It’s natural in life to feel down at times, a hard break-up, a loss of any kind or even conflict with those we care about can cause our mood to plummet. In 2009 I went through such a time, it seemed that my world was crumbling. Thankfully I had world class treatment that taught me how to handle such times for the future. One of the main strategies I learnt was the skill of rewarding and treating myself.
Sounds simple I know, and for the most part it is, however when you are feeling low, creating a reward system or treating yourself can often be the furthest thing from your mind. Below I have outlined both an effective reward system and wonderful treats that you can use if you are ever feeling low – feel free to use as is or adapt it to suit you (for example, you might not even like hot chocolate). I keep my list in the back of my diary so it’s always to hand when I might need it!
Give yourself tasks to do which are fun, relaxing or achievement based. If you are feeling very low then these tasks would be quite small and, if just a little low, you may wish to create bigger tasks so no matter how you are feeling, after completing the tasks, you feel like you have achieved something significant.
Now create treats to reward yourself once you have completed each task. Below are a list of treats to indulge in. You may wish to copy these directly or create your own tailored to suit you. Typically, the bigger the achievement, the bigger the treat.
Big tasks are always rewarded by big treats, but if you are particularly low and the task you have completed is small, that could still be quite an achievement considering how low you feel. With this in mind, if you are very low and feel like you have achieved something significant – no matter how small the task – reward yourself with a big treat! The list of treats below starts out small and gets bigger depending on how much of a treat you feel you are in need of.
- Hot chocolate
- Bubble bath
- Candles and music
- Call best friend
- Watching favourite DVD
- Beauty treatment night
- Professional massage
- Go for a scenic walk
- Night/day off relaxing if stressed
- Early nights sleep / nap
- Go on a shopping trip
- Cinema trip complete with hot dogs and ice cream
- Weekend break
If you are just a little low you may wish to consider skipping straight to the treats as a pick me up. This often works wonders if you are just having a bad day or couple of days, though if you are at the point where you are struggling to manage, I would strongly suggest using the reward system for tasks as this incentivises you to practise self-care whilst also completing the necessary tasks for day to day living – enabling you to cope better with what needs to be done on a daily basis, such as paying bills or housework.
Before you know it you will be feeling good again and back on track to being positive and feeling great!