You are at the very foundation of your relationship. Yes, you. Without you, there would be no relationship. And because of this, you need to make sure that you are taking care of you! That means making sure that you are treating yourself positivity, with kindness and love and taking care of yourself in a way that honors you at the foundation of your relationship.
How do you honor yourself? Yes self-care is vital and especially when it comes to your Inner Miss Desire and the transitions into intimacy. But I want to step it up a notch. I want you to Treat Yo’ Self. If you’ve seen the TV show ‘The Office’ then you know what I’m talking about. And for those of you who haven’t seen the office or at least this episode, the idea of “Treat Yo’ Self Day” was created where you treat yourself to things and experiences you probably wouldn't do or buy on an ordinary day. So I want you to capture this into your own life.
Why Treat Yourself?
I know for you fellow overachiever, people pleasers out there, the idea of taking some space for you in your week may seem impossible. The Overachiever part of you may think “Wait, what?! No no, we need to focus on that to-do list!” Then your inner People Pleaser speaks up saying “Focus on me?! No way, I need to make sure everyone else is OK first and then maybe I can focus on me”. These parts of you have an agenda and the focus is external and as a result, you get neglected in the process.
You cannot afford to neglect you. If you want to be burnt out, stressed, busy and have a sliver of time only left for what matters, then there is no need to treat yourself. Feel free to stop reading now. If instead, you want to have peace, calm and have a good relationship then you need to commit to intentional actions toward yourself.
Yes, focusing on you makes your relationship with your partner better. Perhaps it sounds counterintuitive to focus on you but the reason for this is because you need to focus on the inside out, rather than the outside in, a reminder I love from a recent book I’ve been reading called Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living. And believe me, I’ve tried the outside-in approach and it does NOT work. You do everything based on that Overachiever and People Pleaser parts within and when those parts are running the show, you get left in the dust.
Instead, I want you to find that inner Relaxer. The part of you that advocates for time to take care of for you, to create space for you and to treat yourself. This is the part of you that says “Woah girl slow down!” or “Let’s read that book and chill!”. We want to give this side (I call her my Relaxer and she reminds of a female Bob Marley) some time to shine so that the Overachiever and People Pleaser don’t run the show. It’s not that these parts are bad, don't get me wrong. They motivate and move you. But it’s all about balance!
Self Care Vs. Treating Yourself
Is self-care and treating yourself the same thing? There are similarities and differences. Treating yourself is a form of self-care because you are putting yourself first and taking care of yourself. The difference, though, is that self-care generally is something that you do on a daily or weekly basis. For example, my daily five-minute morning meditation is a form of self-care because it means I am focusing on me. It also is a daily habit that if it isn’t there I will feel the negative consequences to myself and to my relationship and the sexual part of me pretty darn quickly. The daily meditation, although self-care, isn’t a “Treat Yourself” moment because it’s a staple part of my daily life rather than an outside of the ordinary splurge.
I like to think of your daily and weekly self-care as a main meal. And that the Treat Yourself focus is more like the desert. It’s the indulgence, the splurge and outside the ordinary day-to-day life, the “oh no I shouldn’t but oh yes I should” thought. It is not essential to the meal BUT it is wonderful to have once in a while. Arguably not just wonderful, but also necessary. It’s important to indulge, to let go, and Treat Yourself for a sense of balance. It can’t be all serious all the time and go-go-go. What’s the fun in that?!
How Often to Treat Yourself
With that dessert analogy in mind, it's totally reasonable to ask how often do we treat ourselves? It’s not every day but you also don’t want flip to the other side that many of us can get stuck in which is never treating yourself. What you want to do is find that balance in what I call the Goldilocks Spot. Similar to healthy eating, you can’t be all healthy and eat broccoli all the time. This is when the Inner Relaxer part of you will scream out because you aren’t noticing her and then the next thing you know it you are 6 hours into a Netflix show or you at that whole cake you wanted to just nibble on from time to time. You have to have a treat once in a while to create a balance between to go-go and the fun/splurge/relax.
I like the 80/20 rule to start to balance the sense of focus, movement and growth with the indulgence, splurges and letting go’s of Treating Yourself. This means that 80 percent of the time you are focusing on the movement of life: learning, growing, eating well, focusing on that to-do list… basically getting shit done. And then the other 20 percent of the time you get to SLOW down and Treat Yourself. Ideally, that percentage of time for you would higher but I don’t want to cause your Overachiever or People Pleaser to freak out with too much of a change at once. So take a moment and ask yourself how close you are to that 20 percent treating yourself and then take small steps to create more Treat Yourself space. And if you are like me, things very easily can move to near 0 percent pretty darn quickly if I don’t keep it in check. That’s why it takes intentionality to give space to treating yourself. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a twitching lip due to stress and exhaustion. I’ve been there and I’m sure you have too.
Ideally, I would suggest a Treat Yourself focus once a week, as well as monthly and yearly. Every week, see where you can intentionally indulge, guilt-free because Dr. Chelsea told you it’s OK. Now I’m not saying to mega indulge and watch TV all day. Remember, that happens when your Inner Relaxer rebels when you don’t intentionally treat yourself and it’s all busy and to-do lists all the time. Instead, pick something that is your Treat Yourself, like one TV show, a yummy piece of pizza, buying that new shirt you’ve been eyeing. Anything! Often my weekly treat is a TV show and at least one previously classified “bad food” like pizza and instead, I enjoy it because it is actually good for me food because it honors the Treat Yourself intention
Starting with a weekly Treat Yourself ritual may be a big jump for you if you are at the near 0 percent realm. So at the very minimum, I would suggest treating yourself to something a little extra at least once a month. Ease into it. No need to make huge leaps and bounds to honor your Inner Relaxer. This may freak out your Overachiever and People Pleaser parts of you. So slow and steady intentional actions in the direction you want to go are key for sustainability. For me, my monthly treat is getting my nails done. No, it’s not necessary and if I didn’t do it it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I certainly have nail polish at home if I really wanted to use it. But that’s not the point. When I go to the nail salon and get my nails done a little fancy, this feels good and like an extra treat - a little indulgence. So I step into it and allow this to add into that 20 percent of Treat Yourself space.
In addition to the weekly and monthly, I also want you to do one bigger treat once a year. And it doesn’t have to be on October 13th, which is technically “Treat Yo Self Day”, but that would be pretty fun! Whenever it is, the yearly Treat Yourself might be taking yourself on a weekend trip. Or even taking the weekend off and staying in PJs all weekend. Or perhaps splurging on buying that new bedroom set that you really want. When you plan your yearly splurge, make sure you check in with your partner about finances and also the financial part of you so that we don’t worry this part of you. You didn't realize you had such a fun little family inside of you, did you? If you’ve seen the movie ‘Inside Out’ it is totally like that!
Create Your Own Treat Yourself Menu
Once you have the time on your calendar to Treat Yourself, what’s really important is you want to have a couple of options in mind for when the time comes. What often happens for us busy women is even if we set the intention of treating ourselves, if we don’t have any ideas of what that might be then when the time comes we can easily skip it and say “well I don’t know what to do. So never mind I’ll just move on to that to-do list”. You deserve a treat once in a while and taking care of yourself. So let’s make sure you not only set that time on the calendar like your date night or the Intentional Intimacy times you’ve set aside, but that you also have a nice menu of Treat Yourself desserts ready to go for when the time comes.
And no you don’t need to create 31 flavors like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Instead, you want to have a nice elegant dessert menu like in one of those fancy restaurants. They’re usually only a couple options on these fancy dessert menus but they are super yummy and you can’t go wrong with any of them. I want your Treat Yourself menu to also have the same approach - not too many options but super yummy nonetheless. Let me know in the comments below what is on your Treat Yourself menu!