Should We Indulge Ourselves, Just Sometimes?

How many times have you thought to yourself, “I shouldn’t be eating, drinking or smoking this” or have been told that by other people?  It’s not good is it, so why do we keep doing the things that are bad for us, indulging ourselves and then regretting it afterwards?  I’m blaming evolution!  If we had evolved differently, we would be able to curtail our desires for all things naughty and keep a better control of ourselves.  Or be healthy despite them – that would definitely be a better option!  But they’re fun aren’t they, some of those naughty things? So why do we keep taking in things that are bad for us when we know they will likely have a negative impact in the longer term?  Should we indulge ourselves, just sometimes or live rigid lives which allow no such indulgences?  Is that living well?  I guess only we can decide that for ourselves.

An Acceptable Drug

I was talking to a friend at the weekend and we discussed how alcohol, in this country is an acceptable drug and when people aren’t drinking alcohol others will often pour scorn and more alcohol onto their preference.  “Just have one!” they will say.  Why is it viewed as a negative, that anyone who has decided not to have alcohol, for whatever reason is being a goodie goodie and total pain in the *** to anyone who does want a drink?  That really says more about the drinker doesn’t it and the culture in this country. If everyone’s drinking then they don’t need to think about the impact on their health, wellbeing and lifestyle, which reflects a bit on last week’s blog – oh well, if everyone else is doing it!

While alcohol is seen as an acceptable drug, we certainly wouldn’t view someone taking heroin in the same way, it’s not an acceptable addiction is it?  But what’s the line between indulgence, dependency and addiction?  It can be a very thin line and one which could probably be up for debate in many homes around the UK.  I’m certainly not trying to judge anyone, (believe me I am not in a position to do that!) but why do we keep doing things that are bad for us and then regretting it?  Yes, they’re fun in the short term but in the longer term our health and wellbeing can be affected by the indulgences of too much drinking, smoking, eating or other addictive behaviours.

A Short-Term Perspective

We seem to have very short-term brains and while some of us will plan for holidays in twelve month’s time, we don’t seem to view our health and wellbeing in the same way.  We can be very ‘in the moment’ with things, being tempted quite easily, particularly when other people are indulging themselves and looking for fab pals to join them to endorse their naughtiness! 😊  So how we do we move out of these shorter-term behaviours to view our health and wellbeing with a medium or longer term perspective?  I think stress and anxiety will always dent our determination, as will days when we’re surrounded by someone’s birthday treats in the office for example.  We can be drawn into less than positive behaviours ‘because everyone else is doing it’ and lose a longer-term perspective on what is good and not so good for us.

Resolve and Resilience

Anyone who has lost weight, given up drinking, smoking or any form of addictive behaviour will know that with the right mind set you can be totally invincible and almost nothing will shake your resolve.  Indulgence is not an option!  Donuts waved in front of you will not register and after-work drinks will see you on a range of sugar-free soft drinks and not joining the smokers for a quick puff outside.  But what about when you’re feeling less resilient?  How can you balance indulgence, living well and great health and wellbeing? 

It will always be difficult to keep your resolve as other people can be quite determined to kybosh your plans and sometimes your own emotional mind can do that too.  But think very consciously each day about what you want to do and don’t want to do and that will help you to make very conscious choices.  If you want an alcoholic drink after work, fine, make a conscious decision about that and possibly try and stay away from the rest of the bottle.  Or not.  But if your pal wants you to come for many drinks after work because they’re having a tough time and they’re looking for a partner in crime for their indulgences, then it might be worth staying away or framing your level of support.  “I will come along but I’m only staying for one drink and that will be a soft one”.  They still might try to persuade you once you reach the bar, misery does love company after all but your previous statement will help you to reinforce what you said earlier and to be assertive about the choices that you are going to make that day.

Managing Our Expectations And Resilience

We can all fall off a wagon and give ourselves a hard time about that but for me, good resilience is about moving on.  I used to spend many a day regretting some less than helpful behaviours food and alcohol-wise but now I own my decisions and look to move on from them.  Today’s a new day and who knows, I might make some better conscious decisions today.  I’m always hopeful 😊  Be conscious about what you want to do and be aware of the agendas of others in influencing your own behaviour.  They might be your friends and loved ones but if their emotional mind is driving them to excess and indulgence, it doesn’t necessarily have to take you with it.  It’s not about being a saint, just thinking more consciously about how you want to live to support your health and wellbeing.

It’s very ironic that I write this blog before Easter, the top choccie time of the year!  I’m going for a ‘moderate’ approach and I may or may not succeed in that but at least I will make very conscious choices about my behaviour this weekend, heavenly or otherwise! 😊

Take good care please, have a wonderful Easter break and enjoy your indulgences.

Best wishes, Karen