Rewards can motivate us to keep working hard. They're the light at the end of the tunnel. The payoff. But the problem is many of us use basic comfort as a reward. We postpone taking care of ourselves when that's actually crucial to our productivity.
Photo by Sara V
A friend of mine, a career counsellor, said this to me recently:
Self-care isn't a reward. It's part of the process.
Rewarding yourself with an indulgence is one thing. But using your basic comfort and sanity as a reward can be problematic, and many times, we don't even realise we're doing it. For example, when I'm in the middle of work, I'll often postpone eating lunch, even if I'm very hungry. I don't call nourishment a "reward", but that's what it becomes. The carrot at the end of the stick. But if I took the time to refuel myself, work would probably come a lot easier.
We know that it's important to take breaks. If you struggle with this, it might help to remember that taking care of yourself isn't a reward for your work — it's actually key to helping you work better.