It is not a surprise some of my favorite things (thanks Julie Andrews) are pricey! This goes especially for my favorite self-care activities. They range from pedicures to world travel. I can’t help but feel invigorated walking anonymously down some foreign street where I cannot even read the shop signs. Last post, I discussed my thoughts on self-care versus self-indulgence. I think there is a balance between both, but I definitely think self-care is a necessity. Right now, with my reduced teaching schedule and my 2020 trip to the U.K. in the horizon, I certainly do not have disposable income.
Therefore, in honor of my No Spend until the end of March, here are some of my ideas for self-care that is free!
Create Your Own At Home Spa
Dig through your bathroom cabinets and drawers to see what luxury products you have forgotten. Maybe your mom gave you a bath bomb last Christmas, or there is a fancy candle tucked away behind your hairspray. You can even make your own spa products with this post. Some cheap items make great bath products. Epsom salt is a wonderful bath soak and witch hazel can be used as a face astringent. There are free streaming services like Pandora where you can enjoy relaxing music to your taste. Use what you have to create ambiance.
Find Your Next Favorite Book Series
We all have this one book that has captivated us. For may, it began with the Harry Potter series. However, I have been lucky enough to find several over my years of voracious reading. Think about some of you favorite series from the past. You can use websites like Goodreads or What Should I Read Next to find books similar to those. (What Should I Read Next takes all the guesswork out by generating a list based on titles provided!) No need to spend money to buy them. Check with your local library and they are not in the collection request for them to be ordered through inner-library loan. Most libraries will do this for free! If it is a classic that you crave, many of them are out of copyright and can be found online as open source.
Take Time to Try Meditate or Yoga
To begin the basics of both of these, you can go as far as YouTube. Check out free apps and beginner courses. Even some communities offer classes for free at libraries or churches. The simplest start is by practicing deep breathing from the stomach instead of the chest. Another skill that takes mastering is the slow inhalation and exhalation breathing pattern used in meditative practices. Even just the act of clearing your mind is a skill that is nice easily mastered. You can start this process on your own in a quiet room.
Unplug from Social Media
This is the most freeing ‘free’ item on the list. Cutting back on social media allows you time to pursue something else more healthy to you. Whether it is talking with your partner or working on a creative pursuit. Try to unplug a little a day while slowly adding more time off social media each day. I find after a few days, I don’t even miss it!
Start a Journal
Journaling within itself is a good calming and reflective practice. It is used by mental health professionals, creatives, memory enthusiasts, and more. The greatest aspect about journaling is that it can be used however it best benefits you. It can be a brain dump of ideas so you can sleep. It can be a place to bring more positive things in your life by thinking of the happiness already present. You can doodle, complain, and cry into the pages as needed. Do not feel tempted to purchase a fancy product, find a notebook with empty space and get started.
Think of 3 Health Challenges Then Begin a New Habit Today!
So much of our life can be improved by finding a balance with our health. However, our fast paced world with cheap unhealthy food and energy drinks makes it difficult. (Myself included in this! I sure love venti iced coffees.) My biggest mistake with trying to be ‘healthy’ was trying to change everything at once. It is overwhelming to start cutting sugar, eating salads, exercising all in the same week. Pick one of these and implement it for several weeks. When you feel confident it is a habit, then add something else.
Leave Your Living Room Dungeon and Go Outside
Find an activity that gets you out of the house. The University of Alabama Birmingham found that even just 20 minutes outside at the park can improve your mood. There are so many free things to do. Just walking my neighborhood daily brightens my day. If you are fortunate enough to live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, parking on the beach is free! There are plenty of piers and harbors to walk. I love watching the pelicans swoop down at the boats to catch a snack at the Ocean Springs Harbor. Check out State and National Parks in your area as well.
Use this list as a starting point to jump start a self-care habit that you can enjoy daily. Begin with just 30 minute sometime in the day and then you can add more slowly. Get creative with your time. A car rider line is a great place to enjoy an audiobook. Waking up a little earlier can give you the reflective time you need. Even taking a break at work for coffee with a friend is a good start! Just get going!
What free self-care activity do you like?
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