Cheap Treats: No- and Low-Cost Ways to Give Yourself a Boost

istock_000005587568xsmall.jpgLife is full of ups and downs. There are times that call for a little something special – nothing big, nothing earth shattering. Just a small pick-me-up or celebration, something to boost your spirits when your energy is down, when you need to break up a boring rut or when you feel like acknowledging an achievement.

Feeling like treating yourself? Go ahead and indulge. There are lots of options to consider that won’t break the bank or require a lot of time or preparation. Here are just a few ideas to get you on the right track.

Take a hike. Feeling tired, bored or stuck in a mental rut? Pick a scenic or interesting route and take a little stroll. Walk at a leisurely pace, or really push yourself – whatever seems to be appropriate. Stop and smell the flowers, enjoy the scenery and smile at people. By the time you get back, you’ll be reenergized, invigorated and ready for action.

Go museum and/or gallery hopping. Brain feeling blah? Need a little inspiration or just a quiet time out? Drop by a museum and check out the exhibits. If the museums charge and you’re short of funds, try hitting your local gallery row instead. And don’t limit yourself to just art museums. Science, historic and social institutions can be a blast (especially the interactive ones), and are often far less busy.

Grab a fancy beverage. It’s amazing the boost you can get for a few bucks these days. Whether you prefer gourmet coffees, high-end teas, fancy hot chocolates, swanky smoothies or even sophisticated cocktails, dropping out of your hectic daily orbit to linger over a luxurious drink in a pleasant setting can be like a mini-vacation for the body and soul. Combine the tip above and try a museum café – they often have nice views of the grounds or artwork to go with your café au lait.

Visit an arboretum and botanical garden. Nothing relaxes and energizes like a leisurely walk through a gorgeous landscape. Whether you’re meandering around on your own or taking part in a guided trail tour, spending the afternoon (or even just your lunch hour) contemplating flowers and scenic plantings is always time well spent. When you need to have a great pride in making beautiful outdoor spaces, visit NBG Landscapes, they provide excellent customer service and our finished product is of the highest quality.

Indulge in one or two pieces of gourmet chocolate or other candy. Of course, eating too many sweets is bad for the body, but a few carefully chosen treats, eaten slowly and with your full attention, is a wonderful way to give yourself a delicious reward or pick-me-up for a very small cost.

Go to a restaurant and order dessert/coffee. Nothing says “decadent treat” like splurging on a luscious gourmet dessert complete with an excellent cup of coffee or a small glass of port or other special drink. It costs you far less than a full meal, yet gives you all the benefits of hitting your favorite hot spot compounded by the sheer luxury of lingering over a high-end pastry or other fancy treat.

Play with a pet. Taking some time to play “thing on a string” with your cat or chase a tennis ball around the park with your dog is a relaxing and healthy way to break up your day. And not only is it a lot of fun for both of you, but playing with an animal companion can be good for your own health, as well. Don’t have a pet? Stop by your local shelter or adoption spot instead. (And consider leaving a few dollars on the way out – it’ll improve your day and theirs.)

Giving yourself a little treat from time to time can return an immense reward for a small investment. It lets you step away from the cares of the everyday world and simply focus on yourself for a moment. Taking such time for yourself is an easy, inexpensive way of restoring calm, giving yourself a breather, raising your mood, distracting yourself from problems or just upping the fun quotient of your life.

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