I don't know about you, but when I "treat myself" it typically involves spending money - buying something from Target, getting my hair done, buying that expensive Starbucks drink, etc. Or, it involves eating/drinking something that I probably shouldn't - ice cream, waffles, gin.....
As someone on a tight budget, and someone who is trying to put community above personal indulgences, I have been brainstorming ways to reward myself by also doing something for others without spending any money. (Tap here to read my full post on why I think we should stop over-using the phrase "treat yo' self.")
At this point (although I did just buy myself two new shirts and a new pair of shoes yesterday just because I wanted to) I really am trying to serve others as a way of rewarding myself. But my first few ideas involved even more money - buying coffee for the person behind you in line, donating to a local animal rescue, setting up a snack or drink table in a park and giving away free refreshments. And although I still think these are awesome ways to not only feel great about yourself, but also improve someone else's day, I'm just too broke to do those all of the time. So, here are some of my ideas for treating yourself without spending any money!
1) Take a personal hour
Head to a local park with a stack of your books. Not only will you get some good time to catch up on your reading, you can offer them to others! (Have you seen those community Little Free Libraries??)
2) Give yourself a spa hour
Check out my 11 Ways to Celebrate Summer post for ideas on how to make this spa day happen! In our house, if I don't take the time to stretch, put on a nice robe, and a face mask, then no one in my house is happy. And if my attitude affects my own house that much, than I AM SURE other people can feel it.
3) Donate your time to a local animal shelter
A lot of rescues and shelters need help socializing the animals (AKA, you just get to play with them). Who wouldn't feel rewarded giving a belly rub to an abandoned furry creature?!?
Conquer a room (or closet) in your space and purge baby! Just make sure you donate everything to a local charity. Sure, it is kind of like adding one more thing to your list. But don't look at it that way! It is a way to support local families in need while giving you a fresh start, a little clarity, and a simpler life.
5) Secret Santa in the spring and summer
If you are lucky enough to have a backyard or fresh grown flowers, make a few small bouquets with jars you are planning to recycle, and leave them on random doorsteps with an encouraging note! You could definitely do this for a family member or loved one, but I think the rush and anonymity of "ding-dong-ditching" a complete stranger is even better. Plus, you will automatically make their day better if you include a small, hand-written note with something like:
"Today is a great day for a great day."
"Keep your chin up."
"You got this life thing."
"You're a total rockstar."
Get creative! If you don't have flowers, what else can you give from your own stash at home? I don't mean hand-me-down clothes or leftovers. But what about making a stranger a handmade card with some scraps of paper or fabric? You go for the classic and bake them something!
Have you ever interacted with a cashier, or co-worker, or fellow grocery shopper and just felt the bitterness, unhappiness, and stress oozing out of them? Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. And with these few examples, you'll be able to lift your spirits, reward yourself, and brighten someone else's day.
Although these may be hetero-normative examples, everyone likes relaxation, everyone likes flowers, everyone likes cards, everyone likes treats, and ALMOST everyone likes animals - regardless of gender, sex, age, ethnicity, personality, temperament, favorite color, etc.