Treating Yo’ Self (In Moderation)

When Tom and Donna from Parks and Recreation used the phrase, “Treat Yo’ Self,” my life and many others changed forever.

In the show, Tom and Donna celebrate “Treat Yo’ Self” Day, an annual event where they indulge in whatever their heart desires. This phrase is famously known and has even become a motto for self-care. Most people can likely relate to feeling guilty when spending money on themselves, especially on pricey luxuries. However, “Treat Yo’ Self” removes a bit of that guilt—it’s okay to pamper ourselves sometimes. 

Black Friday, the day after American Thanksgiving that is dedicated to shopping. Did you know that “Black Friday” was named by police for the huge amount of shoppers on this day that caused traffic jams, accidents and even violence? After Thanksgiving day, people who wanted a long weekend took Friday off from work and got a headstart on their holiday shopping. Today, Black Friday is still just as popular and is known for having great retail deals.

As university students, unlike Parks and Rec’s Tom and Donna, we don’t normally have the same kind of cash to go on crazy shopping sprees. However, as self-care is incredibly important, it’s nice to “Treat Yo’ Self” once in a while. Finals are coming up very soon, so amounts of work and stress levels are high. After all our efforts, it’s important to reward ourselves, and Black Friday seems like a good way to have a little retail therapy. Personally, I love the motto “Treat Yo’ Self”  and I follow it pretty much whenever I make an impulsive purchase. On Black Friday, with so many sales, you’re likely to find something you like at a better price than usual. Without really evaluating the necessity of my purchase, I often just go for it, with the reasoning that “it’s a sale that definitely won’t be on again.” I find it even worse during Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO) sales where you need two items to qualify for the sale. So if I see one thing I like, I impulsively choose another item (Side note: BOGO 50% off sales suck! It’s 25% off of two items minimum, what’s with that?). With thoughtful purchases, I find myself asking if I really need this in my life, or if I’m just wasting my money. While “Treat Yo’ Self” is a great mentality that promotes self-care and guilt-free pampering of oneself (which is often much-needed), it can also be a motivation to buy things just for the sake of it. Here’s one purchase I made on Black Friday last year:

I can’t make this stuff up, people. 

So, when blinded by the beauty of a sale in a normally pricey store, I lose a bit of my already-lacking decision-making skills. I spend money on things that I don’t really need but that I want in the heat of the moment. I use “Treat Yo’ Self” as an excuse for retail therapy (a method that isn’t very effective long-term) and end up going a bit overboard, maybe even regretting some choices later. Especially when you’re on a budget or low on cash, this can be pretty destructive. This is why I believe it’s important to “Treat Yo’ Self,” but thoughtfully.

To become a more thoughtful Treater of One’s Self, it’s essential to contemplate purchases. To avoid impulsiveness, it’s helpful to mull it over for a while. Before Black Friday, think of items you’d like to buy during the sales. You may have already had your eye on a piece for a while but hesitated on buying it because of the price. You may also have gifts to buy for loved ones this holiday season and now is definitely a great time to do that. And if Black Friday is your own annual “Treat Yo’ Self” day, by all means, indulge a little bit impulsively (but don’t make this a habit)!

In Parks and Recreation, Donna and Tom take Ben Wyatt on their “Treat Yo’ Self” day excursion to the mall. Ben only buys a pack of socks but Donna and Tom encourage him to buy something he really wants. This dream purchase happens to be a realistic Batman costume. It’s okay to calculatingly spend some money on luxuries like Batman costumes every once in a while if it’s something that will make you feel happy.

Overall, “Treat Yo’ Self” is an important motto for self-care but it is also frequently misused. Most people can recognize when they’re using “Treat Yo’ Self” as an excuse to make a wrong decision, whether that’s eating unhealthily, being unproductive or making pointless purchases, all the time. Don’t lose your head when overwhelmed by discounts, displays and the frenzy of people around you. Take a step back, shop thoughtfully and DO NOT disrespect the “Treat Yo’ Self” phrase.

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