When people think of self-care, they usually think luxurious spa days, indulgent, expensive meals, and face masks, and tropical vacations. As much as I would love to be smearing 24 karat gold cream on my face every night or jetting off to The Bahamas after a stressful week, those kinds of things aren’t possible when you’re on a budget. Prioritizing self-care is so crucial for your well-being, both mentally and physically, so I’ve put together a few of my favorite ways to practice self-care while sticking to a budget.
Set the mood for your self-care party for one by lighting your favorite scented candles. Place them all around your room or apartment for a tranquil vibe. Scented candles can be purchased for reasonable prices at most big box stores or even on online shopping sites like Amazon.
Your Favorite Playlist
If you don’t have it, you can get a service like Spotify or Apple Music for free and make playlists to your heart’s content! When I’m practicing self-care, I love to throw on my girl power playlist with artists like Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Stevie Nicks, and Lizzo and dance around the house with my dogs. Music can be a real mood booster and stress reliever.
A Cup Of Tea
Even the ritual of making tea can be relaxing. Brew a cup of green tea, peppermint, or your favorite tea flavor and serve it up in your favorite mug. The warmth of the tea can help you relax both your nerves and your muscles.
Your Favorite TV Show Or Movie
Turn on the tv or grab your laptop and queue up your favorite movie or show. I love to put on comedies that I’ve seen 1000 times before, but always make me feel better. My top choices right now are Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, and Workin’ Moms.
When I was in middle school, I always kept a journal where I would recount every drama-filled second of my day. It was a great way to let go of the tumultuous emotions a middle school girl carries around. Now that I’m older, I dedicate a day of the week where I swap my phone for my gratitude book, where I write out what happened to that day, what I’m thankful for, and my ongoing goals. It helps me focus on the present and the immediate future and gives me a more positive outlook. The good part is that pretty much everyone has a spare notebook lying around the house so you can get started on this one for free!
Use Your Favorite Face Mask Or DIY Your Own
Paper sheet masks are so popular right now, which means they’re readily available and affordable at most drug stores! DIY face masks are also fun for self-care, and you can make them with ingredients you have lying around the house. Mash an avocado or a banana, mix with honey, and apply it to clean skin. Let sit for at least 10 minutes, rinse with cold water, and you will be fresh-faced!
Adult Coloring Books
What better way to relax than kicking back with a box of crayons and your coloring sheets? Adult coloring books are a great way to unwind and give yourself a few minutes of low-key self-care. You can even print coloring sheets off the internet for free to help you stay on budget without running to the store for an actual coloring book. Also, many graphic designers offer coloring sheet subscriptions where you get new sheets each month. My favorite is Rad & Happy’s Color Happy subscription for just $5/month.
Yoga/Your Favorite Exercise
I know you’re probably thinking, “Yoga is totally out of my budget.” The great thing about YouTube is that there are so many free workout videos. You can do yoga or any other workout straight from your phone. Even light exercise is great because it gets the endorphins flowing and is a great way to practice self-care to get yourself feeling good! My favorite workout videos are the kickboxing ones, so even if yoga isn’t your thing, you will be bound to find something you love!
Call Someone You Love
According to a study from 2010, talking to someone you love on the phone is almost as good as a hug. You can even take it one step further and see them in person if they’re close by. When I’m having a rough day, I call my mom and talk it out. It’s incredible how much better I feel after a 20-minute phone call. Whether you talk on the phone, video chat, or in-person, your mom/dad/friend will be glad to hear from you.
Be Kind To Yourself
When you’re having a stressful day, it’s easy to view everything in a negative light, including yourself. It’s always important to treat yourself with kindness. Making an effort to say and think nice things about yourself can radically change your mindset. Try putting notes up on your mirror with encouragement and affirmations for you, so you see them every day. No matter what, you deserve to be treated well by everyone, and that includes yourself. Remember, if you wouldn’t say it about someone else, don’t say it to yourself!
Self-care doesn't have to be expensive, and it's not selfish. You deserve some time for yourself, even when your finances are less than stellar. Hopefully, this list gave you some food for thought to consider the next time you need a self-care date.