Contrary to what Instagram influencers and famous celebrities might have you believe, “self-care” doesn’t need to involve unimaginable luxuries like high-end skin care products, far-flung vacations and personal fitness trainers. If you can afford those things, then great! But if a gym membership isn’t in the budget, let alone a personal trainer, you can still find ways to take care of your body, mind and soul. The truth is, showing yourself some much-needed self-love doesn’t need to cost a fortune — or anything at all, for that matter. Don’t believe us? Here’s how you can enjoy self-care while being conscious of your budget.
1. Enjoy a blissful shower
Nothing beats taking a relaxing shower after a long day. Sure, showering may not be completely free, but most people would agree that bathing regularly is a necessity.
So, why not make the most of it? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Blast your favorite tunes in the shower.
- Exfoliate your body with a DIY scrub made from brown sugar and olive oil.
- Wash your hair with a nutrient-packed shampoo bar made from plant-based ingredients and follow with a nourishing conditioner bar. (Hint: You can use your conditioner bar as an inexpensive shave cream.)
- Light a soy candle with organic lavender to set the mood.
2. Spend time in nature
Nature is chock-full of mental and physical health benefits: improved sleep, better mood and increased energy levels, just to name a few. The best part? Nature can be free. So get out there with these useful ideas that will help rejuvenate your spirit. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
- Have a picnic (solo or with company).
- Enjoy a meal outdoors.
- Plant a garden or do some yard work.
- Take your kids (and/or your pup) to the park.
3. Establish a bedtime routine.
For many, falling asleep — and, just as importantly, staying asleep — is no easy task. Thankfully, practicing self-care before bed can set you up for a great night’s sleep. Try these self-care ideas to wind down before bed. If they work for you, consider making them a permanent part of your nightly routine.
- Meditate before bed.
- Wash off the day with a simple skin care routine.
- Make a to-do list to avoid thinking about everything you need to do the next day.
- Wind down by drinking chamomile tea and reading a good book.
- Put on calming music and cuddle with your pet.
- Use a few drops of lavender essential oil underneath your pillow.
4. Give yourself a spa-worthy manicure-pedicure at home.
There’s something about getting a mani-pedi that can make you feel like a brand new person. But if you can’t fit a mani-pedi into your budget, don’t sweat it. You can do it yourself in the comfort of your own home. Here’s how:
- Gather your supplies in advance (nail polish, quick-drying top coat, foot filer, etc.).
- Remove your old nail polish with reusable cotton rounds. Reusable cotton rounds will save you money in the long-run. Plus, they’re good for the environment!
- Soak your feet and/or hands before filing them with a pumice stone.
- Buff your cuticles.
- Apply lotion and paint your nails.
The final step? Show off your handiwork to anyone and everyone.
5. Declutter one area of your house.
Decluttering your living space is an often-overlooked self-care practice. Mounds of clutter can wreak havoc on our mental well-being by making us feel stressed and scatterbrained. On the other hand, tidying up your home can have a slew of benefits for your mental well-being. A clutter-free home makes it easier to concentrate when we need to be productive and relax when it’s time to wind down for the day.
- To avoid overwhelming yourself, tackle one area at a time.
- Create a sorting system with four different piles: donation, recycle, trash and items you’re keeping.
- If you’re too busy to declutter an entire area, set a timer and see what you can do in five minutes.
- If you have kids, you can get them involved and turn it into a fun game.
- Prevent future clutter in your home by following the “One in, One Out” rule.
6. Get moving.
We all know that exercise is one of the best forms of self-care there is. Focusing on your physical fitness can boost your mood, lower your stress and help you live your best life. And if you think that fancy home gym equipment or a personal trainer is necessary to reap the full benefits of physical activity, think again! Here are a few ways to move your body on a budget:
- Subscribe to home workout channels on YouTube and follow along for free.
- Sneak fitness into your day by taking the stairs, parking farther than you need to and taking your meetings on the go.
- Take the dog for a walk.
- Buy some resistance bands (they’re super inexpensive) and look up full-body resistance band workouts online.
- Join a walking/running club.
7. Practice self-compassion.
Let’s face it, we could all stand to show ourselves more compassion. We tell everyone else to “go easy on themselves,” and yet, we often struggle to take our own advice. Practicing self-compassion is one of the hardest forms of self-care. But hey, look on the bright side: it’s also one of the cheapest!
- Look up positive affirmations (or create your own) and repeat them to yourself every day.
- Be mindful of negative self-talk and gently correct yourself when you notice it.
- Develop a growth mindset (e.g., “This obstacle may be challenging for me right now, but I’m learning from it.”)
- Accept that you are not perfect and forgive yourself for your shortcomings.
- Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend.
Fill Your Own Cup on a Budget
In order to be our best selves, we need to fill our own cups first. With these budget-friendly self-care ideas, you can start getting the regular R&R you need without breaking the bank. Try putting one or two of them into practice every day and you’ll see the difference in no time!