latteI’m a huge fan of Parks & Recreation. Leslie Knope might be a fictional character, but she’s a real life inspiration. If you haven’t watched it, get thee to Netflix and correct this post haste! If you have, follow me here. This is about to get helpful, I promise!

Today I want to talk to you about why Tom & Donna’s advice to Treat Yo Self is totally worth taking. What on Earth is Treat Yo Self? In Pawnee, Indiana it’s a day devoted to experiencing the finer things in life. For me, it’s a bi-weekly small indulgence as a way to say thank you to myself for making it and to provide me with at least a little satisfaction at a day job that’s less than ideal for me right now, but is still paying for my future business. Sometimes it’s froyo or a nail polish. Sometimes it’s a new set of classes to improve my mind and my offerings for future clients. For you, it could be practically anything that makes you happy.

You work hard for the money. Go ahead and do your best Donna Summer. I’ll wait. When you are entirely focused on making sure your bills and take-home balance, you are living in lack and that will break your beautiful heart if it hasn’t already. I don’t want that for you and I know you don’t want that for you. Believe it or not, one small shift in your thinking and actions can give you some peace and joy back. Here’s the part where you treat yourself and in doing so, treat yourself better.

I can hear some of you saying “Jennifer, that sounds lovely, but my reality is Tar-jay, not Tory Burch.” Honey, me too! I don’t want you living beyond your means. We get ourselves out of debt here, not into it. What I do want you to do is get in the habit of giving yourself something special to look forward to with each paycheck. If you can’t spend a day at a fancy spa, grab a nice-smelling clearance candle, draw yourself a hot bath, slather some deep conditioner on your hair and luxuriate. Buy a tea sampler and a veggie tray and host a potluck/book exchange if you’d love some new reading material. You might have to save for the latest gadget, but put a photo up as a reminder of what you’re working towards. Just keep your sights on what you’re about to gain and not what you’re currently going without. You’ll get there and you’ll lose that good feeling if you dwell on the have-nots. Capisce?

Let me be clear. If you own one pair of shoes and they have a hole in them, you need shoes. This is not that. Don’t cheat yourself by making a necessity into a gift, and definitely don’t beat yourself up if life happens and you need to sit it out this time. Just get back in the habit when you can. If your first check has to cover bills, but your second check has the fun money, do it once a month instead of twice. There’s always a way. If you’re stumped, I’m here to help!

What feels right this pay period might be to give to a worthy cause, and good on you! I will never tell you not to give. Doing so with gratitude will ultimately get you out of that overworked and underpaid holding pattern. Just keep in mind that can also donate your time or the coat that never quite fit right. It doesn’t always have to be cash. You are a worthy cause, too.

The main thing I want you to realize here is that you are far too important to neglect. Don’t let a crummy financial situation strip you of your happiness, okay? If you find bliss in the bottom of a hazelnut latte, it’s far better for your soul and your future for you to have one now and again.

I want to hear about how you’re going to reward your efforts! Reply in the comments, post photos and swap tips. Let’s be there to support each other! Happy Treating!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,