Lifestyle 2019: We’re told constantly how important it is to self-care, while simultaneously being stretched and pushed way beyond our limits. Fun stuff.
Self-care isn’t just a marketing term: It’s imperative for our mental, emotional, and physical health. Without carving out time to recharge our batteries, we invite burnout, anxiety, stress, and general feelings of blah-ness.
But Lifestyle 2019 also tells us that we must spend money in order to self-care. If it’s not a luxuriously expensive face mask, it’s an $18 yoga class. Or a meditation app that costs moolah. Or a glass of wine out with friends. All of these things really can help us relax and nurture ourselves — but you don’t have to shell out cash in order to take charge of your wellbeing. Here are 5 lovely ways to self-care without spending a dime.
Do a yoga nidra online. Yoga nidra is a passive form of yoga that helps aid in deep relaxation. To participate, all you have to do is lie on your back and let yourself drift along to the guided instructions. Sometimes, folx fall asleep during yoga nidra, and that’s totally okay — it’s a sign that your body needed deep rest. Here’s a good free one that lasts about 35 minutes.
Journal. Is this suggestion too basic? Sorry. It’s still good. The thing about journaling is that we often don’t realize what we need to write about until we’re actually doing it. Grab your favorite notebook (or even something as simple as an old composition book) and just start scribbling. Release yourself from the expectation you have perfect grammar or follow any sort of outline. Write in the first- or third-person. Jump around on the page. Draw and sketch. Cross things out. WRITE IN ALL CAPS. Create some poetry. Ask yourself questions. And if it helps, think about it as writing a letter to yourself, rather than “journaling.”
Give yourself a massage. Mmm. Massages. They’re so good, but they can be soooo expensive. If seeing a massage professional is not within your budget or schedule constraints (or you don’t feel comfortable doing so), why not give yourself a little love? It really can be as simple as putting a little lotion or oil on your hands and rubbing the arches, heels, and balls of your feet. Another simple and free technique is to rub your temples in circular motions using your index and middle fingers. Close your eyes, breathe, and feel the muscles relax and soften with your touch.
Go to a library. Even if you’re not a bookworm, there’s so much to love about libraries. With a library card, you can borrow movies, music, and magazines. Not for nothing: It’s also pretty relaxing to just browse the shelves. Many public libraries also offer workshops, events, and classes, like poetry readings or cooking classes. They’re also blissfully quiet, cool in the summer heat, and free free free!
Snuggle an animal. Got a pet? Sit quietly on the floor with them and mindfully stroke their back. Scritch behind their ears. Kiss their head. It’s intuitive and scientifically-proven that being around animals helps lower stress and reduce anxiety. If you don’t have a pet and are interested in getting some puppy love, offer to babysit, walk, or visit with a friend or family member’s pet. Many animal shelters also accept volunteers.
Feeling overwhelmed in a way that no puppies or massages will help? Reach out to your treatment team or a mental health professional and let them know how you’re feeling. You don’t have to work through this alone.