Last week I talked a little about taking time away from job-searching, but since I think it’s so essential, I thought I’d say more about it.
We humans are natural pleasure-seekers. We like to do things when we know there’s a reward in it, either from the task itself (the energy we get from eating, for instance) or something we plan for (like a cocktail after a hard day). So go ahead and build those rewards in to what you’re doing. For example, I’m not someone who naturally likes to exercise, but I know I need to do it in order to stay healthy and mobile as I age, so I build in a treat: after 4 days of alternating cardio and strength work, I give myself Flexibility Fridays. I enjoy stretching, so I do a relatively easy flexibility and stretching routine with some balance thrown in as my end-of-the-week reward to myself. That may not seem like a huge reward to you, but it’s not really intended to be magnificent. It’s just that little bit easier and more fun, while still being exercise that I know I need. The more exciting treat is that after I do that, my workouts for the week are done, and that feels really good!
What are your treats? How can you give yourself small rewards for doing what needs to be done? On particularly busy weeks, I will often knock off early on a Friday and read for an hour or two. And sometimes I prepare a nice lunch and pop it in the warmer drawer before I head out for the patience and endurance test that is pandemic grocery shopping. How about you? If you’re struggling, here are a few ideas:
- Schedule a call with that friend who always lifts you up, or a group of friends you haven’t seen in a while.
- Take a walk through your neighborhood, with your dog if you’ve got one. Alternatively, spend some time playing with your cat or watching your fish, or just staring out at the squirrels and sparrows.
- Buy some fancy tea or flavored sparkling water (or coffee if, unlike me, you’re not someone who can sleep if you drink it late in the day) and limit yourself to a couple per day—and maybe something a little harder a few times per week. (Yes, early on during the pandemic, I was relying on too much coffee and doing too much day-drinking, so I’m paying more attention to what’s really normal here.)
- Take a hot bath with some lovely Epsom salts or a fancy bath bomb. Lush even makes shower bombs if you don’t have a tub or don’t love baths.
- Watch an episode of a favorite show (or a guilty pleasure) over lunch. I’m often surprised at how refreshed I am when I do.
- Plan days off—really and truly off. No email, no scheduled tasks, no obligations. I try to do at least one of these each quarter, but every month is ideal, if your schedule allows.
I find that little rewards make big differences, and I hope you do, too. What are your ideas for some nice things you can build into your week?