You may dream of days at the spa being fawned over by a masseuse, nail technician and skin care specialist. You sigh, reminding yourself that a spa day isn't in the cards financially right now. You're saving for college, a vacation, a mortgage. Pricey self-care activities just aren't in your budget.
Think again. Self-care doesn't have to be a luxury. It's something that you can—and should—practice daily to keep yourself in good health. And that doesn't mean it has to be expensive.
You can do some inexpensive or free things every day to manage your overall well-being. Even if you can afford expensive types of self-care, you should still make time for these little acts of self-care regularly. It's good for the body and mind. Find out why we all need to practice self-care.
Here are a few ways to take care of yourself—without breaking the bank.
- Lose yourself in a book. Check one out from the library on a topic you're interested in but have never taken the time to learn about. Or, grab your favorite tale from your bookshelf or e-book collection and read a chapter.
- Listen to some relaxing tunes—classical or whatever genre soothes you. Music contributes to a healthy mind and body by lifting your mood, improving your concentration and promoting relaxation.
- Make a call. When was the last time you made a phone call to someone instead of texting them? Buzz your mom, dad or best friend just to say hello. It will boost the well-being of both of you.
- Purge clothing in your closet that you haven't worn in years. Donate the pieces to a charitable cause. Organizing aspects of your life can give you a sense of relief, calmness and peace, especially when you donate to a good cause.
- Pick one item on your to-do list and get it done. You'll feel a burden lifted off your shoulders.
- Do a random act of kindness. Fill someone's parking meter or buy the person behind you in line at the coffee shop a cup.
- Unplug for a whole day. Can't conquer that? Try staying off social media for an evening.
- Meditate with a free app or a video on YouTube. Meditation can help reduce stress and manage physical issues like headaches and chronic pain. Here are meditation tricks for busy bodies.
- Get up 10 to 15 minutes earlier. It might seem difficult at first. But the extra free time in your day will likely feel like a luxury. Use the minutes to read or sit in peace. Avoid looking at your phone until the time is up.
- Drink a cup of hot tea. Tea drinking is a common ritual with proof in the numbers—158 million Americans enjoy a cup on any given day. It's estimated that over 80 billion servings of tea, or 3.6 billion gallons, were consumed in America last year alone. Here's how to enjoy a cup of tea.
- Lie on the grass and soak in the sun (wearing sunscreen, of course). Basking in nature can lift your mood and reduce stress.
- Relax in a bubble bath. Light a few candles, grab a good book and soak away your troubles.
- Buy some fresh flowers and display them on your desk. The smell and the sight of the floral arrangement can revive your senses.
- Plant a tree, vegetable garden or flowers. Studies have found that nature makes you feel more alive, happier and creative. Learn how to reap the rewards of gardening.
- Delegate a task. It will free up your schedule so you can focus on some me time.
- Sit near a window and stare at the stars. Recent studies suggest that nature can help our brains and bodies stay healthy.
- Drink water. Staying hydrated will flush out toxins, boost your immune system and relieve fatigue.
- Say no to something. It can be a playdate for one of your kids or an invitation to be on a school committee or even a social engagement. The crew won't ditch you if you skip one happy hour. You'll feel more in control and confident.
- Take a nap. Catching a short midday snooze can boost your performance and increase your alertness.
- Go for a walk alone or with a buddy. Walking can calm your brain without taxing your body. It can boost your mood and feel meditative. That's not to mention the fact it doesn't cost a penny.