I'm a firm believer in staying in my body. Imperfect as it is, it serves me well, and when I'm connected to it, I have a better chance of maintaining my serenity. It's when i get in my head and start spinning that I forget what I can control and what I can't, and my serenity flies away.
So when I give myself treats, they aren't of the chocolate-and-a-glass-of-wine variety. For me, that stuff just takes me out of my body. And I've found better ways to treat myself without having to leave my body.
Here are my treats:
* Organizing. I know, I'm a freak. Lately, I've been rewarding myself for hard work by scanning in old documents. Yesterday, that means scanning in copies of my old articles from my last full-time newspaper job. It was fun to read through them, see the good work I did and notice how my craft has progressed. I know what I would do differently with my work now.
* A Bath. Dump half a bag of Epsom salts into hot water, line the tub with a few candles and click on the podcasts for This American Life, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me! or Fresh Air and luxuriate for a half an hour.
* Music. At my last full time job, I was chastised for wearing headphones. But one of the joys of self-employment is that I can listen to music as I write this. My current favorites? For people of my generation and particular persuasion, Rhino's Brit Box is like a warm bath and a walk down musical memory lane in one (I mean, come on! Trash Can Sinatras and Inspiral Carpets together? Oh, Rhino, how I love you). Can You Dig It? The Seventies Soul Experience is nothing but goodness. Talk about injecting a little joy into your work day!
* Exercise. Nothing like getting out of my office and breaking a sweat to relieve tension, calm my nerves and boost my mood.
* Friends. Sometimes I do something hard and then call or email a friend--either in my field or not--to share the triumph, the struggle, etc. for a few minutes. Or, even better, lunch or tea.
* Meditation. This is the ultimate get-in-your-body relaxation treat. Even if it's for one minute at my desk, a mini-break is great.
Now, I'm sure you have your own--chocolate or wine included, likely--but here's my question for you: Do you do it?
This is one of those tips you see in women's magazines all the time: Take some "me time." It can feel like a command or threat. My wish for you is that your approach to your treats is gentle. The truth is, we all need rewards for stepping outside our comfort zones. Not giving ourselves them just burns us out quicker.
So if you have a hard time tearying yourself away, think about what your rewards are and what would feel best. It could be that for you, working on a new project is the reward. No reason your reward needs to be mine.