The concept of "treating" ourselves has long been equated with indulgences and luxuries to be enjoyed sparingly. But what if treating ourselves really meant engaging in self-care?
You don't need an excuse to do the things that make you happy and feel like your best self, especially in a society that consistently undervalues (and downright fails to recognize) the emotions, labor and overall contributions of women.
In the spirit of self-care (keeping in mind that it looks different for everyone), come along as we journey through 10 ways to treat yourself—without any shame.
MAKE A CULINARY AND LIBATIONS BUCKET LIST.
West Michigan is ripe with restaurants, bars, breweries and distilleries just waiting to be discovered. Make a literal checklist of places old and new that you've wanted to try (and perhaps have never had a "reason" to)! Establishments like Scholar, Rika's Chicken and Myrth are just some of the stellar options to consider.
TAKE THAT TRIP!
Whether you venture out solo or plan a getaway with your best friends, travel is always good for the soul. Remember to use that vacation time! Don't want to worry about the logistics? Enlist the services of a travel advisor, like Edgewood Travel's Meredith Rothouse or Cruise Planners' Lori Visser. Witte Travel & Tours also plans travel for all around the world. Letting someone else handle the stressful parts while you get to relax? Sign us up.
SOAK UP NATURE.
Nature's seasons never cease to provide stunning backdrops for fun, reflection and contemplation. It has something to teach us year round, if we let it. Treat yourself to an outside adventure by admiring the beauty of the trails at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Blandford Nature Center, renting snowshoes at Hemlock Crossing Park, and taking in the festivities at World of Winter—the largest winter festival in the Midwest.
When it comes to self-care, most people think of spa treatments, salon services and other relaxing activities. If that sounds like a bit of you, book the service you've been dreaming of and allow yourself to decompress. From massages at Ethos Day Spa and the infrared sauna at Wanderlux Salon + Spa to hair and nail services at Design 1 Salon Spa, your choices are endless. For those looking for med spa treatments, SkinCoLAB offers a plethora of luxury aesthetic services.
GET YOUR BLOOD PUMPING!
Treat yourself to some endorphins by moving your body and getting in a good sweat. Dive into high-energy cardio at CKO Kickboxing or a low-impact (but far from easy) barre class at The Barre Code. Unsure of where to start when building a fitness routine? Get some personal coaching, like from the experts at Valeo / Training.
PRIORITIZE YOUR LIVING SPACE.
If organization weighs heavy on your mind, call in the pros (like JJ Organizational Design) who can help sort through all the clutter and get you to a place where your home works for you again. If you also find yourself without the time to clean, consider cleaning services from teams like Clean Bee Home Services and Sparkle & Shine. You'll feel lighter from just booking the appointment.
MAKE THE APPOINTMENT YOU'VE BEEN PUTTING OFF.
If you're up to date on all of your appointments with your doctor, dentist or otherwise, please know that we're severely impressed. If you're not, that's OK! However, you owe it to yourself to be kind to your mind and body. If you're in the market for a provider, there are many to choose from: the concierge services designed by women for women available at true. Women's Health, the mental health offerings at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, dentistry by Great Lakes Dental Care and more. Don't forget your largest organ—your skin! Offices like Dermatology Associates of West Michigan can help.
FIND A GOOD NEW BOOK.
Treat your imagination to an immersive read! No matter your favorite genre, West Michigan's many libraries and local bookshops—Books & Mortar, Schuler Books and We Are LIT, just to name a few—are the perfect places to find exactly the story you seek. You could even start your own book club with friends and find a cozy corner at a local coffee shop like Scorpion Hearts Club, Morning Ritual and Last Mile Cafe.
SHOP FOR A NEW OUTFIT!
Sometimes you need to add some pep into your step. Sometimes, that pep comes in the form of a new outfit! Luckily, West Michigan is home to boutiques and second-hand stores full of pieces and accessories to refresh your wardrobe. Swing into Gina's Boutique for the latest trends, A.K. Rikk's for high fashion from designer labels or Gild the Lily for gently worn pieces looking for a new lease on life.
BRIGHTEN YOUR DAY (OR SOMEONE ELSE'S) "JUST BECAUSE."
As the saying goes, life is short. Don't hesitate to romanticize your life by doing little things for yourself along the way—simply because you can. Perk up your day with a stunning floral arrangement from Eastern Floral, some sweet treats from Love's Ice Cream & Chocolates, a new (to you) record from Vertigo Music or some life-long art from Balm Tattooing.
You could also brighten someone else's day by volunteering your time and skills with one or more of West Michigan's many charitable organizations such as CSNIP, Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids, Women's Resource Center and more.
IN ADDITION ...
Sometimes, self-care is also knowing when to end friendships that have become toxic and unfulfilling. Though calling it quits in any relationship is never easy, it may be time to re-evaluate a friendship if the following sounds familiar:
- Being treated differently based on mood or who is around.
- A one-sided relationship in which you feel obligated to give and give, with little if anything given in return.
- Being judged or feeling as though you're being manipulated.
- When your friend talks about others and you are pretty sure you also get talked about.
- The friend frequently makes every conversation about them.
Read more by visiting our past conversation on the topic here.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.
This article originally appeared in the Feb/Mar '24 issue of West Michigan Woman.