Episode 16: Putting the Self in "Treat Yo Self"

TREAT YO SELF!!! Sharon and I both love the TV show Parks and Rec. If you’re of the same mind, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen it, two of the characters, Donna and Tom, spend one day a year galavanting around town proclaiming “Treat Yo Self!” as they say “yes” to everything they want. Fancy food? Fancy things? Yes yes yes. All in the name of “treat yo self”.

But even before Tom and Donna showered themselves with gifts and experiences, the notion of “treating yourself” has boomed on social media as a way to show off how we splurge. I’m getting a massage #treatyourself. I just bought a new pair of shoes #treatyourself. In a lot of ways we’ve adopted this anthem as a way to #humblebrag or to excuse lavish spending or luxurious living.

But this kind of behavior either supplants our actual needs or just enables poor purchasing decisions. If you’re overworked and stressed out, is it smarter to splurge on a high-priced piece of clothing? Or deliberately take a break from work and make sure you get a full night’s sleep?

You see, “treat yo self” is NOT the same thing as self-care. And often we conflate the two. Treating symptoms of stress is not the same thing as actually de-stressing or treating the cause of the stress. It’s like hastily handing your kid a toy they like to stop them from crying instead of actually sorting out why they’re crying in the first place. Sure, it might work in the moment, but it doesn’t actually resolve things.

Now, that’s not to say that treating yourself doesn’t have its place. Splurging here and there is a great way to reward yourself for a job well done or celebrate your wins or your hard work. But if that’s all you ever do, you’ll just be working yourself to the bone and never really addressing ways that you can make your workload easier, keep your sanity during the holidays, or truly take care of your body, mind, and soul.

So what do I mean? I have three easy things you can work on. I already mentioned sleep—that’s a big one. If you’re not getting your ideal amount of sleep (for most adults that’s 7-9 hours a night), that’s a great place to start. We’ve already mentioned this a few times on our YHBTV series, but pulling all-nighters and depriving yourself of sleep is not as beneficial as you think—you may be able to squeeze out a few more pieces of inventory, but your quality is going to go down the more tired you are, and you’re far more likely to make mistakes. And as I’ve personally experienced, pulling an all-nighter before a big craft show is a bad idea. It is completely counterproductive. Who wants to buy handmade work from a zombie? (And no, living off 5-hour energy drinks or an espresso I.V. is NOT the answer.)

Another thing to be conscious of: the amount of time you spend hunched over your computer can destroy your posture, tense up your neck, shoulder, and back muscles, and strain your eyes. Take regular breaks, setting a timer if you need to. Breaks could be a brisk walk outside, playing with a pet, or even something as simple as stretching and shaking things out. Related: watch your posture and foot cushioning at craft shows. Those can be a doozy if you’re slumping on a stool or standing on concrete for 10 hours straight.

Lastly, watch what you’re eating. If you’re anything like me (maybe you’re not, in which case hooray!), when I get busy or stressed, I either let the kitchen turn into a mess and lose all desire to cook, or get sucked into working right up until dinner time and then scramble to find something to eat quickly. Usually the latter translates into way more visits than I’d like to admit to Taco Bell or Portland’s local fancy fast-food chain, Burgerville. Potential remedies? Make a big old batch of soup or a double-recipe of your favorite easy meal. Set out your go-to, I-could-cook-this-in-my-sleep recipes and make sure you have all the ingredients on hand. Stock up on quick-prep frozen foods or get a rotisserie chicken from your the hot case at the grocery store. (Just be conscious of the carbs.)

You may not feel like you have time amidst the making, shipping, and craft-show-schlepping, but a few little things here and there that really put your SELF at the center of things will go a long way to treating yourself right.

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Episode Guest

Arrowyn Craban-Lauer, owner of Little Gold Fox Designs, is a papercut artist, painter, and illustrator who makes nature-inspired designs that are printed on sustainable wood veneer or paper and made into greeting cards, bookmarks, & fine art prints, among other things.

Arrowyn loves design and pattern, texture and color—the juxtaposition between old and new, between wild and cultivated. She seeks out the powerful alchemy that can happen at this juncture between worlds in her designs, as well as highlighting the magic of the natural world and our relationship with it. She is inspired by nature, folk art, and historic ornament.

To see her art, designs, and adventures, follow her on Instagram.

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