I’m back. It has been 2 weeks worth of people being sick in our house. This virus went through everybody in some fashion or another. I basically sat on my couch for a whole week. The first two days when I didn’t feel horrible, I finished the Redhead series by Alice Clayton. Then I couldn’t really prompt myself to do anything other than watch episodes of 90210 on Netflix. The new 90210 series, not the old Beverly Hills, 90210 (which I’ve course seen every episode of). It’s become an unfortunate obsession. I suppose it’s not exactly true that I couldn’t prompt myself to do anything. I did manage a trip to the grocery store to get my daughter some gatorade, jello and ice cream since her throat hurt so much that she couldn’t talk or swallow. And I also managed to go out and get acupuncture for my shoulder. It seems to be helping. But other than that, I basically lied on my couch and watched 90210 for hours in a row.
Anyway, all this sickness resulted in a week off work which seemed like a great idea in theory. As much as I sometimes claim that my job is sucking the soul out of me, much like a dementor, it seems as though there is some good that comes from getting out of my house, because after working yesterday, I actually felt better. Emotionally I mean. Physically, I think I’m actually allergic to work, because this horrendous cold was pretty much over until I went back to work and I now have a horribly itchy nose and non stop sneezing.
Anyway. Now that the virus has more or less cleared its way out, I’ve started thinking again about how to build my life so that I feel good. I like the idea of treats or rewards as motivators. I’ve often seen so-called health/diet/exercise experts suggest that you treat yourself for every 5 pounds you lose. I think the idea of tying rewards to weight loss is one that is doomed to failure because ultimately, you don’t have any control over whether your body loses weight. You could in fact be eating perfectly, working out perfectly, drinking lots of water, or whatever, and find that you don’t lose any weight, for whatever reason. Or that you lose weight very slooooooowly, so that it takes months to get to that 5 pound mark where you’re supposed to get the reward, by which point you say to hell with it and reward yourself by eating everything in sight. All that to say that I strongly believe in the idea of rewards and treats — and that they absolutely need to be tied to something you can actually control — like your actions, behaviours, or thoughts, and not to something you can’t control, like how much the scale moves.
Rewards have been a little tough for me. At first, I thought it was because I pretty much buy myself stuff when I want it. But after reflecting on that a little, I realized that it’s not so much that. I actually don’t buy myself a ton of stuff. I think I was struggling with a couple of things — rewarding myself and not feeling guilty about it (you’d think I was Catholic for all the guilt I seem to endure) and rewarding myself in a way that doesn’t cost a whole lot. I also found it difficult to come up with rewards that I’d really like.
So. A little story. When my ex-husband and I were still dating, I used to (jokingly) bug him all the time about getting me gifts. He didn’t have a lot of money, so he used to make me mixed tapes. That’s how old I am. I’m from the days of the mixed tape. Anyway, his mixed tapes were something to behold. He did custom liners and lyrics and everything. And this was all before Photoshop and crap. He did this all by hand. I should have known he was gay. Anyway, one of the tapes he made me was titled “Zut Alors, Gifts Galore” and the cover had pictures of all kinds of gifts that he’d cut out of magazines. It was crazy. He spent so much time on those tapes.
Anyway, that all got me thinking that the way to come up with a list of treats I can use for rewards is to think about what I’d be really happy to receive as a gift. I have deliberately kept food off this list (as much as I’d love to get fudge or Hot Tamales) because I’m trying to change a lot of my behaviours around food, so a food based reward doesn’t seem like a great idea. But for some people, food based rewards might be just the thing. I also didn’t worry about cost. As far as rewards go, sometimes it makes sense to pick out a really great/expensive one for a huge behaviour milestone.
So here’s my list:
- Nice soap
- Body wash
- Spa trip (I say this, and yet my ex-husband and his partner gave me a spa gift certificate for my 40th birthday. I still haven’t gone. That was 3 and half years ago)
- A new tattoo
- Something nice for my house (something decorative, or as my boyfriend calls them, “shit-me-nots”)
- A magazine — one of those celebrity ones like US or People
- A Vitamix
- Tarot cards
If I gave it more thought I’m sure I’d come up with more.
What’s on your list?