When did you last treat yourself?
After nearly four weeks of having one, two or all three children at home, I am counting down the hours to 9am on Monday when I will be home alone. I think the dog is looking forward to a rest too – there are only so many brushes a day he can handle and I think he has reached his limit.
The four weeks have involved lots of “Mum, can I?” and “Mum, please”; they’ve also involved beach trips (fun at the time but not great on the return when you have a child with sensory issues), frequent trips to Subway (after my fussy eater decided Subway was the sandwich of choice), and of course, lots of just keeping them apart and acting as referee.
As the four weeks have progressed, my work output has declined (ok, almost stopped) and my to do list has grown and grown and grown (along with my anxiety). I have spent the last four weeks filling up my diary with things to do and people to speak to once the kids go back. Then a friend asked me how I would be treating myself once they return. Treat myself? I hadn’t really considered it; to be honest just the peace and quiet will be a treat for me. Having four weeks of children at home has hugely drained the bank balance so a spa day isn’t an option (sadly).
However, this started me thinking about how we treat ourselves. Do we treat ourselves? I started to write a list of things I class as treats – new book, new miracle face cream, spa day, lunch at Wagamama and then I thought how these all involved funds.
Do treats need to cost anything?
So I came at it from a different perspective. What things made me smile? What made me feel happy? More importantly, do treats have to cost anything? I soon realised there is a list of things that make me smile and don’t cost a penny (or not much).
- The smell of freshly ground coffee
- The smell of fresh ginger
- The smell of fresh coriander.
- A playlist of songs from the 80’s.
- Looking through an old photo album
- Visiting the library
- Mooching around Waterstones
- Mooching around Paperchase and Staples
- Sitting with a cold/hot drink on the beach just watching the sea
- People watching at the local shopping centre
- Reading recipes and imagining I have a life where people try new foods with pleasure
- Watching my wedding video
- Catching up with a friend
- Re-arranging my bedroom
- Attempting to feng-shui my office
- Walking the dog
- Chatting to my hubby
- Watching one of my many stand up comedian DVDs
- Finding a new tip on becoming more organized, living mindfully, or improving a website
- Taking photos on my phone
- Watching inspiration videos on YouTube
- Bookbub – daily email giving details of free books on ibook and kindle.
- Blogs I subscribe to – not related to special needs.
I could list many more but you get the idea.
I had this list and was wondering what to do next, when my husband brought a gift home for me – a copy of Gretchen Rubin’s latest book “Better than before”. It’s all about making and keeping new habits but there in the book was a chapter called “Just because” all about giving yourself a menu of treats to choose from. Gretchen advocates using this menu to treat yourself, not as a reward for being good or for an achievement, but “just because”. Gretchen believes that “if we give more to ourselves, we can ask more of ourselves”. When we don’t treat ourselves, we start to feel resentful or angry and this stops us being productive and can lead us to reverting to negative habits.
I know that over the last four weeks I have had times when I have resented my husband going to work (I think one day I even called it “swanning off to see his mates”) and I have dealt with that by indulging in pettiness, self pity and then guilt.
I love my kids and I love their personalities and sense of humour and I know how lucky I am to have three children and a supportive husband. However, during long holidays, I sometimes feel as if I lose me, the person. I think if I had read Gretchen’s book before the start of the four weeks I would have found a way to “treat myself” throughout the time and this would have helped, not just me but my family too.
After reading the chapter, I waited for my hubby to return from work and I took myself out, to the beach and sat there for an hour with a fresh cup of coffee listening to some podcasts. I ticked off three treats in one. It felt a bit decadent, like I was playing truant. The cost was just the fuel to get to the beach (only 10 minutes from my door), I brought the coffee from home, and even though I was only out of the house for 1.5 hours, I felt as if I had been away for a week when I got back. I was totally recharged.
What are you waiting for?
So, go on, write yourself a list of treats. Pin it on the fridge or next to your bed and then, USE IT. Treat yourself. If you have real difficulty in using the word “treat”, then think of it as an essential “to do”. Doing these little things for yourself will benefit your family. If you don’t believe me, ask my hubby and kids.