So, let’s talk about motivation. Personally, it’s hard for me to motivate myself, especially during the winter. It’s even harder to reward myself when I do engage in healthy behaviours, because I have the belief that I did not “accomplish” enough to reward myself. So, I had to come up with creative ways to take care of myself!
When I’m feeling depressed and get home at the end of a long day, the last thing I want to do is undress and hop in the shower. It takes too much effort. But I love LUSH, and I love smelling and feeling good. I invested in some LUSH products to motivate myself to shower. In fact, I’d be more than happy to take multiple showers a day if my collection of products would refill itself without having to spend so much money!
Brush my teeth
Another task I hate doing. Who likes to brush their teeth? Not me. However, I came up with the idea of buying toothpaste with flavours other than mint! It’s made a huge difference, honestly. Who doesn’t like to brush their teeth with mango, strawberry or blueberry toothpaste!
Washing my dishes
Ah, yes. I avoid doing my dishes until they pile up in the sink (thank God for understanding roommates). However, I recently invested in nice-smelling dish soap. Sage Wellness sells dish soap called “Dish Wish” and I will never buy another bottle of Dawn soap! In my eyes, it’s totally worth it because it’s made doing the dishes more enjoyable.
I never enjoyed doing laundry until I invested in quality bamboo bed sheets. They were somewhat expensive, but they make my sleep experience a hundred times better, so that’s worth it to me. Owning nice bedsheets motivates me to do my laundry (and make my bed) because nothing beats the feeling of slipping under the covers after a long day, and landing on an ultra-soft sheet that will feel amazing against your skin.
And now, let’s talk about… rewards!
There are a million ways to treat yourself, so what works for me might not work for you. I thought I’d share some of the ways I try to reward myself, to give you some inspiration, or at least get you to reflect on finding ways to reward yourself!
An expensive treat or favourite meal
I love to go out to eat with my friends, so once in a while, we’ll pick a more expensive restaurant and splurge on our favourite foods. The perfect time to do this is before and after midterm season. Both motivation and reward within the same time frame!
I know that the stereotypes about girls loving to buy clothes, but anyone from any gender can enjoy getting new clothing. If you want to reward yourself, you can buy yourself something that you really want, or even give yourself permission to spend an entire day at the shopping mall (shopping can be extremely therapeutic, as you can imagine).
A fun activity
Paintballing? Escape rooms? Laser tag? Go karts? Sometimes I reward myself by scheduling a fun, new and unusual activity. You can invite your friends and have a fun afternoon together. Celebrate the end of the school year! Take advantage of reading break and distract yourself from a mountain of school work!
That includes bubble baths, hot chocolate, a walk outside, seeing my loved ones, cuddling with my stuffed animals and going to the spa! If you’re a busy student and want to reward yourself, unplug for a day and do all the things that make you feel good!
Motivation and reward are two closely-related concepts, and it’s definitely worth it to explore both sides of the coin.
The authors of this column are not mental health professionals. If you need additional support, please contact Student Health Services, Sexual Assault Support Centre and/or the Wellness Centre. In case of an emergency, call 911.