I was recently watching season four of the sitcom Parks and Recreation, when Donna and Tom take their annual “Treat Yo Self” day (click here for the clip). This got me thinking, we don’t do this nearly enough! Treating ourselves shouldn’t only take place one day a year! It should take place each and every day! Read on for reflective questions, meditations, and a list of ideas on how to best ‘Treat Yo Self’!
Before beginning, make sure you’ve notched out some time for yourself, in a place you won’t be interrupted and in a time you can relax and begin to dip below the normal levels of “thinking” activity. It may help to take 2-5 minutes to close the eyes and focus on the breath and/or body.
Whenever you feel ready, get out a pen and paper, and follow the prompts below.
- List 10 things you genuinely love to do. Ones which recharge, relax, or invigorate. Some examples might be gardening, painting, listening to music, skiing, being at the lake, talking to a loved one on the phone, napping, anything!
- List 3 times during the day when you are able to carve out 10 minutes (or more) for yourself. For example, each day I carve out 30 minutes in the morning for yoga and meditation. Each afternoon I attempt (60% success rate) to take another 15 minutes to myself to decompress from the day. Your’s may look different, e.g. spending 10 minutes in the car listening to YOUR music while you wait for your child, scheduling a hike with a friend each Saturday, or journaling.
- List 5 things which get in the way of taking time for yourself. Some of the items on this list are things you have to (or want to) keep in your life. I can’t quit my job because it’s getting in the way of my hike/ski time! Identifying the challenges allows you to better pinpoint pitfalls when they arise, leading to a higher success rate of you getting to ‘Treat Yo Self’.
- Determine one item on your “Genuinely love to do” list, and find time this week to make it happen. You are the only person who can make your life a more joyful, fulfilling experience. Put in on your calendar, right now! By choosing to recharge and reconnect with yourself you are allowing the people around you to do the same. This will bring about more calm, loving, and open moments to share with your loved ones, co-workers, grocery store clerks, and whoever else you interact with daily.
Take a moment to yourself to try one of these guided meditations, it might bring the calm, clear alertness you need.
- Body Scan with Dave Potter: https://palousemindfulness.com/meditations/bodyscan.html
- Sitting Meditation with Dave Potter:
- Music Meditations by East Forest: https://soundcloud.com/eastforest
- Relaxing Back into Living Presence with Tara Brach: https://www.tarabrach.com/meditation-relaxing-back/
Ways to ‘Treat Yo Self’
- Treat yourself to coffee. Take time to sit down and savor every last caffeine-filled drop
- Go for a bike ride. “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride”John F. Kennedy
- Plant flowers (indoor or outdoor)
- Watch stand-up comedy (idea: watch Saturday Night Live clips on YouTube)
- Phone a friend or catch up with someone you haven’t talked to in a while
- Get prints of your favorite photos, update the pictures around your house or create a collage
- Blow bubbles
- Give someone you love a gift “just-because”.
- Plant a garden
- Stretch out on your couch and take an afternoon nap
- Plan your fantasy vacation. Do online research, cut out pictures from magazines, collect brochures from travel agencies, and plan your vacation to the last detail. Don’t censor yourself by thinking about the cost or when you’ll have the time to go.
- Start putting together your Christmas list, both what you plan to give others and what you would like to receive. (Thinking about Christmas always lifts my spirits, no matter what month of the year it is.)
- Sit by the ocean/ lake/ river and listen to the water
- Go outdoors, take a pad of paper, and sketch what you see
- Make a donation to an animal shelter, women and children’s foundation, or natural disaster organization
- Listen to music!
- Sing in the shower
- Buy yourself something luxurious- could be a candle, notebook, lotion
- Join a book club. Sharing your love of literature with others is a great way to celebrate life
- Watch the sunset
- Watch the sunrise
- Get a yo-yo. Learn the “Walk-the-Dog” trick
- Go outside at night and look at the stars
- Go to an animal shelter and “ooh” and “aah” at the puppies and kittens
- Simmer apple cider, cinnamon, and cloves in water on your stove
- Play a game you loved as a child: play with marbles or jacks; jump rope; play hopscotch; draw with colored chalk on the sidewalk; get some Play-Doh; or go to a park and climb on the swings
- Whenever you take on a task at work ask yourself: “Is there any way to make this task more fun?”
- Read poetry
- Get yourself a big book of sudokus or crossword puzzles and sit back for an afternoon of fun mind stimulation
- Sit down with a large art book filled with Impressionist paintings by artists such as Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Pisarro, Degas . . .
- Find a shampoo and conditioner that smell like watermelon
- Walk barefoot in the grass.
- Go out for a walk in the rain. Deliberately step in puddles
- Visit antique stores and flea markets until you find the perfect addition to your home
- Buy the softest terry cloth robe you can find and put it in the drier just before taking a shower, so that it’s nice and warm when you get out of the shower and put it on
- Go out for a walk and take your camera along
- Go out and play Frisbee with a friend
- Go to the gym. Spend 20 minutes walking on the treadmill and 40 reading magazines in the steam room.
- Take a car ride, music blasting, along pretty roads near your home. Stop somewhere scenic and just sit for a while before heading back.
- Go to a movie
- Download ten new songs on iTunes and dance to them for half an hour.
- Pick up a luxe bottle of nail polish and give yourself a quick mani.
- Blow off steam. If stress is pressure, you don’t want to be the pressure cooker (with mounting tension building up inside). Acknowledge your stress and find a way to let some of it out. Yell or play loud music in your car; run, walk or dance; knead some bread dough or shred some papers. Scribble on paper or vent.
- Relax and stretch. Stress builds up in our body and then creates more stress and discomfort. If you can’t change your life (or the next hour), you can still be kind to yourself and stretch out your neck or your back.
- Escape; Give yourself permission to take a break—even if it’s just a minute or two. If you can’t go for a walk, go to the bathroom. Google images of tropical beaches and put one up where you can see it, take a minute to get a glass of water or brew yourself a cup of tea.
- Journal. This is an excellent way to untangle your feelings, check in with yourself, and decompress.
- Make a list, prioritize, and check off tasks as you complete them
- Get a pedicure or manicure or give yourself one.
- Stop in the middle of the day, put your feet up and read a book or a magazine.
- Take a day off—really off. Only do things you truly want to do.
- Subscribe to a magazine you want. You’ll be reminded of your reward at least once a month.
- Give yourself a free pass to say “no” to something you wouldn’t normally say no to.
- Keep a list of items you really want and purchase one when you have a win to celebrate.
- Sleep in
- Get a massage
- Take a bubble bath
Have other ways in which you treat yourself? List them in the comment section below to share with us all! Cheers to a healthy, happy, present YOU!
Resources and Photo Credits
- Man Meditating
- Treat Yo Self sign
- Suggestions for Treating Your Self: Melissa McCreery, PhD. Psychologist, Author, and Emotional Eating Expert, Dr. Melissa McCreery focuses on the three O’s that ambush successful, high-achieving women – overeating, overwhelm, and overload. Take the free Hidden Hungers Quiz at http://TooMuchOnHerPlate.com and get customized steps to end your overeating.