10 Affordable Ways to Practice Self Care
By: Elle Henry
In our modern world of social media, often we are fed expensive images pertaining to self-care. Personally, I have run up a sizable bill on items purchased for the sake of this trend. But, what is self-care?
In the past year or so, we’ve watched the term “self-care” become a common marketing technique. Just by opening the news app, you’ll see a new article promoting items “needed” to exercise self-care. However, self-care doesn’t have to be something purchased nor do you have to be well off to take the extra steps in taking care of yourself.
Self-care simply means taking care of yourself. Typically, these acts go beyond the essential needs of eating, sleeping or using the bathroom. At its core, self-care is meant to be anything that helps you function. Struggling with remembering to eat or shower is categorized as a form of negative self-care. Often we neglect our own needs, getting caught up in this thing called life. Every once in awhile its important to slow it down and take care of yourself. Here are our 10 affordable ways to get started.
1. Meditation: you’ve probably heard of this before on every self-help blog ever written, but meditation has a ton of proven mood-boosting benefits. If it feels like a lot of effort to sit still, try walking meditation or start small with Headspace. Headspace offers student discounts on their yearly membership, some of their meditations are as short as a minute long. I recently purchased their format and it works wonders. If meditation seems overwhelming work your way up, there are plenty of great quality guided meditation practices available online if your not trying to break the bank.
2. Journaling: If you don't know what to say, start with something simple like what you ate today and how that made you feel. The purpose is merely to get your thoughts out, so they don’t get bunched up and mangled in your head.
3. List making: A quick way to boost your mood and speak positivity into your future is by writing lists of the things you intend to accomplish. Sometimes organization can make us feel at peace, these lists can span from what you want to accomplish this week to what you aim to achieve in the next fifty years.
4. Stretching: This can be as simple as choosing a part of your body that feels tight and tense, then simply search through Google for some simple stretches to help ease it. You don’t need a masseuse to tell you where you carry tension, just slowdown and listen to your body.
5. Self Facial Massage: There are plenty of free instructional videos on how to give yourself facial massages for headaches, anti-aging, etc. For example, this popular video by Trisha goes into great depth. I use lavender essential oil for calming or tea tree oil along with pumpkin seed to fight inflammation. Rosehip seed oil and jojoba oils are also lovely options since they tend not to clog pores.
6. Decorate: Print out some photos of friends, family, or even yourself and redecorate your room. If the option of decorating your room is exhausted, decorate things you interact with daily such as the inside of notebooks or binder covers. If you have a car the inside of your car visor is a great place for pictures or if you work a desk job, try adding some on your desk.
7. Music: Pretty much all music can be helpful depending on what genre you feel most at peace with. Personally, classical frees my mind unlike songs with lyrics, which I find distracting. Listen to whatever clears your mind and makes you feel whole.
8. Cooking: Whether its your favorite dish you know how to make by heart or a recipe discovered online, taking the time to pay attention to the food nourishing our bodies is one we often take for granted.
9. Memes: Sometimes taking five minutes scrolling through the Instagram humor section can lift your mood. Sometimes it feels great to laugh even if the video involves a dog scared of its image in the mirror.
10. Mirror Time: Try sitting in front of a mirror and giving yourself words of encouragement. Affirmations go a long way, start by telling yourself, “you’re worthy” or “you’re a badass, nothing can stop me,” then go out and live it.
Acknowledge that feeling down is not a personal failure. If you don’t own a full body mirror, you can grab one at Target for about $6 or just work with what you got. Take the time to note 5 things you love about yourself while looking in the mirror. I often dance during my mirror time, a lot, I don’t dance well, and most of the time I usually end up on the floor cracking up at how silly I look. For me this exercise isn’t about dancing well its about the laughter that helps cure.