Life can get full and busy — and leave us feeling like we’re running on empty.
Starting today, how about spoiling yourself a little more often? Check out these eight surprisingly simple and healthy ways to recharge and treat yourself.
1. Savor a bit of dark chocolate
It can be a tasty treat with benefits. Dark chocolate is rich in heart-healthy antioxidants called flavonoids. These natural plant chemicals are thought to be behind chocolate’s positive health effects. Look for chocolate that’s rich in cacao — the higher the percentage, the better.
2. Move your body
Physical activity may release mood-elevating brain chemicals. And you don’t have to wait until you have time for a full workout. Do some feel-good stretches. Dance to a favorite tune, air guitar optional. Walk around the block — and take in your surroundings with a fresh eye.
For safety’s sake, talk with your doctor before significantly increasing your activity level.
3. Indulge in a short snooze
If you’re feeling bleary or weary, a brief nap — say, for 20 minutes — can be rejuvenating. Don’t nap late in the day though. That might make it harder to nod off at bedtime. Another sweet slumber option: Give yourself permission to hit the sack a little early for some restorative shuteye.
4. Hug it out
A welcome and heartfelt embrace can be a stress-easing pick-me-up. Human touch may lower our blood pressure and heart rate — and help us feel calmer. Have a pet in your life? Snuggling or petting a furry friend may have a similar positive effect.
5. Stream a funny video
It’s hard not to feel happy when you’re giggling. Laughter tames tension — helping relax your whole body. And here’s an added bonus: It may also give your immune system a healthy little boost.
6. Play a game
Break out a favorite board game. Challenge your partner or roomie in rummy. Delight a preschooler with a game of hide-and-seek. No matter our age, we all need play — it can help refuel us and boost our emotional well-being.
7. Nurture yourself in nature
Head outside — and soak up the beauty of a nearby park, babbling brook or public garden. Exploring — or merely gazing on — a natural setting may help ease mental fatigue. Tuck your devices away for a luxurious digital break.
8. Treat your taste buds to an adventure
Try a new healthy food, spice or recipe. Enjoy an exotic fruit — perhaps papaya or pomegranate seeds. Or how about a whole-new whole grain? You might give one of these a whirl: tabbouleh made with bulgur or quinoa with your favorite roasted vegetables.