We all know Christmas time is all about giving to others but what about making sure we give something back to ourselves throughout the year? It’s also the time of year when we start coming up with new year resolutions however big or small. Maybe recycling the ones we never got round to doing the previous year. Some of them will incorporate how we want to be in the new year, how we want to feel and of course what I call me-treats.
Hopefully you don’t have to think that much about planning me-treats and they happen naturally without too much thought. But when we’re busy looking after others, focussing our energy on work or daily urban/suburban life, time easily takes over. The next thing we know it’s time to go to bed and recharge for the next day’s events and to-do list.
I reckon one of my skills is knowing how to spoil myself (even just a little bit here and there). I’m usually pretty good at treating myself to all kinds of things but I know I’d love to treat myself to more moments, experiences or new mini-adventures. Yes, me-treats can be viewed as a distraction when we’re going through tough times but they’re also important rewards when we’re working hard. Reward charts can be a big thing for little people but what would you add to your own reward chart? Also, you don’t always need a reason to justify a me-treat.
One of the things I love about the post-natal yoga class I discovered* is that our yoga teacher Karina always asks us “what’s the one thing you will do for yourself this week?” One of the first things I first pledged was to create a new music playlist just for me. It would also involve consciously finding new music. Something I don’t always get to do as long gone are the days when I could spend hours or just my lunch break sifting through record shops in Soho. It took me a few weeks to finish the playlist in the end. I really loved adding tracks as I thought of my favourite tunes and came across new ones whilst out and about. It’s now become the official little soundtrack to my maternity leave and precious time-off with baby Munch.
So the me-treat question has become one of my favourite things to ask myself. Hearing others’ pledges is also fun and always inspires me.
The more obvious me-treats are ones we can easily buy. It can be easy to feel a little guilty if you spoil yourself but me-treats don’t have to be pricey or really extravagant. From an hour out and about on my own or something so basic but powerful like an early night, me-treats reminds us that we do need to carve out time to look after ourselves. Of course just popping out to buy ourselves a nice coffee or snack is just as good too. Carving time out for ourselves isn’t always easy so if you’re busy at work maybe think about mini slots in the day just for you. If you’re busy running around with little ones or looking after others, ask your partner or a friend to help out so you can have some proper me-treat time. Or you can think about me-treats you can do together with the little
ones as you don’t always have to be on your own to enjoy me-treats.
So, here’s a little wish list with some newbies and oldies. I’m hoping as you’re reading this post you’ve already come up with a few of your own.
- Calling that friend you’ve been meaning to speak to for ages. Maybe just sending them a quick text or photo to let them know you’re thinking of them. I know I don’t do this enough at times.
- Write a letter to someone or send a thank you card to a pal who wouldn’t expect one. No reason why we can’t thank people for the little things they do for us too. I love receiving postcards and letters and my little walks to our postbox with Lil’ Munch.
- If you’re on a trip away or enjoying time off, send yourself a postcard listing your favourite moments, quotes and general lucky things that made you smile.
- Sorting out your favourite photos from last month. A “happy collection” that’s nice to flick through when you’re on the train, waiting for the kettle to boil or waiting in a queue.
- Doodle! Then colour it in (if you have time and colouring equipment to hand). There are loads of colouring books out there for grown ups too.
- Going for a walk and taking a more scenic route. I love the idea of “penny walks” as mentioned in A Cup of Jo where you take the little ones out for a walk nearby and enjoy pausing to take in and chat about new things spotted along the way.dont forget your umbrella!
- Booking yourself into a new gym/exercise class even if it’s a one-off.
- Bedtime corner yoga. Sometimes you don’t need lots of space to do yoga. Find poses for compact spaces that may help you sleep such as child’s pose. This can also be done anytime during the day or around the house. Maybe work out a little one-minute routine with neck rolls and a few stetches. One that’s easy to repeat each night.
- Planning a whole day out for yourself (on your own or with a friend). For me, the other day I had an hour spare so took a little street art tour on the way back from visiting the office.
- Plan a day out with your favourite grown ups or little ones. Art galleries and museums have something for everyone.
- Get people together! It doesn’t matter if the date is in a few month’s time. Just one person needs to start off organising a meet-up and they’re always so worth it. Even easier now we have WhatsUp groups for mates.
- Wardrobe browsing and redesigning those favourite outfits. No need to buy new clothes so how about having a good look at your favourite clothes to wear and making a “feel-good capsule wardrobe”. What outfits make you feel happy or remind you of fun times or cute memories? Make up new outfits and make your usual outfit a little different by mixing up accessories or adding a new colour. If you have time, this is also a chance for some wardrobe cleansing and saying bye to the clothes you never get to wear. Making space in the wardrobe isn’t just about being able to fill it up with new items but space also lets you see and appreciate your favourite clothes!
- Window researching (aka window shopping) but looking for things you might like later on in the year. Window researching can also give us ideas, remind us about the outfit we already have and it’s time to get it out again. Window researching is so easy to do online but if you can, get out to a favourite high street or one with fancy windows.
- Music! Listen to your favourite tunes and putting all of your favourite ones on one playlist. Maybe ones that remind you of dancing with your friends. I love Spotify for this. When it comes to hearing new music then I pick out someone’s playlist from Mixcloud (free app you can easily download).
- Listen to your favourite radio show. For me, I love jotting down new tunes so I can add them to my playlist. There are loads or radios shows online. The TuneIn radio app is great for this (also free).
- What book or iPhone playlist would make that commute feel a bit better? Some of us dread our commutes, some of us cherish the time we have on our own even if we’re standing and sharing limited space with strangers!
- Make a new recipe with one or a few of your favourite foods. The other day I made up a recipe for warm crispy curly kale salad with beetroot, apple and nuts. I know, not the typical snack and sounds pretty healthy right?
- Takeaways alway go down well as an “us-treat” in our house (to balance out the above healthier moments!).
- Plan the cake you’re next going to bake. Note cake is definitely for sharing and even better if you can take some into work or deliver some to a friend for no particular reason
- Change is good! Move around furniture in one of the rooms to try and create a bit more space or a different view when relaxing in your favourite chair. Swap cushions or blankets between rooms to give them a new look.
- Watch one of your favourite feel-good movies or a new one recommended by a friend. I keep a films to watch list on my iPhone.
- Getting your nails done (even if it’s a home manicure job when your hands are finally task-free!)
- Mini home facial if you can’t book a professional one. Cucumber slices for a quick eye chill fix. If you have a hot drink, pop your hands around the mug for a couple of minutes then place your warmed palms on your eyes. Something my bro taught me (actually a chill tip from his kung-fu teacher!)
- Write down the 3 lucky things that happened to you or favourite moments that week or month. They could also be lovely things people have said to you or done for you. If you do this every now and then it becomes a lovely list to look back on. No need to spend ages writing a long journal as a few words work too (and I jot them down on my iPhone notes page whilst I think of them). You’ve probably gathered by now I’m a list-lover.
- Plan your next me-treat. Maybe one for the weekend or a mid-week one to break up the busy routine. What’s the one thing you’d love to do whilst you have time away from work?
- New Years resolutions can be one-off things too. Make a list of things you’d love to do or see this year, however near or far, big or small.
- Having a phone free slot each day (pop it on silent or keep it in another room if you’ll be tempted to check it!). I know this is easier said than done but a good habit to master. This is also so important when you just want to focus on one thing, one person, others or just watch the little ones to take in how super cute they are.
- Do nothing! Just having some proper chill time to rest our busy brains, arms and legs. A chance to think about the lucky things around you and why life is or has been good to us.
So what will your me-treat be for today, tonight or this week? I’ve just booked myself onto a hip hop yoga class. A triple me-treat as I’ve never tried one before, I’ll have a good stretch and I get to listen to some of my favourite hip-hop gems. I even get to work out a new yoga outfit for the special occasion. Can’t wait.
Sharing is caring. So feel free to leave a comment and share your own ideas for easy me-treats.
*Discovery of all things nice through word of mouth is one of my favourite lucky things ever. So a big thank you to pals Rose and Fej for introducing me to the Yoga Sisters classes.