10 ways to reward yourself for your hard work

Recognising your accomplishments, no matter how small.

Spending time to reflect on the work and commitment that has lead to these results, is not only a powerful motivator, it also cultivates a sense of gratitude. What’s the point of working hard if we never enjoy it?

So with this in mind here are some of our favourite ways to reward ourselves for hard work.

Binge watch a box set

Haven’t had time to actually get around to watching The Bodyguard, Stranger Things, or Mindhunter? Why not have a Friday night in with some friends and whip up some delicious cocktails and chocolate and coconut popcorn and see how many episodes you can get through.

Weekend warrior

Ignore the pile of laundry and your shopping list. Go and have a 48-hour adventure. Why not discover a beautiful walking trail, have lunch at a country pub and rummage through some vintage stores or even book a last minute flight to a nearby city. Flights to typically warm destinations like Rome and Barcelona have great deals off season.

Learn something new

Have you always thought about taking a photography class, learning to play the guitar, creating a flower arrangement or doing a cocktail making course? Find a local class and treat yourself. Learning new things has been shown to make adults happier by improving self-confidence, providing opportunities to connect with others and encouraging creativity.

Get physical

Go for a run, take a yoga class, lift some weights, go swimming, do a Britney-inspired dance class – whatever gets your blood pumping without thinking too much. Exercise is a great way to release some endorphins and relieve stress. You’ll come back renewed and reinvigorated.

Retail therapy

Check out a thrift shop or a vintage store and rummage for hidden gems. Why not look for test tubes to turn into vases or vintage trays and posters to decorate the house. Have a trip to the flower market, enjoy the banter of the stallholders and buy yourself a bouquet of flowers for a bargain price. Or visit your local farmer’s market and pick up fresh bread, locally grown vegetables and homemade jam for a beautiful afternoon tea.

Cooking something from scratch

Have you ever wanted to make your own pasta, baklava or sushi? With our busy lives, we often don’t get the chance to spend more than 30 minutes cooking a meal. Treat yourself to an afternoon on the weekend, cooking something you’ve always wanted to make but never had the time for. Cooking from scratch also gives you a deeper appreciation of the ingredients you use and the time spent with loved ones over a meal.

Sleep in

Indulge by staying in your pyjamas all morning, curled up with a good book and a cup of tea. Give yourself a pass from running around and doing all the things on your to-do list for just a few hours. Snuggle under warm blankets and daydream, eat breakfast in bed and drift in and out of sleep.

Call someone you care about

Can’t remember the last time you caught up with that friend that you always mean to call? Put time aside when you know you’re both free and have a long chat, catching up on all the fun, silly, sad, wonderful, brilliant things that have happened since you were last together.

Deny and reward

Try a little stick and carrot to stretch your motivation. Think of a something you enjoy – like using social media, a walk in the park, or playing a favourite game – then reserve it as a reward for after you achieved a minor study goal, such as reading a module or doing a spaced learning exercise.

As Winnie the Pooh observed, there’s a moment before you eat the honey that’s even better than eating the honey itself. Anticipation will increase your pleasure and give positive reinforcement to the discipline of achieving daily or weekly goals.

Make something with your hands

Slowing down and spending time making something with your hands can result in a sense of flow – the feeling that comes from concentrating on something so intently that it quietens all the other chatter in your mind. It feels effortless and calming. Making a terrarium, creating a photo album, putting together homemade beauty products, gardening or pickling vegetables are all ways that you can use your hands to make things for yourself.

Resource of the day

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Whoops, we got our days in a bit of a muddle – the video session will take place on 11 November so don’t worry you haven’t missed out. Come back on 11 November for some top study tips from Premier Training.

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David Nunn is Content Manager at AAT.

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