A lot of my posts start with ‘We live in a busy world ‘.

Because that is usually the first thing most of my readers and clients start with when I ask them how they are doing.

  • I’m busy
  • I’m tired
  • I have so much to do

And when I ask them how they plan all this, they have it all set up:

  • to-do lists
  • systems
  • certain days to do certain things
  • people to help them.

And when I ask them how they plan for some indulgence, they look at me like I’m from Mars.

Let me explain what I mean by indulgence.

Historically, in the teaching of the Catholic Church, an indulgence (Latin: indulgentia, from *dulgeō, ‘persist’) is “a way to reduce the amount of punishment one has to undergo for sins (source: Wikipedia).

The Dictionary says the following: the attitude of allowing yourself or someone else to have something enjoyable, or the act of having something enjoyable

Both of these are linked and equally important.

As women, we often guilt trip ourselves when we do something we consider ‘selfish’. Like a massage, an afternoon or dinner with girlfriends. We know we need it and it fills our cups, but the guilt kind of negates that effect. It’s like that catholic punishment for a sin.

But taking care of yourself, filling your cup, putting your oxygen mask on first is neither selfish, nor a sin. It really is a must-have, a non-negotiable.

If we want to be(come) happy, balanced women/mothers/daughters/employees/bosses… we must put ourselves first.

And we do that by nurturing an attitude of allowing ourselves something enjoyable, something that gives us energy, something that is just for us.

How do we do that in the busy lives we lead?

By treating it with equal importance as all the other things that are on our to-do and planned lists.

Define your indulgence

What is a massage to one is a dance party to another. Define what your indulgence looks like. What makes you happy? What fills you up? What gives you energy?

How much of it do you need? An hour of me-time a week? A full weekend away to recharge? An indisturbed 20 minutes a day?

Create different kinds of indulgences: the ones that are small and can be fit in daily (a 10 minute meditation), a medium one that you do every week (an evening painting class), a bigger one that you do every month (an hour massage, a weekend trip…)

The more clearly you define it, the easier it is to plan it in.

Plan it

Now take out your agenda and add these to your day/week/month/year. Make them visible as ‘blocked’ to whoever needs to know. Make them non-negotiable.

The more you integrate them into your daily life, the easier they are to have and keep up.


Life happens. Kids get sick, plans change, shit hits the fan. Sometimes your indulgences will need to be cancelled. That’s fine. BUT, make sure they are back on track right after. Make sure they get replaced by something else.
Sometimes you realise that a massage on Thursday actually would fit better on Monday or that a 10 minute meditation a day is not enough. Adapt. Teach the ones around you that this is important.

It is possible

Just to be clear: YOU decide what YOU need to fill your cup. And sometimes these things really do not have to be big or take a lot of time. I suggest you make a list of 100 little things that make you happy. Get some inspiration here.