- WeThrift surveyed over 1,000 Americans to learn more about how people are treating themselves.
- Respondents who treated themselves daily reported the highest levels of good mental health, happiness, and life satisfaction.
- Treating ourselves to the things that recharge us rather than drain us is essential to ensuring that we aren’t running on empty.
Self-care isn’t synonymous with self-indulgence or being selfish. Self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy and so that you can do your job. This includes taking well-deserved breaks and treating yourself.
“Treating yourself” can be defined as “things you buy or experiences you have in order to indulge, reward, or just enjoy yourself.”
WeThrift surveyed over 1,000 Americans to learn more about how people are treating themselves.
Respondents who treated themselves daily reported the highest levels of good mental health, happiness, and life satisfaction.
Here are some key study highlights:
- 29% of employees treat themselves to a day off every few weeks – those who don’t take time off have the highest levels of poor work-life balance.
- The top positive situation for which employees treat themselves is being promoted (47%), while the top negative situation for treating yourself is having a stressful day (52%).
- Men are more likely than women to treat themselves after getting laid off or quitting their job – women are more likely to treat themselves after finishing a project and solving a problem.
- $84 was the average amount spent per month on treating oneself.
- Employees who never take a day off to treat themselves reported the lowest levels of work-life balance.
More than 1 in 10 respondents treated themselves daily, while an additional 40% do so monthly – and for good reason: The top feelings surrounding each treat were highly positive.
Emotions like “relaxed,” “happy,” and “grateful” were used to describe treats 62%, 61%, and 30% of the time, respectively. Those who managed to treat themselves every day were also more likely to report better mental health.
Money was the number one reason respondents cited for being unable or unwilling to treat themselves. They specifically cited financial difficulties 46% of the time, followed by a lack of disposable income (42%), an effort to save money in general (41%), or saving for important milestones (40%).
Emotional barriers to the concept of self-indulgence also came up: 29% mentioned feelings of guilt preventing them from treating themselves, while 17% believed they hadn’t earned it, 14% worried about being judged by others, and 13% simply felt undeserving.
Society has been taught that self-love is selfish or narcissistic, and that self-sacrifice is a virtue.
The belief is if we give ourselves too much leeway, we might become lazy. Many people feel as though negative self-treatment is more likely to boost performance and advance our careers… but nothing could be farther from the truth.
In the aftermath of a career setback, such as a missed promotion or job loss, self-condemnation is the career blocker. Self-love is actually the solution.
Neuroscientists have discovered a direct link between self-compassion, resilience and success. Self-love (which encompasses treating oneself) provides the fuel that boosts our moods, job performance and achievement.
Paula Gill Lopez, PhD, an associate professor and chair of the department of psychological and educational consultation at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, says the need for self-care is obvious.
“We have an epidemic of anxiety and depression. Everybody feels it,” she said.
Constant productivity isn’t practical, or realistic
It’s not exactly our fault that we exist in a culture that puts our productivity before our mental, emotional and physical well-being.
But it is our responsibility to make the effort to reward ourselves for all our hard work. Treating ourselves to the things that recharge us rather than drain us is essential, to ensure that we aren’t running on empty and depriving ourselves.
“We’re living in the era where grind culture and our debilitating desire to constantly feel productive can keep us from enjoying the spoils of life and rewards for our labor. What good are all of the productive hours you put in if you don’t take the time to enjoy all of the other things that enrich your life as a result of your diligent work?” According to FairyGodBoss.
Workers who treat themselves can better avoid burnout
The truth is, everyone deserves to dedicate some of their time to enjoyment. While having to work is inevitable for most people, it should also be a priority to take care of yourself in every way possible.
In most cases, treating oneself generates positive emotions, and it can be associated with a better work-life balance. It can also be an effective tool for positive reinforcement or encouraging more of the behavior a person is rewarding themselves for.
“Living in a world of ‘always on’ culture can wreak havoc on you physically, emotionally, and spiritually,” Amy Blaschka says in Forbes. “Constantly grinding leads to burnout, anxiety, and stress-related illnesses.”
Slogging away at work constantly is taxing on the human mind and body, and frequent breaks and treats are necessary to the happiness of workers. Science says so.