If I Want to Treat Myself: A Psychology-Based Guide for Stressed People

We all experience stress in our daily lives, whether it’s due to work, family, or other factors. Sometimes, we need to take a break and treat ourselves to something special to help alleviate stress and recharge our batteries. But what are the best ways to do this? As a psychologist who has worked with countless stressed-out clients, I have a lot of suggestions. In this article, I’ll share my top tips for treating yourself and boosting your mood, with a focus on evidence-based methods that have been proven to work.

Indulge in Your Favorite Activity

The first and most important way to treat yourself is to indulge in your favorite activity or hobby. When we’re stressed, we often put our hobbies and passions aside in favor of work or other obligations. However, research has shown that engaging in pleasurable activities can help reduce stress and improve our overall well-being. So whether it’s reading, painting, hiking, or playing a musical instrument, take some time out of your day to do something that brings you joy. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

– Make a playlist with all your favorite songs and listen to it when you need a mood boost.

– Sign up for a class or workshop to learn a new skill or hobby.

– Treat yourself to a new piece of equipment or supplies for your favorite hobby.

– Set a regular time each week to indulge in your hobby without any distractions.

Treat Myself
Treat Myself

Have a Staycation

Going on vacations does not always have to include a plane ride and expensive accommodations. Sometimes, the best way to treat yourself is by simply staying home and turning your own space into a personal retreat for a weekend. Here are some staycation ideas:

– Have a movie marathon

– Refresh your bedding and restyle your bedroom

– Order food delivery, so you don’t have to cook.

– Do some light reading to indulge your mind and soul

– Create your own cocktail / cold drink recipes

Practice Yoga

Yoga is a great way to exercise and practice mindfulness. It improves flexibility, builds strength, and helps to calm the mind and nervous system. Yoga helps you focus on your breath, and your mind can let go of thoughts that cause stress. Here are a few tips to consider:

– Start with beginner-level classes or try a video on YouTube

– Set a routine time for practice

– Choose a relaxing and quiet space


Meditation is an excellent self-care habit that helps you switch off from the world and focus on the moment. It helps you relax your mind, reduces stress levels, and improves your overall well-being. If you’ve never meditated before, here are a few tips on how to get started:

– Start with a quiet place and comfortable seating/lying position

– Close your eyes and focus on your breath

– Allow yourself to acknowledge any thoughts that come to your mind, but do not get attached to them.

– Try guided meditation for beginners on YouTube or apps like Headspace.

Get Outside

Being in nature has been shown to have numerous benefits for our mental health, including reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. If you’re feeling stressed out, make a point to get outside and soak up some natural beauty. Here are a few ways to do this:

– Take a walk in your local park or nature reserve.

– Go on a hike in the mountains or woods.

– Spend some time on the beach or by the lake.

Food Therapy

“What you eat is what you are.”

Indulging in satisfying and healthy meals can be an excellent way to treat yourself. Cooking yourself a nutritious meal with fresh ingredients can be therapeutic in its own right. Experiment with new recipes, or treat yourself to your favorite comfort food. Don’t forget to sit down with your meal and enjoy it without rushing.

Treat Yourself to a Massage or Spa Day

Physical relaxation can also help alleviate stress and improve your mood. One way to do this is by treating yourself to a massage or a spa day. Not only can a massage help release physical tension in your body, but it can also reduce anxiety and improve your sleep. Here are some other ideas for pampering yourself:

– Get your hair or nails done.

– Take a long, hot bubble bath.

– Practice yoga or other relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises.

Take a Day Off

Sometimes the best way to treat yourself is simply by taking a day off from work or other obligations. In our culture, we often glorify overworking and neglecting our own needs. However, research has shown that taking breaks can actually improve productivity and creativity. So if you’re feeling overworked and rundown, take a day for yourself. Here are some ideas for what to do on your day off:

– Sleep in and indulge in a leisurely breakfast.

– Have a movie marathon or binge-watch your favorite TV show.

– Visit a nearby town or attraction you’ve always wanted to go to.

Reach Out to Loved Ones

Finally, one of the best ways to treat yourself is by reaching out to loved ones. Social support is a crucial element of our mental and emotional well-being, and can help us feel more connected and supported during hard times. Here are some ideas for connecting with loved ones:

– Call or text a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while.

– Meet up with a friend for coffee or a walk.

– Attend a social event or gathering.

Create a Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is a great way to reflect on the good things in your life. It helps you focus on the positive instead of the negative and can significantly improve your emotional well-being. Here’s how to do it:

– Get a book and pen

– List daily moments you’re thankful for, no matter how small they are.

– Read over past entries and remind yourself of positive moments during challenging times.

Invest in Yourself

Investing in yourself is one of the best ways to treat yourself. You can enroll in a language class or a cooking course, or buy a new book on a topic that interests you. Invest in your passion and hobbies. Spend time reading, drawing, listening to music, or doing anything that makes you happy.


Treating yourself is an important part of self-care, and can help you recharge and feel more balanced in your daily life. Whether it’s indulging in your favorite hobby, getting outside, or pampering yourself at a spa, there are a variety of ways to treat yourself and boost your mood. Remember, self-care isn’t selfish – it’s an essential part of maintaining your mental and emotional well-being. So the next time you’re feeling stressed out or rundown, try one of these evidence-based methods for treating yourself and see how it can improve your overall quality of life.

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