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From burnout to balance: Treats as good for your health as your soul

Sometimes you really feel like a little treat and, while it’s lovely to turn to the occasional bottle of wine or a chocolate bar (so I’ve heard), it’s also a good idea to have some options that have a little less impact on your health. This can be especially useful when the days are busy, cold and dreary, or otherwise difficult, and you feel you need a boost a few times a week.

Back in the days when I still read articles about losing weight, I would read lists of non-food treats, eg, manicures, movie tickets, new workout gear. What strikes me is these treats are much more expensive and time consuming than a bag of lollies or a chocolate bar. My friends who are raising kids and/or also working outside the home simply can’t afford the time (and in many cases, the money) it takes to have an afternoon or evening off at the movies or to hit the shops on a whim.

So, I’m in the process of compiling a list of treats that won’t harm my health, are cheap (around $5 or less) and are easy to get. I’ve just started, so currently it comes in at just two items, which is, I admit, about as short as a list can be.

  1. Magazines
    Frivolous and colourful, magazines in the waiting room are one of the things I look forward to when making a doctor’s appointment. But it’s also a little luxury to lounge about at home, on a couch or in bed, flicking through a magazine. I’ve researched this one and can confirm that a colourful glossy will only set you back about $5. Posher versions. some so posh their pages are matt rather than glossy, can be less than $10 and sometimes I borrow a bagful for free from my local library.
  2. Flowers
    Nothing in the supermarket fitted my price criteria, but I picked up a bunch for $4.99 at my local greengrocer. You can, of course, bring the price down to zero if you, your friends, family or neighbours grow a supply. I’ve never really paid much attention to flowers before, but I’m pretty sure the ones I’ve bought are tulips, but only because two visitors to the house referred to them this way. They were just buds for the first day, with the faintest hint of orange petal showing through, but then they bloomed. Every day, when I catch a glimpse of them, they surprise me. It’s not just that they are beautiful, but they change – closing up every night and then opening slowly as the days brighten.

There you go: a couple of treats that are free or cheap, easy and, with my bunch of flowers providing joy for well over a week, lasting much longer than any pick-me-up bar of chocolate has ever lasted me.

*Lynne Glen is a guest blogger and reader of Healthy Food Guide. She has taken up the challenge to use the mental well-being and resilience advice from the July 2017 issue and write about her progress.

• From burnout to balance: A reader’s new start
• From burnout to balance: The benefits of a tasty work lunch
• From burnout to balance: Things I’m grateful for
• From burnout to balance: Should I buy a house?

First published: August 2018
Last updated: August 15 2018
Last science review: August 15 2018



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