Treat Yo’ Self, a primer on self care

Maximizing every opportunity for happiness in your day-to-day is the best way to achieve greater happiness overall. Thus, you should “Treat Yo’ Self.”

One podcasts I listen to regularly is Gretchen Rubin’s “Happier.” I haven’t read her books,┬ábut I love the podcast’s brief conversations about health, happiness, and habit improvement.

In a very old episode (I’m listening from the beginning and am a year behind still!), Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth discuss the idea of “Treat Yo’ Self,” familiar to every watcher of Parks and Rec or general know-er of memes.

In the episode, Gretchen differentiates between “treats” and “rewards” and recommends that treats aren’t necessarily cost items. For more on that, I recommend you listen to the first 10 minutes of the podcast to hear it from the experts.

In order to avoid thinking the Tarte Holiday Palette is an allowable “treat,” I’ve taken Gretchen’s ideas and reframed the words “healthy treat” into “small acts of self love.” For me, these take many forms.

Lighting a candle before bed, letting the warm scent of Bath and Body Works’ “Wine Cellar” fill my room.

Putting on lipstick even when I’m not leaving the house that day.

Throwing my towels in the dryer for a few minutes before my shower so I have warm towels when I get out.

A primary aspect of Gretchen’s theory is that treats of technology, food, and shopping are danger zones. This is a dramatic divergence from Tom and Donna’s approach to treating themselves on Parks and Rec. The items in those categories move from healthy to unhealthy rapidly. Treating yourself to a glass of wine one night or a piece of chocolate another night can lead to unhealthy relationships with those items. Even watching an episode of a television show as a “treat” can quickly become binge watching, forsaking other plans or goals you may have had.

As such, I posit that treating yourself involves time limits. This is unfortunate for me, because many of the game-like activities I enjoy to relax don’t include time-mechanics . Building a house in the Sims can take hours. Playing a couple rounds of Civilization is time consuming. Even games like Candy Crush trick you by extending your lives indefinitely.

Treats should make you feel good about yourself. They should be quick items that add luxury to your life, personalized to you. Whether that is a cup of tea while you watch the sunrise or squirt of perfume before you leave for the day, treats fill your bucket.

So how are you treating yourself?

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