Ever-Growing List of Non-Food Rewards
I wanted to come up with a list of non-food related rewards because treats and rewards are a huge thing for many emotional eaters. And a quick something-search pulled up a lot of ideas that I just didn’t feel were helpful. For example, folks who suggest you get a massage or a mani-pedi or got to a spa obviously have never been to one because those are not things you typically do on the fly. You call and make an appointment, which can oftentimes be days or weeks away. And I’m guessing that when you decided you wanted or needed a treat or reward, you were thinking you needed it a week from Thursday.
It was important to me that the list contain items that were:
- don’t take much space,
- don’t take much time,
- don’t depend on others,
- is something you can do with little privacy,
- not be physically intense,
- and can be done while being interrupted every 5 seconds (by kids, cats, bosses, the mailman, the phone, and Facebook.)
- Take a nap or go to bed early. Sleeping is very restorative and I bet about 99.7% of us aren’t getting enough of it. Make your nap even more treat-like by changing your pillow case (it will give you that ‘new sheet’ feeling with much less work), taking off your bra and spraying a bit of lavender or other relaxing essential oil onto your pillow.
- Give yourself a mani or pedi. Add a few drops of essential oil and body wash to a pretty bowl of warm water and soak those fingers and toes while you watch your favorite episode on Netflix or Hulu. If you don’t have a manicure or pedicure set, sit with your fingers wrapped in a warm wash cloth for a few minutes and then use it to push your cuticles back. If you’re feeling fancypants, exfoliate with a brown sugar or coffee body scrub and then apply a pleasant lotion or even a coat of polish you love.
- Read a book or re-read an old favorite. Resist the urge to treat yourself to a new book purchase! If you’re like my you have a stack of books you meant to read already. Grab one of those or do a library or used book store crawl for some comfort reading’ books. Even if you only get one chapter done, you’ll feel like you’re accomplishing something.
- Take a mental health day. And then do things you WANT to do – not things you need, have, or should do. Try not to run errands and do chores unless it’s something you enjoy and really want to do. Use your day off to do awesomely unproductive things: sleep in, make yourself a big keto-pancake breakfast, explore new parts of your neighborhood, Skype, Zoom, or Facetime with friends in other time zones, write a letter to your Grandma.
- Take a hot bath. Add Epsom salts or bubble bath. Or flower petals. Turn on your favorite zen music, light some candles, and stay in the tub long enough that you get pruney.
- Have a movie marathon. Now, this is a personal preference, but I think the best movie marathons are movies that you’ve already seen and/or movies that don’t require rapt attention. You need to be able to fall asleep halfway through or get up to pee and grab a drink.One of the best parts of this is that you get to make up your own marathons. It doesn’t have to be ALL Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. You could do it Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon style and just associate thru an actor.
- Listen to your favorite tunes. Make a playlist of all your absolute favorite music. Turn your “give a shit”er off for a second and don’t worry if it’s thematically similar, segues nicely, or is ‘embarrassing.’
- Noise therapy. Nature sounds, “elevator music,” something to engage the mind. Taking walks outside and listening to birds. Making a pallet and listening to the wind in the trees.
- Visit an animal shelter. There are so many animals just waiting for a coddle and a hug! And BONUS you don’t have to clean fur off your couch or worry about that piddles on the carpet!
- Take a stroll, outdoors, without your phone. Getting out into nature is lovely and calming and centering. Getting out into nature without the temptation to tweet, post to FB, or Instagram about it is way more calming, mind clearing, and centering.
- Make a DIY face mask and pamper your face
Believe it or not, you may already have everything you need for a face mask in your kitchen right now. You can check out my free eGuide for recipes here.
- Go for a scenic drive
Do you live near a body of water, forest, a mountain or even a field of flowers? Go for a drive near it or on it. It’ll be sweet and relaxing and refreshing. Promise.
- Visit Youtube
- Watch a makeup tutorial and experiment
Do you, too, have a whole drawer of make up you’re not using? Have a search through Youtube and see if you can find some new ways to use them. Do you know how to contour? Do a real, serious cat eye? I don’t. Let’s learn!
- Watch a Youtube yoga or dance tutorial
Youtube dance tutorials are The Actual Best And Most Fun. No one ever has to know what you look like when you’re twerking! You can just keep rewinding and re-trying till you either a) get it b) collapse from laughing at yourself.
- Watch an uplift TEDx talk or other motivational Video.
- Put on headphones and watch an ASMR video
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is an experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. It can be very relaxing. Be sure to pick sounds you like. There are lots of ASMR videos out there with things like smacking and whispering that may not relax you. One of my favorite creators is ASMRMagic.
- Watch a makeup tutorial and experiment
- Devote some time to self-pleasure
- Go for a nice bike ride
Not to get exercise. Not to pick up some milk or tire out the dog. Ride someplace pretty and scenic and not overrun with other cyclists. Ride at a pace that feels easy and good and notice what’s happening around you.
- Listen to an awesome podcast
No, but really listen to it. Lay down on the sofa, open your ears and just soak it up. Like everyone else, I love this one. #shamelessSelfPromotion
- Go window shopping
This is can as fun as actual shopping. Pack yourself a travel mug of tea and then wander through your city’s swankiest shopping district. Peek into the windows and imagine where, exactly, you’d wear that feather boa or those thigh high leather boots.
- Be a tourist in your own city
Many cities have museums and aquariums. And oftentimes, they offer a “Free entry” night. Check your local listings and get cultural. Try an architecture tour or some other “tourist” type thing in your own city. Take a weekend trip to somewhere nearby and explore the local attractions.
- People watch
A few of my favorite people-watching places: the airport, the mall, any downtown area during lunch hour or after work, flea markets, farmers’ markets, anywhere near a stadium on a big game day.
- Take time to do your hair and makeup
Even if you’re not going anywhere. Every time I take the 20 minutes put on my face and curl my hair, I realize how much better (and prettier) I feel.
- If you already have a gym membership, go there and take advantage of the non-athletic stuff
I mean, you can also go to the gym and work out but I don’t think that’s much of a treat, do you? Does your gym have a sauna? Or a hot tub? Go have a soak or a steam!
- Shave your legs and put clean sheets on your bed
This is probably the best any of us will ever feel in our entire lives.
- Engage a different sense rather than taste— Light a candle that smells good to you.— Pet a stuffed animal or piece of fabric that feels cozy.— Listen to a song/album that brings you joy (and that you save for this purpose).— Look at a photo album or book of paintings you love.— Invent a ridiculous dance and do it.
- Spray on some really comforting perfume
I tend to do this at night and it has kind of replaced my late night snack as a end-of-day thing I do to relax.
- There’s an app for thatGo on certain apps on your phone, i.e. Cladwell (closet / outfit generating app), Pinterest, various life / money / health / period tracker apps. They are not absorbing enough to make you fall down a rabbit hole but you might enjoy planning your life a little instead of feeling like your rushing back and forth always.
- Take up a new hobby, or revive an old one
Remember when you gave up on trying to tech yourself to crochet? Why not pick that up again and make blankets for the local pet shelter.
- Color in a coloring book
You don’t have to buy and expensive coloring book. There are loads of free images on the web. I’ve pinned on a few on this board. Or you can Learn to Zentangle – and craft some of your own.
- Deep breaths
Take a deep belly breath in, then close off your airway and hold it for 10 seconds before blowing it out. This creates a bit of back-pressure which stretches out your lungs in a pleasing way. Do two or three of these breaths in a row. I find these especially helpful when I’m feeling stressed and need something to help me recenter myself.
- Stretch, do yoga, or tai chi
Doing stretches or yoga in which you concentrate on feeling each muscle you’re working and /or something energetic like as much stationery jogging or jumping jacks as you can take without having any actual exercise goals in mind.
- Focus on your accomplishmentsWhat can you do now that you couldn’t do before? Fit into a roller coaster seat? Fly without a seat belt extender? Hike a strenuous trail? Run a 5k without stopping? Shop in regular-sized clothing stores instead of special plus-sized stores? Do it, and do it in style. The feeling of pride and accomplishment is great!