You worked hard all year and just received a nice sum of cash back from the government—good for you! It might be tempting to spend your tax refund on a shopping spree or to take your family and friends out to dinner. However, you may want to consider the ways in which your tax refund might benefit your body, mind, and soul. “It’s great to spend your money on feeding your soul because we are the source of all we do. Taking great care of ourselves helps us be our best in our relationships, at work and in our creative pursuits,” says Paulette Sherman, Psy.D., psychologist. Here are some self-worthy ways to spend your hard-earned tax refund.
Take a vacation with a loved one.
It’s easy to let quality time with friends and family slide on the priority list when you’re busy with work and responsibilities. That’s why Dr. Sherman suggests using your tax refund on a chance to combat this. Sneak away with your loved one and leave the stress of your day-to-day behind. “This escape is the return on your investment. So it’s important to reward yourself with some needed rest and replenishment,” she says. “And traveling somewhere new can also be something exciting that you will always remember.”
Plan a spa day.
When was the last time you got a massage or a facial? Or simply sat in a sauna and just relaxed? If your answer was six months (or more), consider splurging on a wellness escape, even for a day. It will soothe and relax you. “Surrounding yourself in an environment that heightens tranquility and feeds your soul with calmness and balance, helps you release any built up stress, relaxes your body and re-invigorates your mind,” says Tanya Otterstein-Liehs, empowering movement and mindfulness coach.
“It’s a chance for you to re-focus completely on yourself without any distractions or outside influences,” she says. Don’t be too surprised if you go back home with new insight, and revitalized personal and fitness goals.
Recommit to your fitness goals.
Run outside more often or to hit up your local barre studio at least three times a week. Taking responsibility for your physical health is a key way to find more fulfillment and happiness in your life. “Partaking in something physically challenging is one of the best things you can do for your body, mind, and soul,” says Amy Kosh, a life coach based in Asheville, North Carolina, and founder of An Unstoppable Life. “Exercise hits all the key elements of resilient living by connecting you to a physical practice. [It] challenges you to stretch your boundaries a bit. [It] gets you out there with some new people while you are being active.”
Sign up for a weekly meditation class.
Meditation is terrific for eliminating stress! And research backs up this theory. One study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that mindfulness meditation has the ability to improve a myriad of mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression. “It’s great for your health [and] helping to relieve stress. [It] provides guidance on how to make great choices in your life that serve you,” says Dr. Sherman. “It is a great investment in having a relaxed directed year going forward.” Spend part of your tax refund on some kind of guided meditation class or app that can help you finally get into the mindfulness trend.
Purchase a gratitude journal.
Research shows that writing down your thoughts and feelings can have a positive impact on your wellbeing. Not only does it relieve stress and tension, but studies show that it may help you overcome the sadness of experiencing a romantic breakup. It helps you put life in perspective. It also teaches you how to be grateful for the things you do have in life. “The importance of waking up every day and writing in your gratitude journal is vital in feeding your soul and living with a sense of purpose and gratefulness,” says Otterstein-Liehs. “When you write down the things that you are grateful and thankful for, you will inevitably attract more positive things into your life. Going after your next goals will feel more achievable.”
Invest in essential oils and diffusers.
For thousands of years, essential oils have helped heal and soothe people—and they’re still extremely popular today. “Essential oils feed your soul by creating balance and harmony in your body. [This] is vital for your health,” says Otterstein-Liehs. “A balanced body means a healthier body, with a heightened immunity system, increased energy levels, and protection for preventable diseases like Type 2 diabetes.” They also help soothe your muscles after an intense workout!
Plan a dinner or potluck with some good friends and family.
There’s nothing like connecting with friends and family over good news, and your tax refund is just that! Kosh suggests nabbing this opportunity to grab some friends and family. Go out for a fun dinner, plan a potluck picnic, or celebrate with great drinks and dessert one evening. “The point is to allow yourself to play and celebrate with others,” she says. “This will up your oxytocin levels. You’ll feel the benefits for a longer time than if you just went out and bought something new.”