I know that Parks n Rec meant this to be like an over-the-top selfish punch line that fits in with Tom & Donna’s personality, but I LOVE how it has taken off. Treat Yo Self has become this mantra, this practice. Do I believe that we sometimes do it too much and too selfishly? Of course. But I also think that we can’t expect the world to “treat” us or give us gold stars. Sometimes you’ve gotta pat your own back, ya feel?
In the past all of my “treats” have fallen into two categories: shopping and eating. When I feel good I shop and eat and when I feel bad I shop and eat. It’s helpful. Except that it isn’t. I always knew that shopping and eating were not ~actually good therapy or even good “treats.” I knew that sometimes they came with their own strings attached – feeling gross, weight gain, less money, clothes I don’t actually wear, guilt.
When I read Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before she cleared it all up for me. Treats are a great way to reward yourself for doing good things. They can also help pull you out of a funk if you need one, or even provide motivation to complete a task. I was raising my hands to yell “Awwwww Yeeeeeah Praise Hallelujah!” Until she mentioned that the *really* shouldn’t be food and they *really* shouldn’t be shopping.
Of course I knew this. And of course it resonated. But it sucked a lil bit too. I LOVE shopping. I LOVE making myself a bucket of popcorn when I’m feeling happy/sad. I LOVE walking around the mall with a big Diet Coke and some pretzel bites for no particular reason. But at the end of the day there are enough negatives to that to almost cancel the positives. There are better ways to Treat Yo Self.
Gretchen encourages her readers to think of non-food, non-purchase ways to “treat” yo self, and I drew a blank for a minute. Non-food “treats”? Ok guy. But then I thought about in college when I would use Office episodes to motivate myself in study sessions.
“Ok once I finish this chapter I can watch The Dundies.” “Two pages of this paper and I can watch the bloopers on YouTube.”
It worked. And it worked well. I didn’t feel guilt. I didn’t spend money. I didn’t spend all that much time on it, to be honest. But it made me feel good. And it made me feel motivated. She might be on to something here.
My biggest complaint about this thyroid crap is that it has sapped so much of my energy. I feel like a shell some days. Where before I was always going a mile a minute, now it takes concerted effort just to conquer my essential to-do list. And guess how I compensated? Yep. Food and shopping. Nothing crazy. But it also didn’t help all that much. I thought that maybe a burrito would help get me up and running! It did for a while, and then I’d feel gross. I thought a new dress would help me want to wake up and get ready! It did for a day, and then I was back in leggings.
I decided to take Gretchen’s words to heart. I needed to treat myself in ways that were motivating and helpful, without attached strings of guilt, fat, or tags. I’ve taken several weeks to think about this and I’ve come up with my list of non-food (mostly) non-shopping (mostly) treats!
- Show Episodes: sometimes it’s Season 2 Office episodes, a favorite Parks & Rec episode, starting over Arrested Development, or moving along my current unwatched show – Grey’s Anatomy (ugh why did I do this to myself)
- Painting my nails. Slowly and carefully so they look pretty and don’t smudge. Difficult with a one year old, but I manage.
- Sodalicious – I KNOW this is both food AND shopping kind of. But for under $2 and no calories I can get a delicious beverage that makes me feel good. It counts.
- A nice bath (maybe with a bath bomb or bath salts!)
- Fashion magazines – occasionally I buy them, but usually I can just check them out for free from my library using OverDrive and Nook.
- Going to the library! Just walking around the library is fun and therapeutic for me.
- Lighting a favorite candle – Eucalyptus Spearmint is my favorite calming scent
- Adult coloring, can you believe it? I rolled my eyes at this SO. HARD. when it first became a thing. I never liked coloring. Or art in general. I’m so Type A left brain that it just never appealed to me. My sister-in-law got me my first beautiful adult coloring book and Twistables for Christmas. It took me months to try it and now I am INTO IT. I bought a mandala coloring book, all 3 Harry Potter coloring books, and I got this beautiful Paris Street Style book too. I got it through Blogging for Books once I got into this whole adult coloring thing, and its honestly the prettiest one I have.
- Writing notes/cards/letters. Mindfully writing something for someone feels so good to me. I actually get two birds with one stone by coloring a sheet for someone in particular and then writing a little note for them on it.
- Actual jammies. Most of the time I sleep in oversized Star Wars tees. When I’ve had a really long day or I’m really proud of myself for what I accomplished I try to treat my self by wearing one of my few pairs of cute real jammies. I feel classy AF.
- A designated playlist. I have one that is called “All Time Faves” and it has everything from The Cars songs we listened to driving around as kids with my Dad, to the songs we used to blast on the way home from softball practice in high school, to songs from our wedding reception playlist. I listen to it when I need a boost and it never fails to make me feel happy.
At the end of the day the biggest takeaway from Gretchen Rubin’s “treats” idea is that ~anything can be a treat if you approach it that way. Do it mindfully, ritualistically, and it will become a treat to you.
TREAT. YO. SELF.