Compensating yourself is crucial to making your business a great place to work. I haven't broken even yet so I tend to feel guilty about rewards. Financial rewards are out of the question so I started to build in free rewards for completing tasks. Here are 10 ways you can compensate for free or very little money.
- Exercise. It's great for the body. It's great for the brain. It's great for business. Aside from the physical benefits of exercise, like priming your body for high-intensity situations, exercise teaches us that our actions matter. Exercise also releases endorphins, well known for their pain reduction, improved mood and alertness. Participating in sports and games has long been touted by beloved gamer Jane McGonigal strengthens human relationships, a key to adding time to your life.
- Volunteer. This may not be intuitive as 'compensation.' Let me convince you. Volunteering is another relationship-strengthening activity. It creates and sustains bonds between friends and strangers by creating a safe environment to overcome or help someone overcome a hardship and achieve a goal. Health studies have shown that connectedness we feel from volunteering helps us avoid feelings of social isolation and depression. Other benefits of volunteering include decreasing the risk of high blood pressure and stress reduction (Harvard Health Publications).
- Unplug. Allow yourself to put your phone down, turn your computer and TV off. Give yourself an hour of email, social media, texting free time. Use this time to take a walk in the woods and think about how the sunlight catches on the leaves. Focus on your breathing and the sound your steps make. Recognizing that the world, even our own world, continues if we're not plugged in helps us prioritize our own happiness.
- Get a massage. Massage schools are in every major city in the US and generally charge less than $50 for an hour of blissful tension relief.
- Take a class. Whether it's glass blowing, tango dancing or Thai cooking try something new. Community colleges, YMCA, makers spaces, Coursera and YouTube are awesome resources for tutorials and inexpensive classes.
- Buy yourself a fancy (non-alcoholic) drink. I spoil myself with really good coffee in the morning and once in a while I'll go get myself a lavender-vanilla Italian soda. If you like tea but aren't sure where to start, visit a Teavana store. They always have delicious samples and knowledgeable staff.
- Play with puppies and kittens. Most towns and every city has an animal shelter. Take your allergy medicine and go find a puppy to love on.
- Buy yourself flowers & get them delivered. For less than $100 you can buy yourself some absolutely gorgeous flowers. This is my new favorite site: Bouq!
- Take a nap. Seriously. 1/3 of Americans don't get enough sleep. How much is enough? Roughly 7hrs/night. If you're using your brain a LOT during the day (eg. if you're immersed in a new language/culture) or if you live in extreme heat or cold, both of these factors add 90 minutes of sleep to your required amount. Lack of sleep has all sorts of negative consequences. The benefits of getting enough sleep are more than just reducing the dark circles around eyes: improvements in weight, heart, memory, immune support, decrease inflammation, increase creativity, improve physical performance, lower stress, and improved mood.
- Take a bath. There's nothing like a good soak to make you feel like a million bucks. There's something so luxurious about bath time. Add essential oils, classical music, flower petals, candles, a glass of champagne and a good book for an even richer experience.
The point is to spoil yourself in ways that make you healthier and happier. If you're still not convinced that happiness leads to productivity (not the other way around), check out this TED talk by Shaw Achor on "The Happy Secret to Better Work."