21 Guilty Pleasures We Refuse to Stop Indulging In

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A guilty pleasure is something that you enjoy doing, even though it may be embarrassing, taboo or even shameful for you to admit it. This could be anything from grabbing another slice of cake when you know you shouldn't, to renting a cheesy rom-com and ordering takeout on a weeknight.

One scholar of gender studies, Dr. Sami Schalk, suggests that women and other marginalized groups be careful not to attach negative connotations to pleasure -- particularly since they may be associating guilt with pleasure as an outcome of historically having been denied pleasure. 

As a community that is centered on helping women achieve their career goals, it may seem counterintuitive to discuss guilty pleasures. But having emotional and intellectual release valves are important for productivity, balanced living and can help relieve stress during difficult times. To maintain a sustainable lifestyle compatible with a demanding job, here is a compilation of so-called guilty pleasures our community have shared that feel way too good to give up — and also help provide some important mental breaks!

1. Dancing like no one's watching.

Call it "risky business" if you will, but there's nothing like cranking up the volume on a good Kelly Clarkson song and getting your groove on. Grab your hairbrush, hike up your socks and dance like no one's watching... even if they are. Certain music can especially help set a calm tone for those who work at home or have a tedious, repetitive task at hand to complete.

2. Creeping on Facebook or Instagram.

Maybe you've found yourself scrolling through your social media feeds during small breaks at home or work? Or, you clicked through one page, then another, and another until you ended up on... Asahd Khaled's Instagram account? Either way, you're not alone! A lot of us are right there with you. Think of it this way: you are staying informed about your social and professional network. Social media is a way to stay in-the-know.

3. Sleeping in. 

Doesn't it feel good to not have to set your alarm? To wake up with the sun, fully energized and ready to start the day on your own accord? You deserve to sleep in on the weekend or your days off, but let's not forget to set an alarm for the workdays, OK? During the shift to increased hybrid and remote working, commutes have disappeared so you may be able to sleep more than those days when you steadied yourself for a long car, train or bus commute.

4. Binge-watching reality TV shows.

If it makes you laugh, gasp or cry — especially out of happiness — then this is a guilty pleasure worth keeping. Jersey Shore, Real Housewives and 90-Day Fiancé easily fall under this bucket. 

5. Reading novels for pleasure.

You're not the only one who owns a copy of "Fifty Shades of Grey." If romantic (or even, erotic) novels are your guilty pleasure, then we encourage you to continue flipping through. Not everything you read has to help you become more productive, efficient or communicate more effectively. Don’t be embarrassed!

6. Eating dessert before dinner — or whenever.

Blame it on the inspirational Dove chocolate wrapper or the jokes on a popsicle stick, but we all love dabbling in a good dessert. Personally, I don't know when I'm going to stop licking cake batter off the spoon, but I know it's not going to be any time soon. Another benefit to saving more money by eating at home is eating what you want out of the prying eyes of others. 

7. Ordering takeout when you simply don't feel like cooking.

You're laid up on the couch beneath your heated blanket while Netflix is counting down to the next episode, so you can't possibly be bothered with making your own food. Grab that takeout menu and make the call — your tummy will thank you... though, maybe not your wallet. Outsourcing cooking and cleaning is often advice given to busy working professionals. While it’s not something we can afford to do every day, with the proliferation of delivery food apps, it shouldn’t be something we only save for special occasions. Time is money, too!

8. Eating food out of the jar, or drinking beverage out of the carton.

And I don't mean this like the woman who licked ice cream out of a Blue Bell tub and put it back on the shelf — not OK! But if you have a jar of Nutella or carton of juice for yourself, then why not spare yourself the dirty dishes? Now that more of us are able to work from home, you don’t have to worry that a colleague is going to pick up that carton of milk next.

9. Playing games on your computer, phone or video device.

At least that's what one FGBer likes to do! This could be anything from that home design game on your phone, to the Just Dance game on your Wii, to that one website you need an ad blocker for. But whatever you do, don't — stop — candy crushing. 

10. Keeping up with celebrity feuds.

From Taylor Swift and Katy Perry to Drake and Meek Mill, it's no doubt that we know a good celebrity feud when we see one — and we love it when we do. They usually don't last long, either, so grab your popcorn and enjoy the show while you can. Plus, keeping up with the news can help you break the ice in a group.

12. Taking selfie after selfie until you get the perfect one.

It's all about the angles, am I right? And it doesn't hurt to have a little face time with yourself every once in a while. If taking selfies is your guilty pleasure, then you have my like! Just make sure that you also take a professional-looking one or two to update your LinkedIn profile with so your digital footprint also has some professional-looking shots.

13. Singing along to the music in your car.

Windows up or down, a carpool karaoke session is always a good time. If you're looking for some good sing along songs, I recommend Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles" or Whitney Houston's "Dance With Somebody."

14. Sewing, knitting and croqueting, alike.

Fairygodboss' Partnerships and Communications Manager, Samantha Spica, has no shame in her game when it comes to her craft. Anything that involves creativity and relaxation is actually rather mindful, so why not dabble in it a little — or a lot?

You can also do this while listening to podcasts or watching training videos at work. Just sayin’.

15. Daydreaming or fantasizing.
Sometimes, the little world in our head is the greatest place to be. It's private, peaceful and completely controlled by you. Plus, there's nothing wrong with getting lost inside yourself — unless, of course, you're in the middle of a really important business meeting, or something like that...

16. Working in bed.

You know the sleep experts say that you should create a dedicated space to work in and that working in bed can make it more difficult to fall asleep there. But sometimes there is just nothing like lying against your pillow cushions and propping that laptop up on a pillow. Just don’t do it with your manager or a client with the video on if it’s too obvious!.

17. Falling asleep during a concert or movie. 

While fewer people may be going to the movies today, there is still a lot of pleasure to take in falling asleep to something playing in the background. It may be less of a guilty pleasure to fall asleep on your couch rather than in the cushioned seats, air-conditioned spaces of a public theater but sleep is so important, who cares where you do it?

18. Borrowing the mini soaps and shampoos from hotels... with no intentions of returning them.

Among many great things hotels have to offer, the mini soaps, shampoos and conditioners are some of them. Some of us are probably guilty of grabbing some of these bottles for ourselves, but if you want to relieve the guilt, convince yourself you're getting what you paid for! (Or that your company has picked up the tab on your business trip and wants to make sure you make the most of it.)

19. Make believe apartment hunting.

Who doesn't love to imagine their dream home every once in a while? I know this FGBer certainly does! Why not take it a step further and drop some items in your Ikea cart, while you're at it. There's no harm done if you don't purchase!


Again, the theme is figuring out how to relieve your stress and reduce it to manageable levels. No guilt about feeling better, please!

20. Whining or complaining.

There's plenty to complain about: period cramps, people at work, bad breakups, the last episode of a season, your roommate leaving the light on in the hallway — again. There's no denying the relief we feel from complaining, and the validation we receive from others who can relate. And if there’s nobody IRL to hear you out on the nuances of your problems at work -- our community is quite supportive and it can help to hear others’ perspectives on your issues. 

21. Buying flowers for yourself.

Boost your mood with a fresh bunch of lavender or a eucalyptus plant, and place it somewhere it'll receive lots of sunlight. There are many mental benefits you can gain from indoor plants including their mild scents, which can ease anxiety, or certain properties that remove toxins and mold from the air.
We could easily add 21 more guilty pleasures on this list, so if we didn't mention yours, I encourage you to join the conversation here! And as I always like to say, do whatever floats your boat, as long as it doesn't sink someone else's.

This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Stephanie Nieves was previously a SEO & Editorial Associate on the Fairygodboss team. Her words can also be found on Medium, PayScale and The Muse.

What’s your no. 1 suggestion for how to unwind from work or exercise some self-care? Leave your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!