In order to become a doctor, you have to take a lot of tests. Some of these tests are more important than others. One being the MCAT, which is required for admittance to medical school and the higher the score, the more likely you will be accepted. I was so nervous prior to taking the MCAT and I studied daily for months. I knew that the more I worried and felt stressed, the less I would recall during the test. So I decided to not study at all the day prior to the test and to treat myself to a one hour massage at a local spa. This was a very risky decision to forgo studying the day prior to a major test that could help determine my future but I believe I performed better on the test because I was not so stressed out. I do not regret taking that time to pamper myself and started a tradition of booking massages the day prior to every subsequent major exam that I was required to take. I have no regrets and feel that it has benefited me more than hindered my progress in my career.

Treating yourself seems like an obvious component of self-care but many people neglect it. There is a myriad of excuses that inhibit people from taking advantage of this easy way to improve well-being.

1. It is too expensive…

There are many ways to treat yourself without spending a lot of money. For example, I live near a park, and when the weather is nice, I go out and sit in the park with a book or just people watch. This is a huge treat for me because it gives me a break from thinking about work or other responsibilities while getting some fresh air and Vitamin D. This costs me nothing and it adds so much to my mental well-being. See the list below of other ways to treat yourself for little to nothing:

  1. Take a bubble bath while listening to soothing music and burning a fragrant candle (you will feel like you are at a spa)
  2. Watch your favorite movie or catch up on your favorite TV show
  3. Visit a friend or family member you haven’t seen to in while
  4. Visit a museum – many offer free admission or have special rates on select days
  5. Go to the farmer’s market – many outdoor farmer’s markets have vendors that offer free samples and some have live music
  6. Take advantage of happy hour deals – some restaurants offer deals on food and drink during the week in the early evening or “happy hour,” which provides an inexpensive way to treat yourself to a meal or nice glass of wine
  7. Catch up on some leisure reading or start a new book that you have been meaning to read
  8. Give yourself a day off – Now, I don’t mean call in sick when you are feeling just fine. What I mean by this statement is that you should give yourself a day with no commitment or obligations to others and reserve it for yourself to do whatever you want. This may be harder for parents but with pre-planning, you could make it work.

2. I don’t have time…

Treating yourself does not mean you have to sacrifice productivity. In fact, I use it as a reward for completing a task or reaching a milestone. Actually, having the incentive makes me less likely to procrastinate. It also motivates me to complete my tasks with more efficiency in order to have more time to do something for myself. Additionally, it is important to carve out time for yourself as a part of your regular schedule and to be adamant about using that time for you alone.

Personally, I find it hard to fit time into my busy work schedule to treat myself. This has made me appreciate free time more and I am much more protective of my time.

Investing time in yourself will produce the greatest return on investment.

3. It is selfish…

Many people feel guilty about treating themselves because they feel as if they are using resources for themselves that should be given to others. As I have said in a previous post about self-care, you cannot pour from an empty cup. In order to give the best of yourself to others, you must make sure that you take care of yourself. You should never feel guilty about giving yourself what you need to be your best self.

I hope this post inspires you to do something special for yourself today. Let me know how you like to treat yourself in the comments. As always, feel free to share on social media and subscribe to receive notifications of new blog posts.