First, belated congratulations on your graduation! You might not have had the chance to celebrate with a big party given COVID, but I hope you did still mark the momentous occasion.
Best wishes on this journey, Laura. It isn't easy resisting the siren call of "I've worked hard so I deserve X." I've seen many people justify purchases that way. I still remember one time, when I was mad at a friend, I decided to impulsively buy an overpriced $80 purse.
I was a college student with limited income, so it was a stupid purchase. Yet it also didn't make me feel better, so I realized retail therapy just doesn't cut it. When I work hard or when I'm in a bad mood, I want to be appreciated or honored in some special way. Over the years, that has included a delicious home-cooked meal, an opportunity to sleep in while my husband took the kids out for breakfast, or some other experience that really did make me feel better.
I hope you can find some free or low-cost experiences to give you the feeling of being appreciated and honored!