I've seen various translations for the phrase es sich gut gehen lassen, including:

  • to take care of oneself

  • to have a good time

Can someone provide a definition (or definitions?) of this phrase, and, hopefully, usage notes?

3 Answers 3


This is the common usage:

Im Urlaub will ich es mir richtig gut gehen lassen.

In Germany, there's a special kind of additional vacation you can go on every few years on a prescription of your doctor. It's called Kur and you usually do this in a spa town. These even have it in their name, they are called Bad …. That's why es sich gut gehen lassen can also have the connotation of taking care of oneself.

So to have a good time isn't exactly what this phrase means, as it usually excludes anything stressful, as going to amusement parks or taking your children with you.

Dressing up nicely and visiting a Casino (Spa towns often have those) may in contrary fit into that phrase.

  • 1
    Kur prescriptions were very common for elderly (but still working) people in the 1980s and at that time they were indeed sometimes perceived as a form of extra holidays (paid by health insurance). My impression is however that starting with the late 1990s policies changed, and prescriptions for Kur do need some much more substantial justification than just es sich gutgehen lassen; now, I think, Kur prescriptions are always related to seriuos conditions, e.g. recovering after heavy surgery or cancer treatment. Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 14:15

As Janka pointed out the common phrase usage, I want to point out that both of your translations can fit and not only taking care of yourself.

In general it means "what I think is a good time for me and/or my body I will do". Nothing you would do on a daily base, nothing you could effort on a daily base.


  • to take care of your own body in a Spa - and impliying that this is not your daily body care routine
    • in this sense it could also mean a weekly "mini selfmade Spa at home"
  • to go on a vacation where all daily duties are done by someone else thus enjoying what you (the vacationer) would call luxury (thus doing it quite seldom, combined with "sich etwas leisten")
  • to have fun and don't care much about other opinions that you might waste your money

It still could be that someone enjoys this "gut gehen lassen" for a whole year, it still is a luxury living way compared to the rest of the life thus seldom.

And could mean anything else then luxury in money terms because for some people simply taking / having time to do something they want to do (in their dreams) would be "gut gehen lassen".


Let oneself have a good time. Compare to "sich was gönnen" or swedish "att unna sig något".

To allow yourself (to) something nice or tasty or healthy (which might be expensive or otherwise questionable).

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