Valentine’s Day: A Beginner’s Guide To Indulgence

It’s perhaps become just as much a cliché to talk of self love around Valentine’s Day as it is to celebrate the original romantic premise of the event these days. And, while many might roll their eyes and tut at those who buy into the overly-commercialised holiday, I myself find it difficult to object to any occasion that encourages a little extra indulgence, regardless of the reason for it.

Right now, the world seems rife with destruction, stress, inequality and imbalance and so celebrating little events that have no intrinsic meaning beyond a whimsical ideal of love seems like exactly the reprieve we need. If nothing else, the day serves as a reminder that love exists, and the arbitrary origins of St Valentine’s just affirm that we need no excuse to express it, especially towards ourselves.

Though once a day loaded with expectation, Valentine’s day has become an event that can be spent however you desire. A weekend getaway to Paris is as commonplace as a night in-front of the TV with a discount box of chocolates and a bottle of wine and, in my view, both are equally delightful. To me, it’s an occasion that places emphasis on how you feel rather than what you do therefore, truth be told, anything goes.

Valentine's Day Pip and NutWith indulgence at the heart of V-day, the season of love is the perfect time to reflect on the whether you are giving yourself the care and nourishment you deserve. Are you looking after your body by fueling it sufficiently? Are you taking care of your mind by allowing yourself adequate rest. Are you making enough room in your life for treats and treasures that offer a little more light to your day? In one question, are you happy?

These aren’t questions we often take much time to consider until we reach that point where we are so overrun with misery and self-neglect that we can carry on no more. We are so conditioned to see indulgence as a guilty occasion and treats as something to be earned only after excessive hard work. We consider self-love to be overly hedonistic and therefore the very premise is tinged with feelings of remorse. But indulgence, treats and self love are necessities that keep us upbeat, motivated and enthused about life. They are the beacons of hope that remind us that joy isn’t so hard to find and it is within our power to create it. Therefore, it’s so important to check in with yourself whenever you can and reinforce indulgence as a non-negotiable.

When learning to practice daily indulgences, you don’t have to go big. Treating yourself doesn’t have to involve jetting off to paradise when you feel down or splurging on a designer handbag to forget your stress. Of course, these things are lovely and sometimes they can be just the ticket to make you more upbeat, but for those who can’t do that at the drop of a hat, that doesn’t make indulgence out of reach. The best kinds of indulgences are the little things. The time spent cooking a homemade meal, an evening in with friends, an hour away from your desk or just second to take a deep breath.Valentine's Day Pip and Nut

It doesn’t take much to indulge in your well-being, but it takes great strength to be unashamed of indulgence. It takes work and practice and constant reevaluation to change that mindset that sees indulgence as wrongful and selfish and understand its necessity. But once you’ve got it, the triumphs you find in every day are virtually unlimited. When you are happy and excited about something every day, getting up and throwing yourself at life’s challenges is as easy as can be.

Starting small is key and so I want you to to identify three things that lift you mood that little bit. Three things that you can turn to, not just in troubling times but also in celebratory ones. To help you along you way, I thought I’d share my own.

Peanut butter

Give this girl a jar of peanut butter and a spoon and she becomes unstoppable. I won’t deny I indulge in several spoonfuls a day and it’s a little joy that perks me up no matter what. Alright, my habit could be seen as excessive but it sure does bring a smile. Happiness in a jar, what more could you desire?

A pair of cosy socks

I am not equipped to cope with cold weather and so coming in from work on a cold winter’s evening, getting straight into my PJs and putting on a pair of warm and fluffy socks may well be what I live for. I have a few knitted by my wonderful Grandmother and these are always my favourite to slip on and chill in for the night.

A creamy almond milk latte

I love great coffee and will go out of my way to hunt down the perfect ones. I am my most productive when holed up in some cafe with my laptop and a creamy almond latte by my side, typing away as the caffeine grants a gentle buzz of inspiration. I’ll be honest, I’m a bit of a nut milk snob and won’t settle for anything other than Rude Health’s sweet and frothy almond drink. But hey, indulgence is about going the extra mile for you and sometimes you’ve got to be picky to get the treatment you deserve.

How do you indulge? What little treats make your day? I want to know all so share your three in the comments below. Be unashamed of your Valentine’s romance this year!

Want to learn more about indulgence? Read my indulgence diaries as I take you through my treats of the moment. And why not whip up a batch of nut butter oat cookies too?

Maxine Ali