Over the last few years, we’ve heard more and more about the practice and importance of self-care. Psychologists, motivational speakers, and employers all have encouraged people to step away from the chaos of everyday stress to focus on emotional and physical wellbeing. But some common self-care practices that we are encouraged to indulge in often come with a hefty price tag — think lavish spa days, relaxing massages, and pampering at salons. These activities can be great for a “treat yourself” day, but there are many other ways you can practice self-care while sticking to a budget.
10 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care on a Budget
Self-care doesn’t just have to mean treating yourself to expensive things. These are some of the best activities to practice self-care on a budget.
Go for a Walk
While walks are good for your physical health, they can also be beneficial to your mental health. Any form of exercise — including a brisk walk — can help boost your endorphin levels, leaving you feeling less stressed. Try leaving your phone behind and connecting with nature!
Write in a Journal
Journaling is a simple way to relieve yourself of stress and anxiety. Consider documenting good memories or milestones; you can reflect on them later when you need a positivity boost. You can also write down goals and a plan to accomplish them to keep you on track and focused.
Read a Book for Fun
Many of us turn to our phones or TVs for entertainment, and waste hours scrolling through social media or binge watching shows. Research shows that excessive screen time can lead to eye strain, headaches, and poor sleep. Take a break from your screens and opt for a book instead
Clean Your Home
A tidy home can lead to a relaxed mind. According to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, people with cluttered homes had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Take an hour to clean your space and you might find yourself in a state of zen.
Take a Nap
Sometimes you just need to recharge a bit. The National Sleep Foundation encourages those who are experiencing a mid-day slump to take a short nap of 20 to 30 minutes. It will improve your alertness and energy without leaving you feeling groggy.
Drink More Water
This is one of the simplest ways you can take care of your body. While staying hydrated is important for our physical health, drinking water can increase energy and reduce fatigue, assist with weight loss, reduce headaches, and even improve your complexion.
Shut Off Your Phone
Our phones are a constant source of distraction and can prevent us from accomplishing important tasks at hand. Challenge yourself to take an hour every day to put your phone down and be present with the people around you.
Learn to Say No
Saying no can be difficult, and a sense of obligation may set in when people ask for our time or energy. But if you’re already feeling burnt out or stressed, saying no can help you prioritize what is already on your plate and even help you feel empowered.
Not only is coloring a relaxing and fun activity, but it also has emotional health benefits. Similar to meditation, coloring encourages mindfulness and can help you quiet your busy mind. It has also been shown to calm the part of the brain associated with the fear and stress response.
A membership to your local studio might be a bit pricey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t center yourself with some yoga for self-care. Whether it’s a few minutes of meditative breathing at the beginning of the day, or doing some simple moves at home, yoga can help you relax and stress less.
With all the chaos and activity of our everyday lives, it can be a challenge to prioritize self-care. Much like how you use a planner to schedule your appointments, dates, and holidays, you can also use a planner to ensure you take time to self-care. We’ve created a printable weekly self-care planner where you can jot down your goals, your energy level when you wake up, moods, and what self-care activity you plan to do for yourself.
Part of self-care is taking care of both our physical and mental health, and drinking water is a crucial part in this. This weekly journal give you a space to mark down how much water you’ve drank that day — it’s recommended to have about 8 cups a day.
Another great way to practice self-care is through intentional gratitude. Print out our daily gratitude chart, and write down one thing you feel grateful for each day. It can be something simple like a job that gives you the ability to provide for yourself and others, or maybe it’s something more personal like a memory.
While the perception of self-care is to overindulge and splurge, self-care is not a luxury that is only for those with extra money to spend. It is a vital part of our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing that doesn’t take a lot of money to do. Whatever your budget allows, there are ways to practice self-care that doesn’t break the bank. Not only do these affordable self-care ideas help you feel better emotionally, you can feel good about making decisions that are beneficial for your financial wellbeing.