10/24/2016 11:47 pm
9 Inexpensive Ways to Practice Self-Care
We all know that it’s important to our physical and mental wellness to take good care of ourselves. But it can be hard to find the motivation for some “me time” when the sun starts setting at 5pm and there’s a noticeable chill in the air. And when money is tight, it gets even tougher to practice self-care. Below is a list of nine things you can do to benefit your mental health without costing an arm and a leg.
- Go outside – Head to the park for a game of catch or take a stroll around the block. Feel the crisp fall air on your cheeks and soak up some vitamin D. If you’re feeling really adventurous, go for a jog. Whatever you do, just get off the couch and out of the house for a while.
- Make art – Find paper and a pen and sketch what you see. If you’ve got paint, try a watercolor of the evening sky. Glue dried beans and macaroni noodles to a paper plate to make a mosaic like you did in kindergarten. Exercise your creativity, even if the finished product isn’t going end up in any museums.
- Cuddle a furry friend – If you’ve got a pet of your own, give it your full attention. Take the dog for a walk, play with the cat, or spend some quality time on brushing and grooming. If your home is pet-free, head to your local animal shelter. Many shelters need volunteers for dog and cat socialization, and simply spending time with animals can be good for the soul.
- Read a book – Whether you like romance novels or poetry, murder mysteries or comic books, find something to read that’s not a magazine. Many discount and thrift stores sell used books cheap, so you can take home an assortment for just a few dollars. Even better, most public libraries are free, so you can read the entire collection without spending a dime.
- Take a bath – Or if you don’t have a bathtub, take a shower. Take 15 minutes to yourself to let the hot water relax your muscles and your mind. Take some deep breaths, and then hop out feeling refreshed. Pro-tip: do this right before bed for a solid night of sleep.
- Cook a real meal – Yep, cleanup is the pits, but cooking an actual meal of real food will help your body feel better and give you a major sense of accomplishment. Plus, it’s usually cheaper than eating at a restaurant. If you’re looking for an easy start, try making a veggie omelet.
- Relax your muscles – Take turns with a friend giving each other shoulder massages. Prefer to relax alone? Use a foam roller to target sore spots, or spend 20 minutes doing yoga or stretching in your living room. Your back and joints will thank you.
- Listen to music – Maybe you’ve got an old favorite that always puts you in a good mood, or maybe you’re looking for something new. YouTube and Pandora are great ways to hear both, and their services are free to use. No computer or internet? Head to your local library.
- Take a cat nap – Look, being active is important, but so is getting enough rest. If you’re having a particularly rough day and feel exhausted, take a short nap. Getting 15-20 minutes of sleep can leave you feeling energized, refreshed, and ready to finish the day on the right foot.
Next time you’re struggling to be mindful about preserving your mental health, try one of these self-care ideas and get back to feeling well.