Autumn seems to be the worst month for indulgence. It’s as if the arrival of a bit of cold weather permits us to go out and buy all that comforting stuff we apparently need when the sunshine stops lightening our moods. It seems to be the time of year when the “Go on, indulge yourself, you deserve it” message is at its strongest. And it works! It works because when we’re having that moment of doubt about making a purchase, the “you deserve it” voice in our ear is all we need to justify whipping out our bank cards.

Maybe we do feel as if we’ve earned a treat. Maybe we’ve been working hard, giving ourselves little in return (and don’t forget those dark evenings drawing in, making us feel all melancholy). It’s certainly possible that many of us take on too much, work long hours, leave little time for ourselves. But is the solution to indulge in yet more unnecessary spending? Add some extra stuff to our already overstuffed lives? Or is there a better way to treat our deserving selves?

Is it possible that what we really deserve is less time shopping and more time doing something we’ve wanted to do forever but never seem to get around to? Get that project started, play with our kids, get together with our friends, go on a long walk, see that exhibition. The list could go on and on. Ultimately the stuff you’ve bought will just be more stuff and I guarantee it won’t make you feel indulged. It’s the quick fix, that’s for sure, but in the end it might have quite the opposite effect and I’m pretty sure you don’t deserve that.

So next time you’re feeling unappreciated, next time you’ve worked a bit longer than you’d like or you haven’t had a break or a treat in a while and that voice calls to you “go on, indulge yourself, you deserve it” at least stop and think about just how you want to be rewarded.