Did you know “Treat Yo’ Self Day” is an official holiday?

Did you have “the best day of the year” marked on your calendar like Tom and Donna, or did you miss it? Did you get your massages, mimosas, and fine leather goods?

The world was first introduced to the idea of this annual tradition in season four of Parks & Recreation. Two of the characters stop what they’re doing for a day and spend all their time and money treating themselves. And I don’t mean they participate in healthy self-care, no. They are full-on in indulgence mode, and they are not sorry about it!

Most of us can’t press pause on real life (and real budgets, LET’S BE HONEST) for an entire day of treating ourselves. But we can often do more than live vicariously through characters on our favorite TV show. Here are a few ways I like to treat myself when I can (whether it’s official “Treat Yo’ Self Day” or not!):

Hardback books:

I love using the Kindle app on my phone to read in tiny pockets throughout the day. It’s really the only way I read as much as I do. But there’s something special about holding a book in my hands. And a hardback book? Oh, what luxury!

The last hardback book I read was The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth.

Airport magazines:

No, I don’t mean the Skymall catalog. And I don’t mean that there are certain magazines only sold at the airport (although this might be true; I just don’t know). I’m saying that when I fly, it’s often stressful. So to treat myself, I will buy a magazine to read while I wait or during my flight. I love magazines but don’t normally buy them. So to get one is a splurge that makes me so happy, and it just costs a few dollars.

TV at full volume or with captions:

When my kids are home, I keep the volume as low as possible. Because the last thing I want is for them to wake up and get out of bed! (A close second to last thing I want is for them to hear guns firing or grown-up language that end up in their dreams.)

And when my husband is home, I can never have the captions on. Even if we have the volume down because of the kids. So you know what I really like sometimes? To watch TV alone, as loud as I want, WITH the captions ON. Just because! And that way, I never miss a single word and nobody needs to complain.

A show that definitely needs captions (but also isn’t appropriate for kids’ ears) is Derry Girls. It is SO funny — and a quick watch, with just six half-hour episoides in each season.

And speaking of a quick watch…

Short binges:

If you were around for my podcast series on short-lived TV series, you might have noticed that I do love a short-lived show. Of course I’m sad when favorites are gone too soon! I’m not an animal. But I do also enjoy the ability to start and finish something in a reasonable amount of time.

My last short binge was the new season of Veronica Mars on Hulu (so good!). For a free guide on short-lived TV shows for every season of the year, click here.

Celebrate silly holidays:

Treat Yo Self Day isn’t the only silly holiday on my calendar. I love the excuse of a make-believe holiday to indulge in my favorite things like s’mores, bacon, Oreos, and nachos. I mean, International Day of the Nacho! Who doesn’t want to plan a party (or at least a meal) around that?!

It’s October 21, by the way, so you have a few days to get your chips and queso ready.

Introduce someone to an old favorite:

From watching my daughters watch Hook for the first time to laughing along with my husband as he discovered my beloved Parks & Recreation, I get so much joy out of introducing my favorite people to my favorite things. Books, memes, songs, and more — anything I love is a million times better when I can share it with someone I love.

I recently convinced myself to watch New Girl with me, and he has loved it as much as I knew he would. And here are a few thoughts I had while watching my girls watch Hook.

Go to the movies alone:

Yep, that’s right. I’ve taken to going to the movies alone. And it is DELIGHTFUL. I love it. The empty theater! The cheap ticket (if you go before noon during the week)! The fact that I don’t have to convince anyone that my pick is the right one!

Most recently, I’ve seen Downton Abbey, Blinded by the Light, and The Farewell in theaters by myself.

Play my music in my car:

I know. Seems like it’d be a given, that I — a grown-up who paid for the car in which my family sits — would be able to select the music we listen to. AND I CAN. But good grief, do my kids complain about it sometimes! It seems yacht rock and classic country aren’t “cool.” Who knew?

Seriously. Dropping off my kids and then cranking the stereo to whatever I want is one of my favorite ways to treat myself on the regular.

It’s possible I also indulge by playing my least-kid-approved music when they’re in the car anyway… But it’s better when I am guaranteed no back-seat DJ-ing!

Attend a local event:

I’m fortunate to live in a city with an outstanding library system. One of our local branches has frequent author events, where big names come speak about different topics. A year or so ago, I got to listen to Anna Quindlen talk about writing. And I’m hoping to go listen to Janet Evanovich at that same library in a few weeks!

Book signings and author events aren’t the only local events out there. Obviously! They just happen to be my favorite. (Although I’m also looking forward to attending a live podcast event for one of my favorite podcasts later this year.) (And last year was basically The Year of the Concert for me.) (The point is, go do something fun! With other grown-ups! That you don’t have to plan and organize yourself!)

Play a game:

I don’t always play games on my phone. I have enough to do — and, let’s be honest, enough to distract me — without adding that temptation. But every once in a while I go through a stage where I play a new game. Every chance I get. I’m currently hooked on Wordscapes, but I’m just about ready to delete the app. After one more round…

So, those are a few ways I treat myself all year long. How about you? What are small ways you can find joy, treat yourself special, or even indulge? (And for more ways to treat yourself, my friend Amber and I share our best ideas on The Couch podcast. Click here to listen to the episode!)

How do YOU treat yourself?

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