Self-care on a budget is possible. In fact, most acts of self-care don’t cost a thing. Self-care is simply the practice of treating yourself with enough respect that you honor and fulfill your own needs as they arise. Self-care on a budget is entirely possible.
We often make excuses not to practice self-care because it’s too timely or expensive. We fall into the habit of putting others before ourselves and this weighs heavy on our self-esteem (Are You A People Pleaser?).
I too have been guilty of neglecting self-care because it felt too selfish or expensive. However, my self-esteem, health and relationships suffered when I didn’t take time for myself. Everyone needs self-care to function optimally.
Self-care isn’t something that you can just put off until you have more time or money. Your brain, body, family and self-esteem suffer when you don’t take time to tune in to your needs. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary. Self-care is a very active and powerful choice to engage in the activities that are required to gain or maintain an optimal level of overall health. If that feels like it’s costly, remember it doesn’t have to be. You can engage in self-care on a budget.
It’s not always possible to get away for a vacation or spend the money on a day of relaxation. And you don’t need to. Self-care is a daily activity and you can incorporate it into your routine no matter how busy you are. Here are a few ideas that you can try for practicing self-care on a budget.
15 Ideas for Self-Care on a Budget
First ask yourself what are my needs? What would make you feel better right now? What is something that your brain and body need from you today? When you neglect these very basic and primal needs, due to money or guilt, you’re not serving others or yourself. A few minutes a day, just for you, can make a huge change in your well-being.
- Make that doctors or dentist appointment you’ve been neglecting.
- Go for a walk or enjoy your favorite workout if your body needs some movement. Any sort of exercise will release endorphins, your body will thank you and it clears your head which is very important for feeling relaxed and revitalized.
- Connect with someone you care about. Call them, make plans with a friend or relative, or email someone you’ve wanted to reconnect with.
- Do something today that will help you tomorrow. Pack your bag for work the night before, make your lunch, organize your planner. It may seem like work but it’s actually going to help you feel more at ease and relaxed the next day.
- Find a scent you love. Aromatherapy can be under 10 dollars. Infuse your home or your car with a soothing scent that will improve your mood.
- Buy your favorite food. Lots of parents fall prey to buying what their kids and families want to eat. But what about you? Do you want a particular cheese or fresh squeezed orange juice? Add it to the cart.
- Read a book or article for pleasure.
- Drink more water. Instead of beating yourself up for never drinking enough, remind yourself that water is something your body and brain love and need.
- Block or hide people who bother you on social media. There is no shame in blocking people who hurt your feelings or who are filling your social media with annoying comments or pictures. You’ll feel better, and they don’t have to know (When To Get Rid of Social Media Relationships).
- Give yourself a hug. Yes, this sounds silly, but sometimes the comfort of a three-second hug can help you appreciate yourself a little more.
- Listen to an awesome song. Something that makes you want to smile, dance or helps you remember a positive time in your life.
- Listen to a podcast. If the news on the radio or tunes in your car are boring you, don’t waste your time or mood on them. Find your favorite podcast to download, they are free.
- Journal. It reconnects you with your goals and purpose.
- Give yourself the gift of more time. Wake up a little earlier to meditate, breathe, read the paper, or do some yoga. If you plan ahead, it is always possible to find a way to give yourself some extra time. More time to sleep or a longer lunch hour?
- Go to the park and look at the clouds. Meditate, practice mindfulness or just take a walk. Enjoy the luxury of being in nature.
You have to take time for yourself, it’s necessary for building self-esteem, feeling healthy and taking care of others.
Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.