20 Ways to Treat Yourself without Money
Reward Yourself With a Treat
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My dogs have taught me over the years, the importance of the reward. There’s nothing quite as inspirational to a pooch as the question, “Want a bone?” The only other motivator that comes close is a platter of juicy steak, but that’s a bit messy to pop into your pocket. Sure, you smell good and have every dog in town following you, but oh, the grease stains.
Our Jack Russell, Annie, is aging and often has a recalcitrant, doubtful attitude about climbing the stairs in our home. I can hear her little nails tapping on the wood floor at the foot of the steps and often go to the head of the stairs and utter that question to her, “Want a bone?” That simple question gives her the “oomph” she needs to ascend the dreaded stairs. It reminds me that many of us who have chronic pain also need a goal, an inspiration and a bit of a goading as we climb through life. How do you reward yourself?
I often reward myself with those wonderful “time outs.” They were so dreaded when you were a child, now they’re beloved as an adult. I’m a list person and often make out those “to do” lists or “to write” lists late at night when my mind seems to be in its planning mode. I know myself well enough to know I will not plod through that list of duties or writing without giving myself a “time out.” The days of plodding on and on until the chores are completed, are now over. My life is a series of patterns of work and rest. Work, lie down and read. Plan dinner, rest, then cook, then rest again so I will feel up to eating what I’ve cooked. Those are the patterns of my life. It seems to work for me, but it may be different for you. This is all a very individualized, customized process. Each of us has our own idea as to what constitutes a treat.
I, like you, use many rewards or treats along this road of everyday pain. Sometimes I grab a feather pillow I keep in the chair in front of my keyboard and simply enjoy playing music. At other times, I lie down with my laptop and work on a blog, email or a poem. You do know, don’t you, that I have to write most of these blogs while lying down? At other times, I wedge in a phone call to a friend between chores; fold the laundry which is followed by another reward; and on it goes, the days of my life.
For instance, this morning, I awakened, took my pills with a small carton of Activia yogurt, saving the bottom remnants of the carton for Annie. It’s her morning “bone.” Believe me, she knows it and stands over me like a vulture, her eyes following every spoonful as it enters my mouth. Her intention is to stir up my guilt but it doesn’t work. Then I do my morning stretches to try to put every part of my body where it should be before my feet hit the floor. After that, I usually reward myself with a visit with all of you here on the blog. It is then time for another duty; this morning I bathed our miniature Schnauzer, Jake. Now, wet, towel-wrapped Jake and I are on the bed and I’m composing this, which will be followed by a trip to the basement to take down a load of laundry. Thus is the pattern, duty followed by reward, whatever form that reward may take.
The pleasure of rewarding yourself is in the many forms those rewards can take. Some of us use chocolate, shopping online, taking a walk, reading a good book, etc. We take time to play with our pets, our spouse or watch a movie. The list is long and extremely customized, as are we. It’s an excellent idea to get in some physical movement, depending on our level of activity and how we’re feeling. Never underestimate the power of those endorphins which start pumping after even the mildest workout.
I learned many years ago the importance of this pattern for my well-being. If I go all out and charge ahead at chores, shopping, etc for hours on end, there will be a severe price to pay in the evening, all night and into the next day. This way of life takes some planning because we can’t delay and leave tasks until the last minute as we once did. I sometimes chuckle to remember those late-night study hours before an exam in college or all-night wrapping and construction or craft sessions before Christmas when my children were young. If I behaved like that today I’d end up in a heap on the floor. “So, where’s Sue? Oh, she’s that prostrate pile of protoplasm spread out on the floor.”
So, my friends, as many of us have learned, this way of life is much more accommodating if we give ourselves a bone now and then. Not only will we live longer and feel a bit better but we’ll have some joy along the way. Certainly it’s difficult, but that’s how we overcome. Anyone want a bone? I’ve never tried a Milkbone, but I’m willing to give it a try if I run out of other rewards.
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