You know that thing where you give yourself permission to sit down on the sofa with a cup of tea, and some easy-trash on the TV. A guilty pleasure. You’ve probably, prior to this moment, been running around like a crazy person doing stuff – literally not stopping – running after kids, sorting the house, in the office – any and all of these. For hours.
So you’ve granted yourself permission to stop momentarily. You start to get comfy, legs tucked up under you when, you realise you have to do this, that or the other. You feel guilty. You question whether you really have time to sit, doing nothing, loosing yourself in crappy TV. 99% of the time you’ll be back up and on it – moving on to the next thing on your ‘in your head’ to do list … you don’t really have time or reason for a guilty pleasure.
But. Sometimes. Stop. Slow down. Recognise that actually, you don’t need to feel guilty for stopping (for a bit). Is it really a guilty pleasure? Sometimes we simply have to look after ourselves and give ourselves a teeny break. A little reward. A pat on the back. A metaphoric gold star for all the hard work, multi-tasking and juggling of everything we do every day. A job well done cheeky pleasure. An opt-out of heavy stuff.
For me, my not-guilty pleasures include any episode of Come Dine with Me, The Big Bang Theory or Robson Green’s Extreme Fishing (yup, really); a small bag of Cadbury’s giant chocolate buttons; silence (no radio, TV, laptop, social media stuff); making rocky roads or chocolate brownies (then eating them); copious cups of tea; driving the car with no one else in it (bliss = no kids); daytime power naps; window shopping (think both on and offline); occasional (very occasional) body treatments (a guarantee of silence and proper doing-nothing time) and a sneaky read of ANY BOOK (such a rare thing) when I should be doing something far more important instead …
No-guilt pleasure granted 🙂
There’s a cute little village (Acciaroli if you’re interested) in Southern Italy with more centenarians than anywhere else in the world! Lots of healthy old folk living a lovely long time and generally not suffereing many of the ills that befall the rest of us (think heart diesase and Alzheimer’s).
Apparently, these guys and gals put their longevity down to a mash-up of the following:
- keeping active – walking is best for longevity according to these wise old birds – no gym bunnies here
- physical pleasures – sex – and lots of it!
- good sleep – but set that alarm early – this lot properly get up and go!
- being sociable
- fruit, veggies, fish, olive oil – think Mediterranean diet but no loading up your plate – these guys eat small portions
- occasional fasting – apparently cutting back can help you live longer, and reduce the chances of developing nasties like heart disease and cancer
- very little added salt and sugar in their diet – ditto processed foods – these guys and girls like to make their own – even in their 90’s!
- red wine (no Friday night binge-drinking though) – think balance and moderation
- simplify your life to reduce stress – no mod-cons or high-tech stuff for this lot – they like it pure and simple – and sloooooow – and it clearly works!
- regular health-checks – think occasional check-ins with your GP.
I guess the message to take away from this is that we don’t have to be pounding away on the treadmill at every given opportunity, that fad diets may come and go and that actually, the key to a good, happy, healthy and (possibly) long life is probably about simplicity. Stripping back and cutting out (some of) the crap. Giving ourselves a bit of a break. Stepping away from the rat-race (when we can).
Instead, taking pleasure from life’s simple pleasures … and in the process, finding contentment (and good health!).