August 31, 2021
How to Practice Self-Care While on a Budget
Let’s face it: we could probably all use a good, long vacation right now. But what if you can’t find a way to escape at the moment whether due to cost, personal obligations, family, health concerns, or work? Your body and your mind will function much better after a relaxing break, but what if life circumstances are holding you back? This is why taking care of your mental health through self-care is so important.
Many health companies and wellness gurus throw around the term “self-care” left and right - especially if you can drop the cash to purchase their products. We can all use a healthy dose of self-care, but what if you’re on a tight budget?
These are some easy self care tips to add to your wellness routine that won’t break your budget.
Reduce your clutter
It’s amazing how quickly our living spaces can get out of control. Mail and dishes start piling up, then all of a sudden the laundry is overflowing - how did it all happen so fast? Reorganizing your space and letting go of items you aren’t using anymore can be wonderfully therapeutic. Less stuff means less clutter, so use this “30/30/30” method when you’re going through your things: if the item is worth less than $30, and you haven’t used it for over 30 days, and you can replace it by driving somewhere within 30 miles, then let it go! A clean house equals a clean mind.
Get smarter with your smartphone
Lately it seems that phones have become an extension of our bodies, rather than a tool for us to use when we need them. A great way to practice self-care is to figure out ways to have a healthier relationship with your smartphone, whether by limiting time on social media or removing certain distracting apps altogether. Even better, choose a day to pretend your phone is “broken” and shut it off for a full 24 hours while it’s being “fixed”. You may find your stress levels plummet just from doing this for one day.
Grab a pen…
… and a pad of paper. Start writing out all of your thoughts, worries, concerns, hopes, dreams, and plans for the future. Doodle in the margins. Draw little pictures. Draw a grid and color in the cubes. Writing and drawing is excellent for mental health, and now that we’re in a digital age we don’t do it nearly as much as we used to. This is a wonderful way to take even just 15 minutes to yourself to map out your future goals as well - it helps to dream your future first before you can make it happen!
See some green
And no, we don’t mean dollar bills. Get outside and see some trees! Did you know that one research study found that when people were just shown a photograph of a tree, their stress levels dropped? Luckily, enjoying the outdoors doesn’t cost much money at all. Lay a blanket out in the park and have a picnic under a tree, or grab a friend and go for a hike. Even just a long walk around the neighborhood without any distractions (leave your phone at home for 30 minutes) will do wonders.
Volunteer your time
Get active in your community by signing up to work one evening at your local food bank. Make an appointment to donate blood. Organize a clean-up day with friends and family at your local park. When you use time to take care of others, you are indirectly taking care of yourself. You’ll be amazed at how uplifted and fulfilled you will feel after knowing you have helped others within your community.
Learn how to say “no”
Sometimes self-care is as simple as speaking up for your own needs. This may mean turning down a social engagement, or even backing out of one if your schedule is too busy. For many, canceling a social engagement is a source of anxiety, however it can actually create more anxiety if you’re over-committing yourself. Learn to get comfortable with saying “no” and taking an evening off to yourself. Self-care is not selfish, and you’ll be a better, healthier version of yourself the next time you go out and socialize with friends.
Get mindful about… everything!
The next time you’re enjoying a meal, sit down and slowly chew your food without any distractions. Focus on the textures and flavors and savor every bite. When you are out on a walk check-in with your senses: what can you see nearby, and far away? What can you smell when you take a deep breath? How does the air feel on your skin? Mindfulness takes practice, but it is as simple as paying attention to small moments throughout your day and being present in the moment.
Developing lasting healthy habits and practicing self-care doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Ultimately, positive change comes when you take the time to prioritize small actions towards health. Take some time to yourself by exercising your own personal self-care routine with these simple tips.