Dig Baton Rouge

Treat Yo Self — with caution

By Katie East

Treat Yo Self 2015. It’s the made-up holiday patented by NBC’s Parks and Recreation. It’s the one day of the year you do you. Fans of the show went wild over the concept when it was first presented in 2011, and last week, it was back.

Thousands of memes and even bootlegged merchandise can’t be wrong: people love treats. And why not? After all, humans are animals. Don’t you reward your dog after he does a trick or shows good behavior? You deserve the same too.

So just what does a day of treating yourself entail? For Tom and Donna, the characters on the show, it’s a day of treating themselves to whatever their hearts desire. Clothes? Treat yo self. Fragrances? Treat yo self. Massages? Treat yo self. Mimosas? Treat yo self. Fine leather goods? Treat yo self.

It’s the best day of the year.

I like the idea of a day of treats. A guilt-free way to indulge and enjoy yourself. And once a year sounds just about right without being too extravagant.

It’s not a new concept. Many diets use this same idea to keep people on track. Often times you’re allotted one “cheat day” a week. This keeps people on the diet longer since they know there’s always a day of carbs and beer just around the corner.

But he problem with a cheat day is that it needs to be earned. Your eating habits need to be strict enough six days out of the week to justify a day of “anything goes.” Plus, your cheating has to be within reason. If you stuff yourself so much you stretch out your stomach, then you’ll undo any good you did the other days.

The issues with treating yo self are the same. A treat should be a reward, not a guarantee; you have to deserve it.

Treats can be a dangerous thing for unhappy people or those with mental illness. I’ve seen depressed people reward themselves just for getting up out of bed in the morning. I don’t mean to make light of depression. Trust me, I know all too well what a feat getting out of bed can be for someone suffering with depression. I just know that rewarding yourself with material things won’t fill that void.

I knew one girl who constantly seemed overwhelmed when she wasn’t doing well. She was completely broke, nearly $50,000 in debt, unemployed and yet never seemed to have time to do anything. Somehow though, every time I saw her, she had a fresh manicure. If you called her out on it, she would say the three words that couldn’t be further from the truth: “I deserve this.”

This mentality is ruining American women. Yes, there are tons of hard-working women that never take a minute for themselves and genuinely deserve a day of relaxation or pretty nails. But, there are just as many women out there who want to give themselves a medal and a party every time their poop doesn’t stink.

Hey girl, you don’t deserve anything except a night of solitude and a Holocaust documentary to give you some perspective.

I’ve been that girl before. When I lived in New York City working a job I hated at a giant ad agency, I was constantly treating myself to keep from flinging myself off our 17th floor office. It started with a Diet Coke here and there, and a new lip gloss every once in a while. Soon I was eating cake nearly every day, and buying some barely work-appropriate cotton sweater dress every other. And let’s not mention happy hour.

It all stemmed from those three dangerous words: “I deserve this.” Those words can falsely justify all sorts of bad behavior.

Since then, I’ve gone in the opposite direction. I try to remember to treat myself and my loved ones but I’ve gotten stingy.

Normally, I buy candy or snacks for my fiancé to keep him on task, but since moving into a new house last month I have become more of a slave driver. There’s so much nailing and hanging and organizing to do that his treats are getting few and far between.

Last week, I heard myself yell: “Entertainment is a reward, not a privilege!” when he asked if we could watch an episode of Dexter.

 Quite the catch, aren’t I?

I had to remind myself, to treat myself. And to treat my fiancé too. If you do the work, you deserve a reward. I wouldn’t suggest taking out a loan to buy an elaborate Batman costume, but none the less: treat yo self.

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