14 Ways to Practice Self Care With No Money
NEWSFLASH: Life can be hard.
Even if you were fortunate enough to have been born into good circumstances, sometimes life can give you a bit of a sh*tkicking that leaves your heart hurting, your soul aching and your mind feeling like it’s completely overloaded.
Sorry to be a downer – but it’s true, right?
So what can we do to make ourselves feel better when life decides to pelt us with a bunch of those proverbial damn lemons? If you’re rich, you probably book a trip to a tropical island, a spa day, or a full-body massage. Maybe you go on a shopping spree or enjoy a fancy-ass dinner out on the town.
Fair enough. But what about the rest of us frugalistas who don’t have scads of cash to throw around in an effort to improve our emotional well-being?
Self-care, as it’s called, is pretty darn important. We need to take time to acknowledge that we’re stressed or upset, and do something that helps heal the damage before the stress starts to snowball into a bigger problem like chronic depression. It can be a particular struggle in the winter when the cold and darkness aren’t exactly encouraging a cheery outlook on life!
To help you out, I’ve put together a list of ways to practice self care that are free or super cheap! So you can make sure your mind, body, and soul stay healthy without adding financial stress to your already stressful situation. This might be just what you need to get you through the winter until you start to feel a bit more positive in the spring.
Enjoy, and I hope you feel better soon! <3
14 Ways to Practice Self Care on a Budget
Find a quiet space in your house, or even go to a local park that’s not buzzing with people. Close your eyes and try to think of nothing, or visualize pleasant things – whatever feels better for you. Listen to birdsong or zen yoga music on your headphones.
2) The Ultimate Hot Bath
Draw a nice hot, deep bath and add some epsom salts (you can get these for cheap at bulk dry goods stores or your local pharmacy). The magnesium in the salt helps your body detox. Add a couple tablespoons of coconut oil to the water to moisturize your skin, then drop in some of your favourite bubble bath, bath bomb fizzie or essential oil. I’m a big fan of straight lavender oil myself. I LOVE lavender and I find it the most soothing when I’m stressed or upset. I actually keep a little lavender oil inhaler in my desk drawer at work!
Pour yourself a glass of wine (I have a plastic wine glass I bought at the dollar store just for baths!), light some candles, turn the bathroom lights down or off, and slip into the tub! Read a favourite lighthearted book or just let your mind wander and your body relax.
3) DIY Some Spa Pampering
Give yourself a facial and face mask (it’s actually a good idea to do this after your hot bath, since the steam will have already opened up your pores for you!) Pick up a foot file at the dollar store and give your tootsies a nice buffing after they’ve soaked for a while in the tub. Trim your toenails and paint them a nice bright happy colour! Finish it off with a deeply moisturizing lotion or good old coconut oil. Use a body scrub (or just regular salt or sugar) to slough off dry winter skin all over your body, and be sure to moisturize afterward.
4) Solo Movie Night
Pop some popcorn or pick up a bag of your favourite snack. Jump into your PJs and settle on the couch with a favourite rom-com, comedy, or whatever other ‘escape’ type movie floats your boat. I’m personally a big fan of movies with stuff blowing up, but that’s just one of my many quirks! 😉 Avoid anything too dramatic or sad. This is not a good time for Sophie’s Choice…
5) Detox From Your Tech
As a blogger and writer, I’m at the computer screen and on my phone a LOT. Too much, actually. A tech detox can be a great way to soothe your mind and escape from the fast pace of social media, depressing news, and the barrage of information on the internet that can sometimes make your head spin.
Put your phone on silent and stash it away in your purse or a dresser drawer for a while. Avoid all screens and do something with your hands instead! Pick up a book. Start a new knitting, sewing, or other craft project. If you don’t have the money for a fancy adult colouring book, print off some colouring pages from the Interwebs and grab some pencil crayons at the dollar store. Put on your favourite music and have a baking or cooking spree. Dance around your kitchen!
A tech detox is also a good thing to do if part of your ‘blah’ feeling is stemming from jealousy or bitterness about “all the great things” allegedly happening in other peoples’ lives on social media. Don’t believe it for a SECOND – Facebook is the highlight reel of our lives. No one posts about the times they cried in the shower and stress-ate an entire box of cookies!
It’s all a veneer. Please remember this if you’re ever feeling like everyone else’s life is going better than yours. We all struggle. People usually just don’t share the struggle publicly.
6) Reconnect With Loved Ones
Spend time with your bestie, family, or spouse. It doesn’t really matter what you do, just make sure it’s relaxing. Talk about something other than work, money, or other life stresses.
7) Get Some Alone Time
On the flipside, don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones for some alone time. Sometimes even the most extroverted social butterflies just need a little solitude every once in a while to re-set and ground themselves. No one should be offended by your need for some ‘me’ time, and you shouldn’t feel any shame in it.
Hit up the gym or step outside for a run or brisk walk. It’s a cliche for a reason: exercise (and/or fresh air) can have a hugely positive impact on your mood.
9) Enjoy a Sexual Experience
I don’t need to go into detail… but solo or partnered, have a little fun and blow off some steam 😉
10) Clean Your House
It may sound counter-intuitive because it’s – well – WORK, but I personally find keeping my hands busy on a cleaning spree helps ease my anxiety attacks. And then you can enjoy that I’ve-totally-got-my-shit-together feeling of a clean house! It’s both practical and rewarding. In the same vein…
11) De-clutter and Tidy Your Home
Purge unnecessary clothes and other items. Many people find a chaotic living space makes them feel like their whole life is in chaos (I’m one of them!). Organize and tidy your living space for a calmer mindset.
12) Eat Healthy
Go on a clean eating kick for a week and see how you feel. We are what we eat, seriously. If you’re eating crap, you’ll feel like crap.
Related: Vegan Cooking 101
13) Write in a Journal
Bullet journals are all the rage right now, but write whatever works for you: stories, notes, letters, rants, poetry or feelings. Or just doodle.
14) Create a Relaxation Board on Pinterest
I actually find this surprisingly helpful. I fill this board with photos of tropical beaches, cute and cuddly animals, laughing babies, rainforests or other serene landscapes, etc. I just log in and scroll through the photos if I need a smile during my workday 🙂 You can set the board to Private if you don’t want it publicly available. It can be your own little Virtual Retreat.
Do you have any other ways to practice self care that don’t cost much (or any) money? Let me know in the comments!