re listening to your favourite podcast while doing so.

6. Play an instrument

If you play a guitar or a piano, this may feel like some precious ‘you’ time. But if you’re a newbie, try taking up ukulele. Although practice is key, you might have just as much fun
when only practicing it every now and then.

7. Host a game night

If your board games are collecting dust and you haven’t seen some of your best friends in a while, organise a game night to celebrate. Celebrating is always so much more fun in good company.

8. Take a nap

When was the last time you allowed yourself to nap (apart from holidays)? Set an alarm and have a cat nap. Yes, even though there’s a million things on the list. Guaranteed to control cravings and give you the much-needed energy restoration.

9. Book yourself into a workshop

Find a workshop that gets your excited like a 12-year-old, either it’s vintage bike restoration, floral arrangements or lino printing. Spend time immersing yourself into doing something fun and being a student again.

10. Visit the sauna

Giving your body the much-needed time to relax and destress in the sauna room feels even better than ordering Friday night pizza. And the soothing effects on the body last much longer.

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