As women over 40, we are often reminded to prioritise our health, and physical and mental wellbeing. But that often means a lists of things we are not supposed to do. Or things we should give up, because they are are not healthy - or good for us.
So what about the opposite? Well who knew, a spot of indulgence can actually be beneficial to our wellbeing - so says science.
Treating ourselves to something we enjoy, whether it's a piece of cake, a new outfit, or a day at the spa, can make us feel more relaxed, happier, and calmer.
So ladies, in this post, I'm going to explore the reasons behind this, and how pleasure is essential for our overall health. And the best bit? I will include the positive effects of coffee, chocolate, and wine. 🙃
1 - Treating Ourselves - Why it's Good For Us
Taking the time to treat ourselves to the things we enjoy is not only a simple pleasure but can also have a profound impact on our mental and emotional health.
By indulging in our favourite activities or a meaningful treat, we give our minds and bodies a chance to relax and recharge.
Reduced stress levels, increased happiness, and a greater sense of calm.
So go ahead, and spoil yourself with that chocolate deliciousness or self care treat. You are absolutely worth it.
And for anyone telling you you are not, excise them from your life - or at least banish them to the back of your mind and do it anyway.
I think it's frowned upon to suggest violence within a blog post, but with age comes wisdom and the self awareness to know that taking care of ourselves is deserved and valuable and we don't have to justify ourselves to anyone else. Ever.
2 - The Importance of Pleasure for Wellbeing
Pleasure is a vital component of our overall wellbeing.
When we experience pleasure, our bodies release endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones.
These endorphins help reduce stress, alleviate pain, and boost our mood.
Regularly incorporating pleasurable activities into our lives can help lower the risk of depression, improve our immune system, and even contribute to better sleep.
So ladies, I insist that you prioritise pleasure and embrace activities that bring you joy, whether it's a long walk, a hobby, or spending time with loved ones.
3 - Coffee in Moderation
For most of my adult life, I have never drunk coffee. I decided as a 12 year old it tasted dreadful, and it's only 40 years later that I tried some good coffee (as opposed to the lukewarm muddy concoction that informed my opinion all those years ago) and it was a revelation.
I am now a coffee snob, with my bean to cup machine, milk frother thingy and I am firmly addicted to my caffeine.
The good news is that while excessive caffeine consumption can have negative effects, we think that moderate coffee intake can actually provide several health benefits.
Studies have shown that coffee may lower the risk of Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver disease.
Additionally, coffee contains antioxidants that can protect our cells from damage.
The caveat is that the advice is to keep consumption to a moderate level – around 3 to 4 cups per day.
3 - Chocolate - A Sweet Way to Boost Your Health
More good news! Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is packed with antioxidants and flavonoids that offer various health benefits.
Consuming chocolate in moderation can help lower blood pressure, improve heart health, and reduce inflammation.
It also stimulates the production of endorphins, which can boost our mood and alleviate stress.
So, next time you're craving something sweet, reach for a piece of dark chocolate, and relish in the knowledge that you're doing something good for your body and mind.
4 - A Glass of Wine: Cheers to Your Health
How many of us unwind with a glass of wine after a long day? Yup me too.
But did you know that moderate wine consumption also comes with health benefits?
Red wine, in particular, contains resveratrol, a compound known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which can help protect your heart and lower the risk of heart disease.
Additionally, moderate wine consumption has been linked to improved cognitive function and a reduced risk of depression.
But there's a catch - it has to be moderate – current thinking is that one glass per day for women is our lot.
So the Upshot?
For women over 40, indulging in a little of what you fancy can have a surprisingly positive impact on our overall wellbeing.
When we indulge in something pleasurable, our brains release dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward.
This can help us feel more positive, boost our mood, and reduce stress and anxiety.
So, allowing ourselves a little treat every now and then can actually be a form of self-care that supports our emotional wellbeing.
But pleasure isn't just good for our mental health – it's also important for our physical health. Studies have shown that experiencing pleasure can have a positive effect on our immune system, helping to reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
In fact, some researchers have suggested that pleasure may be just as important for our health as exercise and a healthy diet.
I'm off to scoff a bar of chocolate 😋