If you’ve read basically any of my past posts, you know I’m a huge advocate of self care. I’ve even shared some of my favorite self care ideas with you. But I know that term can be daunting, especially if you spend any time at all on social media.
It seems like most of what we see as “self care” on social media is either unattainable, unrealistic, or unaffordable. And that’s not at all what it needs to be. My theory is, if you’re making yourself feel refreshed, happier, and more like yourself, you’re doing something right. So, as much as those fancy flower baths and expensive facials look wonderful, those aren’t sustainable self care practices for everyone.
With this blog post, I want to give you a few self care ideas that are attainable, realistic, and most of all, affordable. Because taking care of yourself doesn’t have to involve abusing your bank account.
5 Self Care Ideas that Don’t Cost Money
Okay, this one is hard. And it definitely might not feel like self care at first. I think this is because we often (read: always) feel the need to please other people. If you’re anything like me, you’re terrified of letting people down. You want to make everyone happy, you want everyone to like you, and you feel like you can always be doing more. While it’s important to care for others and have empathy, it’s equally as important to not let others suck the life out of you. Whether it’s friends, family, coworkers, gym buddies, whatever, toxic people are not worth your time, energy, emotions, or anything else you have to offer. So, be civil, be nice, but don’t let them take your happiness.
Take a Walk
There is something so incredibly therapeutic about getting outside. If you are able to move your body, and the weather is cooperating, take yourself for a walk. Put on a podcast or your favorite music, or just listen to your surroundings. Movement not only releases endorphins, but getting outside, especially in nature, has been shown to improve your mood. I need to take this advice more myself. Working in a windowless office at a computer all day, getting outside when I can is vital for my mental health. And taking a walk would improve that even more.
Get a Library Card
This one is one of my more obscure self care ideas, I know. But hear me out. Reading has become a staple of my self-care routine. I make a point to try to read about 20 pages a night, although that’s flexible. I’ve also been crazy into audiobooks lately. And I recently became a member of my local library! The great thing is, libraries provide not only thousands of books for your entertainment, but they also have audiobooks, movies, music, and local activities. Buying new books (or audiobooks) can get expensive. I know, because I have a problem when it comes to walking into cute used book stores and coming out with more than I can realistically read in the near future. But becoming a member of your local library takes the cost out of it. Your local library may also provide services like resources to learn new languages or skills, workshops about various activities or hobbies, drivers training courses, and so many others. I was amazed how much my library had to offer to not only read, but expand my horizons. And it’s all free.
Meditation is kind of a stereotypical self-care practice. But honestly, it’s so effective. And one of my favorite self care ideas. And you don’t need some fancy training or retreats to do it. There are so many free apps out there that provide quality guided meditations to help you clear and focus your mind (find my favorite here). For me, meditation is about a few minute of quiet, of nothingness. My brain goes a million miles a minute (thanks, anxiety), and meditation has helped me calm it down. And I don’t only mean during the actual practice, but in my everyday life as well. It’s provided me with the ability to recognize when my thoughts start to spiral (most of the time) and calm them down. No, it hasn’t cured my anxiety or depression or anything like that. But it has helped me develop the skills to better deal with the thoughts derived from those mental illnesses. And even if you don’t deal with anxiety or depression or any other mental illness, meditation is a great way to have a mellow quiet moment to yourself. And sometimes, we all need that.
Become an Active Member of Your Community
I’m not saying go to every activity, join every club, and volunteer at every event. That would be massively overwhelming. All I’m saying is pay attention to what’s going on in your local community. Chances are, there are fun festivals or events happening every month. There may be book clubs or trivia nights that could be a great source of fun and new friends. Is there a farmer’s market nearby? Go! You don’t have to buy anything to enjoy the vibes, the people, and the outdoors. Thinking about volunteering somewhere? Give it a try! Not only will you be doing some good for your community, but you’ll be doing some good for yourself. I think there is something so valuable in being an active member of the community. Even if it just means going to the occasional food festival (hello tamales), it’s so wonderful to feel a part of something bigger than yourself. And you never know, you could meet your next best friend!