Self-care has become something of a buzzword nowadays.
In fact, it’s practically its own industry.
So, when we look around for ideas of how to actually do self-care, it’s no surprise that we’re met with endless lists of products to buy our way to self-care.
But what if we don’t want to spend a lot of money on self-care? What if we can’t? Is self-care impossible without dropping some cash?
Of course not.
Self-care isn’t all fancy spa massages and expensive weighted blankets. I mean, don’t get me wrong, if an anonymous billionaire wanted to throw either of those things my way, I wouldn’t say no… BUT, my point is, there are plenty of ways to practice self-care without making your bank account cry.
Here are just a few to get you started, and hopefully this list will spark some ideas of your own!
There is often a misconception that meditation requires a lot of effort, but it really doesn’t. Sure, you can make it as complex as you want, but at its core, all you need to meditate is a few minutes where you won’t be disturbed. That’s literally it.
Find yourself somewhere where you can sit comfortably for a few minutes and no one is going to disturb you. This might be your bedroom, your garden, a park – anywhere.
Sit with your thoughts; acknowledge them and let them float away like a cloud. Breathe deeply. Congrats, you’re meditating.
If you need a bit more structure, you might like to listen to a guided meditation on Spotify or another app. Some apps do charge for their guided meditations, but there are plenty out there for free. You can also find plenty of options on YouTube.
2. Get out in nature
Spending time in nature has physical, mental, and spiritual benefits, and it doesn’t have to cost a penny. Although it’s obviously great if you have access to sprawling forests or long beaches, even just spending some time in a grassy park is a great form of self-care.
Being in nature has been shown to make us feel better. Try taking off your shoes and standing barefoot in the grass. Place your hand against a tree. Smell the flowers. Watch the clouds. Listen to the birdsong. Take advantage of these free gifts of self-care.
3. Sing and/or dance
Singing and dancing are great ways to boost our happy hormones, and better still, all we need is ourselves. Even the music doesn’t have to cost anything if you’ve already got a device on which you can stream Spotify or YouTube, but we can even make our own music by drumming on pots and pans, whistling or humming!
Singing and dancing can be really effective at lifting our mood, but there are also physical benefits – dancing is a brilliant form of exercise! The self-care is coming at us in all directions.
4. Read a book
Reading for leisure is a great form of self-care. Whether you prefer escaping into a fantasy world for a while or soaking up new, interesting information from a non-fiction book, making some time to read can be really beneficial.
Read a book you already have, or visit your local library. You could also download the free BorrowBox app and borrow eBooks or audiobooks through your local library. There are also websites like Project Gutenberg that offers free ebooks to download.
Sometimes we can find that things have been sneakily piling inside us without realising, and we can feel like we’re about to explode. Left undealt with, this may result in us venting our anger or frustration onto those we love the most.
One way to vent frustration in a non-harmful way is to scream it out! Of course, if there are deeper underlying issues, these will need to be dealt with specifically. However, when it’s more of a build-up of annoyances or irritations that need to come out, get yourself somewhere where you won’t frighten anyone with the noise (a forest, a beach, somewhere remote) and scream until all the frustration has dissipated into the breeze. Feel the anger release from your body and float away.
If possible, go with a trusted friend or family member. Have a scream-off! If this isn’t possible, please tell someone exactly where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Make sure your phone is fully charged, and don’t go to a location that puts your safety at risk.
6. Take a nap
Lack of sleep can have a significant effect on your mental and physical health, and even if we are generally healthy and well, there will be days where a little nap will just give us that extra boost we need. The idea that taking a nap is somehow linked to laziness is just false and harmful. If you’re tired, rest and don’t feel guilty about it – you’re taking care of your health!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending money on self-care. If you have the means to do so, that’s great! However, money should not be a barrier to practicing self-care. There are plenty of spend-free or low-cost options available.
If you have more ideas of spend-free self-care activities, please feel free to share them in the comments below.