The concept of #TreatYoSelf, brought to fame by the late, great Parks and Recreation, is the idea of spending whatever you want on ridiculous stuff you don't need to make yourself feel good. But how do you reward yourself without spending money? Mink coat? #TreatYoSelf. New Car? #TreatYoSelf. Diamond Earrings? You get the very expensive idea. Unfortunately, though, most of us can't live that lavishly, even for one day a year. So how can you make yourself feel good and treat yourself without breaking your budget?
Now, I like retail therapy just as much as anyone else (maybe even more), but given my budget restraints I can't go out and buy something new every time I need a pick me up. Luckily, there are so, so many free things (well, at least 12 of them) that will give you the same good feelings as buying some luxe item you probably don't need and definitely can't afford. There's no reason to open up your wallet to treat yourself— things that feed your mental and emotional wellbeing can be just as gratifying, and way, way less expensive.
The important thing about treating yourself? Finding something that makes you happy, and doing it. Just because it's free doesn't mean it won't make you feel amazing.
1. Go For A Run
In the words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” (... and happy people don’t shoot their husbands, but that doesn't really apply here). Treat yourself to a run outside, especially on a beautiful fall day and especially if you can run toward some sort of water source. Take in the beautiful view and focus on how the workout makes you feel — don’t worry about how many miles you’ve gone or how many calories you’ve burned.
2. Pamper Yourself
Can’t afford a fancy spa day? Yeah, me either. Treat yourself to a little bit of at home rest and relaxation with these DIY at-home spa tricks. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at painting the nails on your dominant hand.
What better way to make yourself feel refreshed and amazing with a good, old-fashioned, kindergarten style nap? Put fresh sheets on your bed and track down one of those Audrey Hepburn-esque eye masks for optimal results. Trust me, you’ll feel like an absolute queen.
4. Download A New Feel-Good Playlist And Have A Dance Party
Remember when Meredith and Christina used to “dance it out” on Grey’s Anatomy? Even if you can’t find a friend to do it with you, use your new, cheer-me-up playlist and throw yourself a party. Like running, dancing releases endorphins, and no matter how stupid you may feel shimmying around to “Shake it Off” alone in your apartment (which I do ALL the time) it will give you an immediate pick me up. Check out some of our awesome, girl-powered playlists for inspiration.
5. Eat Lunch Outside
During the workday, it’s admittedly difficult to find time for yourself. Even if you only get 20 minutes for lunch, which has sadly become the new normal, try to get outside for at least a few minutes. Getting fresh air decrease stress and increase happiness, and will help you stay mentally centered while you’re stuck at the office. And if that’s impossible? Raiding someone else’s candy drawer is also a free, easy way to help you get through the day.
6. Do At-Home Yoga
So many women pay a lot of money to do this, but you can easily do it at home for free. Try this sequence on your living room floor, and you won’t have to deal with the annoying girl next to you kicking you in the face while trying to flip her down-dog.
7. Take A Bath
Throw on a fluffy robe, find a relaxation-themed playlist and turn off your phone. Light a candle, crack a book and give yourself a solid half hour of solitude from the rest of the world. Plus, your body wash can double as bubble bath (not fancy, but it works!).
8. Have Sex
This is a win/win for you and your partner, and it’s way cheaper than a dinner date.
9. Trade Massages With Your Partner
This is arguably, actually, better than sex. Plus, doing it with someone you care about (and are probably used to getting naked in front of) is way cheaper, and way less awkward than getting a massage from a stranger.
10. Have An At Home Movie Night
Make popcorn, curl up in your coziest blanket and check out one of these movies that will put you in a good mood.
11. Cook Something Amazing
Let yourself enjoy the experience of cooking and the finished product; it’s so, so much more enjoyable than eating out. Try one of these delicious recipes — they are all literally treats. My personal favorite? Funfetti cupcakes, for one.
12. Embrace Your Inner Child
As a grownup, when do you ever get the chance to let yourself run wild and carefree? Have a snowball fight. Roll down a hill. Run around screaming your head off, just for the hell of it. Let your inner little kid go nuts.
13. Watch The Sunset
Treat yourself to the beauty of the world, and actually let yourself enjoy it (as in, actually look at it — don't worry about what the Instagram photo will look like)
See? No loans required.
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Images: Francesco Gallarott, Arnel Hasanovic/Unsplash; Pexels (8); Giphy; Pixabay (2)