Self care is a ubiquitous term nowadays. We are all encouraged to engage in it, pay for it, and take time for it, but self care can mean different things to different people. It can also become very expensive.
Here are some self care ideas that could fit into most lifestyle routines and bring the mental and physical well-being you may be looking for.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care, self-love, mindfulness, time alone, these things all go hand-in-hand. Yet what do they mean?
The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, especially during times of stress.
It means you sometimes need to put yourself first and do whatever it takes for you to feel like you have made yourself a priority and you have taken care of yourself in some way that you needed to be taken care of.
There’s that saying that goes:
“You cannot pour from an empty cup”.Tarryne West
How can you take care of others unless you have cared for yourself?
How Does This Translate Into Real Life?
Based on this definition, self-care helps us preserve our health and happiness when stressed; however, self-care can take many forms and mean different things to different people. What works for you may not work for your friends or colleagues.
In general, you can think of self-care as how we treat and care for ourselves, whether through time alone or finding peace of mind.
The Cost of Self-Care
Yet, these options can cost you money, even time alone. For instance, if you have kids, getting time alone may mean paying the babysitter or nanny for that extra time. According to a study done by OnePoll and Eventbrite, Americans spend around $199 a month on self-care, or “treating themselves,” or $2388 per year. Assuming you started working at 20 and live till 80, you have spent over $143,000 during a lifetime.
That’s a lot of money.
According to the study, it appears that most people prefer experiences over things and feel less guilt when paying for those experiences versus luxury items.
However, are the experiences we’re paying for really helping us? Is it necessary to spend a lot to care for ourselves and manage our stress?
I don’t think so.
I think the idea that spending more equates to “caring more” is a fallacy, and at the end of the day, it only serves to create more stress – think of what else you could be doing with your money!
35 Self-Care Ideas to Fit Your Lifestyle & Budget
As mentioned, this idea of self-care doesn’t need to break the bank or even affect your budget in any way. Instead, here are some common, budget-friendly self-care ideas and experiences.
- Spa Day at Home – do your nails, throw on a facemask, play music, and pour yourself a glass of wine!
- Girl Time or Girl’s Weekend away
- Hit the Gym – sweat out all the stress
- Read a Book
- Take a solo trip
- Play tourist in your home town and go exploring
- Go to a local park and/or have a picnic
- Visit your local hiking trails
- Volunteer your time at a local charity or with an organization that can use the help – giving to others can do more for our peace of mind than anything else.
- Go to the movies–late morning or matinee shows are always cheaper, and more often than not you’ll get the theater to yourself.
- Take yourself out for a simple cup of coffee
- Window shopping at a local market
- Find a local museum and take a look around. Museums generally require silence or quiet voices, so sometimes this is a great way to get out, do something new and still be alone with your thoughts.
- Work on a hobby or creative project – work that other part of your brain to relax!
- Clean & declutter your space
- Binge-watch a new show or an old favorite
- Work on your skincare routine
- Talk a walk around your neighborhood and get some fresh air
- Start journaling
- Practice yoga and/or guided meditation
- Take a long hot bubble bath
- Turn your phone off for a day
- Retail therapy – buy the thing you’ve been wanting; treat yourself
- Invest in a weighted blanket and sleep with it
- Plan a trip, or concert/outing – give yourself something to look forward to
- Take to the kitchen – bake, cook, or create a favorite dish or cocktail
- Call your family/friends and spend some time catching up
- Don’t check email or social media for an extended period of time
- Hydrate – invest in a reusable water bottle and drink up!
- Prioritize sleep – fix your nighttime routines and watch yourself feel better.
- Wake up at the same time each day – you’ll get more done and develop good daily habits.
- Start a garden – grow some herbs and vegetables. Good for your mind, soul, and diet!
- Unfollow people on social media who bring you down
- Step back from colleagues, friends, or family who bring you down and drain your energy.
- Light a candle or engage in aromatherapy to help relax.
- Drink some chamomile tea before bed
- Establish care with a therapist and have regular mental health check ins
The Most Important & Cheapest Self-Care Idea: Say NO
Saying no is probably one of the hardest things to do, yet the most necessary. One way to overwhelm yourself and your schedule is to agree to do everything that’s asked of you. While it’s important to “say Yes” to the things that will help you, it’s just as important to say “No” to the things that don’t.
Sometimes self-care doesn’t involve doing fancy things by yourself; it involves spending your time wisely and doing things with intention. Sometimes it’s about making sure you can prioritize the things that truly matter to you.
Embrace JOMO (Joy of Missing Out)
The grass is not always greener on the other side. People doing cool things on social media are not necessarily happier than you (and it’s probably not cool in real life anyway). Wishing you were somewhere else does not help you enjoy your present.
Showing gratitude for where you are and what you have and not caring that you may be missing out on something else is one of the best self-care steps you can take. It’s also a surefire way to get on the road to happiness and stay there.
Choose Your Experiences Wisely
Overall, choose experiences that will help you on your self-care journey. For instance, spending time experiencing something that teaches you a new skill, teaches you something about yourself that you didn’t realize before, or truly helps you relax is far more advantageous than an experience that does none of these things.
Hand in hand with this, make a bucket list that includes experiences you’d like to have and use that as inspiration when you have the time to devote to yourself.
Living Life With Self-Care
These self care ideas are meant to be used regularly. It’s a practice we should all incorporate into our everyday lives.
As the quote above says, we can’t pour from an empty cup. Keep filling your cup. Take care of yourself so you have the energy for all the things in life you love.