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Three Ways To Reward Yourself Without Food

Updated on September 6, 2017
Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok is an award-winning author who shares his ideas and inspiration to help others make life happier, healthier, and more enjoyable.

Do you ever feel sad because you're having a bad day?

Do you sometimes feel in a rut because things just aren't going right?

Sometimes you just need to be kind to yourself. Give yourself a gift!


Too often when one is depressed, they tend to eat. This is not always the best solution, especially if one is struggling to control their weight.

I don't usually have mood swings, but there were a few times when I was feeling sad for one reason or another. If this happens to you now and then, I have a solution for you that works for me.

I'll give you a few examples of how I got through some tough times by rewarding myself–and not with food.

Always Remember That You're Worth It

I remember the first time something was making me feel melancholy. I decided to be extra good to myself. I thought of myself as my own best friend.

Giving it some thought, I realized I might make myself happier with a gift, so I made a wish-list of things I always wanted in order to determine a really nice gift that would put me in my happy place.

Oh the seventies! What memories! It was the time when video cassette recorders (VCR's) were just coming out.

One day in May of 1975 I was feeling down about something, so I bought myself a Sony Betamax. It was big, it was heavy, and cost over $1000 at that time.

The first Sony Betamax gave me happy memories and put me in my happy place.
The first Sony Betamax gave me happy memories and put me in my happy place.

That first model only recorded for 30 minutes, and it didn’t even have a built-in timer to schedule recordings. Later on, longer Beta tape cartridges allowed increased recording time. Later models eventually included a timer to set for recording programs while away.

Who knew what advancements would be coming next? I was in a rush to get a gift for myself. And the Betamax was the only video recorder at that time.

I did spend more money again later on, buying another more modern video recorder. Recorders with the VHS format were released just a year later, in October 1976, by JVC.

The VHS units had many more useful features than Sony had put in the first Betamax. VHS VCR's had tape cartridges that recorded up to six hours, and they were much less expensive.

Sure, the Beta Technology was the better of the two, but VHS took over the market. You might recall that cassette tapes won over eight-track tapes in the same way. Remember those?

Anyway, that’s all beside the point. My Betamax did put me in my Happy Place.

The point is that you may need to buy a really expensive gift for yourself. It all depends on how sad you are feeling and what it will take to get you out of that terrible feeling. Remember how I felt. I realized I was my own best friend. In times like that you should do the same thing, and don't hesitate to reward yourself in any way that works. You're worth it!

Bring Back Childhood Memories When You're Feeling Gloomy

Think about something you had when you were a kid and consider ways to build up on that in a bigger way that will satisfy your adult urges.

I remembered having a little cuckoo clock on the wall in my bedroom when I was a child growing up. I don’t know what happened to that clock, but I had lingering fond memories of watching the cuckoo pop out on the hour.

Now, as an adult, I decided to get a real big cuckoo clock as a way of being good to myself when I was once again having some feelings of sadness.

I wanted to give myself a really nice gift, a real functioning, really eloquent, fun to watch, cuckoo clock.

I knew I needed to find one with more than just a little bird. I wanted one that ran a whole week with just one pull of the weights. In addition, I wanted it to have other animated stuff going on.

Having done my research I discovered that real cuckoo clocks are made in the Black Forest of Germany. Craftsmen make them by hand. I found a company that actually built them to specs.

My Cuckoo Clock that I purchased from the Black Forest of Germany
My Cuckoo Clock that I purchased from the Black Forest of Germany

I ordered direct from one of the clock builders overseas. It cost me over $600, but I was able to specify that I wanted animals carved into the wood frame; I wanted real wooden clock hands instead of plastic; I wanted little people dancing when the cuckoo cuckooed; and I had a choice of those people being made of plastic or hand carved and painted wood. I went for it all. After all, it’s a one-time investment in my happiness. Right?

It was marvelous. It put me in my happy place. The weights only had to be pulled up once a week. Every hour, on the hour, the cuckoo would poke his head out and cuckoo. Then little figurines of dancers would dance around for a few seconds while music played. Oh yes, I was able to select the music when I placed the custom order. It has a music box built in!

It got me out of my depression. And it continues to give me pleasure every hour of every day.

I later discovered that one could find really great cuckoo clocks on Amazon that are built in the Black Forest and are very similar to mine. They are even cheaper than the one I ordered direct from Germany. Oh well. Live and learn.

Relate a Gift to the Feelings You Have

When I turned 65 I found myself having some pangs of gloom, considering time running out. That's a major turning point in one's life.

The changes taking place with retirement planning, learning about Medicare, and other life changes, all intensify the realization that we're getting older.

So, once again, I decided to reward myself for getting through it. What to do? What should I give myself this time? Maybe something related to time itself. After all, time is running out as we age.

You might be thinking right now, why in the world would I want a gift related to time running out. Sure. I agree. However, looking at it from another angle (I tend to think outside the box), I’d like to think of a way to give myself time.

How about an hourglass similar to the one the Wicked Witch of the West had on the Wizard of Oz?

Wicked Witch of the West and her Hourglass
Wicked Witch of the West and her Hourglass

One day I stumbled upon a repeat of the original Wizard of Oz on one of the movie channels. I loved that movie when I was young.

Do you remember the scene where the Wicked Witch of the West used her hourglass to give Dorothy an hour to give her the ruby slippers?

It suddenly dawned on me! That’s it! I wanted a really big, really real, really fancy hourglass. One that really had sand that ran for a full hour. Yes! That would put me in my happy place!

A little research with Google and I found what I wanted. I ordered direct from a craftsman who hand carves the frame that holds the glass bulbs where the sand runs through. He builds each one on demand. Cool. I even was able to select the wood and the color of sand.

He told me that psychotherapists usually order one with 50 minutes of sand since they use it to show their patients when the session is over. An hour session with a therapist is really only 50 minutes. Well, that's just a side-note. Back to my story...

I was looking forward to getting my hourglass, but after a couple of weeks I called to check on the status or the order. He told me he had trouble getting more bulbs, so I canceled the order and got my money back.

Back to square one, I turned to Amazon and found a huge choice of options. There was no need to buy a custom-made hourglass. I should have checked that first! Amazon has all kinds of options with sand color, running time, and size–and I saved a lot.

My 60-minute hourglass I bought online from Amazon
My 60-minute hourglass I bought online from Amazon

I can't imagine that I was willing to pay $300 for a custom handcrafted hourglass. How silly of me. I found this one on Amazon for under $50. It’s a 7½ inch tall hourglass and it's precise to within 5 seconds per 60 minutes. I timed it.

I found so many fun uses for it. I time my exercise workout session. I use it to check how long it takes to clean my house—getting it done in under an hour. I even limit my long-winded phone conversations by keeping an eye on the level of sand remaining. When I get focused, I lose all sense of time.

I didn't order the hourglass that the Wicked Witch used, with flying monkeys carved into the wood, although I found that online too. I didn’t feel it was appropriate since I’m a good witch who’s in my happy place once again.


© 2015 Glenn Stok


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    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      fpherj48 - You're right Paula. The greatest gift is one of recognition.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Glenn......No reason for you to feel "down" at this time. CONGRATULATIONS on your 2015 Hubbie Award. Job well done. You are deserving. Celebrate!!....Paula

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Charito1962 - Items that lift your spirits and definitely worthwhile. I agree that music has a way to make one feel better. Thanks for your comment.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 2 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Hi, Glenn! Yes, it does make one feel better if he gifts himself with something.

      Growing up in the '70s till the '80s, I liked gifting myself with cassettes and LPs of my favorite artists/musicians. Then, in the '90s, I splurged on CDs. These were items that lifted my spirits whenever I was down.

      Today, music is still my reliever in sad times.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      swilliams - I wonder if you took down your cuckoo clock because you couldn't stand the cuckoo after a while Emunah. Was that the reason?

      My clock actually lets me shut off the dancing people, the music and the cuckoo. I had to shut it off every night or else it would wake me up. Lately I just leave it off completely and only use it to tell the time. I'm glad you enjoyed my hub and thanks for the vote up.

    • swilliams profile image

      Emunah La Paz 2 years ago from Arizona

      Glenn this Hub is very entertaining! I really enjoyed the funny spin on the gifts lifted and ironically, I do have a cuckoo clock. I had to take it down though, because it was driving me crazy. My family was stationed in Germany and we had a clock similar to the one mentioned in your article. The clock was fun to have around growing up, but when I got older...not so much. Thank you for the creative article! Voted up!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      billybuc - Thanks for stopping by Billy. Glad you liked this idea of self-gifting.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love the idea of giving ourselves gifts. It's something I have always been reluctant to do, but I definitely see the value. Thank you for a much-needed read.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      RTalloni - I agree with you. Focussing on what really counts is definitely one of the most important things in order to have a happy life.

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      RTalloni 2 years ago

      This is a neat read. It's a proven fact that spending money gives people an emotional boost. Good for you for not indulging in pity parties when you were melancholy. A friend and I were talking this evening about how if God gives us years of old age they can be some of the best of our lives if we focus on what really counts.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      FlourishAnyway - Yes, it doesn't matter what it is. What's special to you is what's important. Be happy!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I find that this self-reward can be very motivating and downright blissful. Even if it's something unique like a soldering iron so you can pursue a whim, bring on the happy.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      JamaGenee - There are all sorts of self-gifts that inspire us and the desire is different for each of us. The idea of a "must see" makes me think of what's known as a "bucket list" of things we want to do before we die. Maybe you can include your Illuminated Globe on that list. I know what you mean, they range anywhere from $20 to thousands of dollars.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Great hub, Glenn, although at 65 an hourglass did seem like an odd choice until I read the explanation, then it made perfect sense!

      I've always been a great believer in rewarding one's self for big and little accomplishments, even if the "reward" is something as fleeting a taking a different route home through a park to stop and enjoy the flowers. "Joy" being the key syllable in "enjoy". But for big ticket purchases, I had to overcome being raised by parents who *never* bought anything brand-new. Nothing wrong with that as long as the item isn't visibly damaged and works as a new one should, right?

      My watershed moment came when my umpteenth used "tube" TV bit the dust. Time to come into the 21st century and get a flat screen. But wonder of wonders, instead of heading for the nearest pawn shop as I normally would, I took a deep breath and ordered a brand-new flat screen from Amazon - after combing the reviews, of course, for the most reliable brand at the best price.

      But that wasn't the real "because I'm worth it!" moment. That was when I clicked "next-day delivery" and didn't cringe at how much speed costs these days, or go back and change it to my standard "whenever you get around to shipping it is fine" option.

      That said, I'd really like a lighted globe on a stand a la Father Tim's in the Mitford series by Jan Karon, but can't make myself even look for one, let alone fork out the big bucks if I found one. I'd rather spend that money on a trip to some place on my "Must See Before I Die" list! ;D

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      MsDora - We all have a right to be rewarded for our success as well as for those times when we simply make it through tough times.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for helping me not feel guilty about rewarding myself. We all deserve to be in that happy place occasionally. You showed us!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      denise.w.anderson - You are right-on with the way you explained this. Many people don't think of rewarding themselves for their own efforts. It truly is a way keep our feelings of self-worth up, as you said. Thanks for a very meaningful comment.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      One of the things that I learned in going through mental health therapy was that I needed to reward myself for my efforts, after all, no one else was going to! I had to give myself permission to buy things that I wanted or needed. Now that I have been doing this for a while, I start to feel deprived if for some reason, I have to use that money for someone or something else! It is a great way to help keep your feelings of self-worth up to reward yourself on a regular basis.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      lyoness913 - Thanks Wendi. It's great to hear that others do the same thing.

    • lyoness913 profile image

      Wendi Pembridge Skilling 2 years ago from Overland Park, KS

      I do the same sorts of things, but they usually have to do with clothing, bath stuff, or jewelry. I think it does help! :)


    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      B. Leekley - I didn't think that I was providing proof! But thanks for the compliment Brian. I love the examples you gave.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      brakel2 - Glad to hear you do that too Audrey. I didn't know for sure how people were going to react to this hub.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Glenn, you are proof positive that money can buy happiness and that owning stuff is a way to happiness--if you are easily pleased by simple pleasures. I have gotten a shot of happiness from an ice cream cone, a day trip to a Lake Michigan public beach, a shopping spree to the Salvation Army on sales day, these pleasures shared with my wife. I admire y0ur positive uses of your spending cash.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Glenn - I loved this hub with all the great ideas. Someone said to reward yourself with a new outfit to brighten your life. Research excites me, so I relate to the research to purchase these rewards. The cuckoo clock is my favorite because of the delightful dancing. When I am a little down, I love to pick a project or purchase an item. Now I will think of your hub, an encouraging suggestion to lift myself to the sky. Blessings, Audrey Sharing.