I HATE going to the dentist. I dread the entire process of scraping, polishing and occasionally drilling. In fact, as I’m writing this, I can actually smell the latex gloves and it’s enough to send me into a cold sweat. This wasn’t always the case, though. I used to absolutely LOVE going to the dentist. The gross tasting fluoride, the gritty toothpaste, the sore jaw from endless amounts of time having to keep your mouth open. Bring it on!!! I would count down the days until it was time. And you know why? Because of the little drawer on the way out to the lobby that held the greatest treasures in all the world! If I was a good patient and didn't have any cavities, I got to stand in front of that drawer and dig through it and keep whatever I chose, and for me, that was EVERYTHING. Attaching that reward to a not so pleasant experience turned it into something that I actually wanted to do.
The same principles hold true for fitness. I’m not saying you should roll out the red carpet for yourself every time you complete a push-up, but I firmly believe in rewarding yourself in a small way for a job well done. Sometimes all it takes is the satisfaction of physically placing an “X” through a workout that you completed. Other times maybe it's piece of chocolate or 10 minutes to sit quietly in a cozy chair with a cup of tea and your favorite book. But for the big goals, like a streak of workouts completed, you better GO BIG with your celebration of yourself! Attaching something positive to something that may not be the most enjoyable experience changes our relationship to it. It creates a happy memory. It makes you want to do it again!
One of my FAVORITE ways to reward myself, especially when the cold New England weather sets in is to head to the sauna! It's not only soothing for my tired muscles after physical challenges, it's also comforting and uplifting to my spirit. I'm lucky that I have a place so close by to make rewarding myself like this a reality. If you live anywhere Holliston, MA, you should DEFINITELY check out Mindful Recovery. Mikaela Fair opened this gem of a place in 2019 and since then has become the destination for people interested in using alternative therapies to help their physical and mental well-being.
If you're not into saunas, she also offers cryotherapy which is basically the exact opposite of a sauna! By immersing your body into a tank of extremely cold air for several minutes you can help stimulate your immune system, decrease anxiety and improve sleep. Mikaela also offers NormaTec Compression Therapy (feels SO good!) and Red Light Therapy. I have to be honest, though, simply walking through the doors of Mindful Recovery and immersing myself in the relaxed vibe (and meticulously clean) environment Mikaela has created makes me feel so much better. It's a bonus that she's one of the nicest and most supportive women I know!
If getting to Mindful Recovery is not geographically possible for you, definitely search in your area for these kinds of services. They are popping up in more and more places and are definitely worth checking out.
And if this kind of reward doesn't speak to you, no worries! Pick something that DOES. I don't care how old you are or how serious you take yourself, YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO FEEL THE EXCITEMENT OF A REWARD after a job well done. These kinds of celebrations are like little rays of sunshine poking through on a cloudy day. They make you want to KEEP GOING.