So, treating yourself every once in a while is necessary. And sometimes – you need to take a significant period of time to focus on you. That’s why I decided to take a Treat Yourself week.
It started as an idea to take a day, then a weekend. Finally, I just gave in and took the whole week to be selfish. It. Was. Awesome. I left each morning, as I would for work, but filled my whole day with activities that made me happy and healthy, mentally and physically. Different than a Staycation, which is focused on taking time just to relax and binge on Netflix, Treat Yourself week is focused on being active but only doing things that you normally wouldn’t make time for.
For example, I went to tons of museums, exercise classes, and restaurants that I had wanted to try for a while but never had the chance to yet. It was a blast. One other rule of Treat Yourself week, which differs from the traditional Parks and Recreation-style Treat Yourself day that served as my inspiration – you have to do it by yourself. Trust me. Doing only the things that you want to do, all day, every day for a week is pretty amazing. You also may learn some things about yourself on the way. Here are the things that I learned on Treat Yourself Week:
Being alone isn’t scary – it’s a treat.
While many people during my week made comments about my lack of companions, I really enjoyed being tied to no one other than myself. I was on my schedule, on my time, following my plan. If something didn’t turn out as well as I thought it would, I left and found something else to do. If I decided I wanted to take a detour and try something else that caught my eye, I did it. If I wanted to do something that no one else in my life would likely want to try, I didn’t have to feel guilty dragging someone else along.
Sure, it felt a little odd to eat a 12 course lunch by myself (shout out to Momofuku Ko for a great meal), but it still just as delicious and I had some great conversations with the chefs and wait staff. Which leads me to my next learning…
In-person socializing is a dying treat that we need to revive.
Another rule that I made for myself was that, if I was going to do things alone, I wasn’t going to be tethered to my phone the whole time. What’s the point of experiencing all of these things if I wasn’t going to be fully present? Of course, I sent some texts to my husband throughout the day and took pictures of the memories I was making, but I made it a point not to sit and scroll through social media posts any time I felt fidgety.
And guess what? I actually met some really cool people who wouldn’t have met otherwise. I met a lovely couple while eating my lunch at a sculpture museum restaurant, chatted it up with a fellow Uber Pool rider, and even got recruited by a bartender to try an experimental cocktail from a Japanese tasting menu. All of these instances enriched my Treat Yourself week because meeting new people is fun and you always learn something new. Part of the treat is being open to the whole experience – including people around you.
Treating yourself can actually enrich your work.
Spending time doing things that I usually don’t do really helped me to start thinking outside the box in many ways. For example, while spending some time in the MoMA, I got some ideas about how to partner with an artist to turn some interview data that I have from a project into a piece of installation art. These ideas came to me because I made space for a new way of thinking and other ways of doing things.
Creative thinking in one area can influence creative thinking in other areas as well. So, while my fencing lesson may not have had a direct impact on my work performance, the whole experience of meeting people who were immersed in the world of fencing may have gotten my wheels turning in a way that influenced my thought process at work.
Overall, I felt really calm and centered after my week of treats. Even if it’s just for a day, taking time to do things you love and to get yourself out of your daily routine can help to make you more well-rounded and, as a result, more well in general. So, get out there and Treat Yourself, people! I would love to hear your tips and tricks as you become Treat pros.