Humans like order, method, organization, and structure. We live our lives under a set of unspoken guidelines and strict rules, following a procedure that keeps us on track for success. We rarely deviate from that path, for fear of being led astray. It’s relentless and exhausting but we don’t stop because we think that if we do all progress we have made will be halted, maybe even erased.
Yet i’ve found that sometimes, the best thing you can do is actually let yourself go off the beaten tracks. Allow yourself a day of relaxation, whether that be skipping the gym, or even- dare I say it- skipping class if you’re not feeling mentally present. Spend the extra few bucks on that shirt that makes you feel sexy. Take a few hours to watch your favorite Netflix show instead of doing homework. Get a massage instead of writing the rough draft of the essay. It’s ok. You won’t find yourself looking for jobs as a Mongolian sheep farmer because you failed out of school after you watched that one episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Your guilt should not overwhelm you because you did not go to the gym as you always do. It’s healthy and natural to need a break. Why do you think humans sleep? Our bodies and minds are tired after trying to be so perfect all the damn time. I would like to make it clear that I do not condone this behavior 24/7. I think having the motivation to be responsible is a wonderful and necessary thing and if we didn’t have it the human race would have died out long ago but humans are also unique in our ability to self-reflect and if our body is telling us we need a break, then what is so wrong with listening to it?
Of course, the notion that we deserve a break does not just have to be applied to work ethics. If you choose to change your style of eating, it’s important to allow yourself “cheats” or breaks.” If you don’t you are more likely to increase your chances of binging while simultaneously decreasing your motivation to continue your lifestyle change (I prefer not to use the word “diet” because I am of the opinion that a majority of diets tend to be relatively unsustainable but that thread of thought can be saved for another time). It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself, or your body, to handle such a change and it is healthy to let yourself stray at some point.
So, all in all, in the words of the majestic and very respectable Parks and Rec characters, Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle, “Treat yo self!”