Self-care on a budget
In these hectic times, it’s important to allow yourself some time to care for yourself, decompress and relax. There are plenty of businesses that will be only too happy to charge you for this, but you don’t have to pay! In this article, we will look at some of the ways that you can look after yourself and practise self-care on a budget.
This may seem obvious, but if you’re feeling stressed out or slightly anxious, take time to breathe. Turn off any distractions such as your phone or the TV, take a seat, close your eyes, and practice breathing in and out slowly, to the count of four or five. If you repeat this five or six times you should feel a sense of calm come over you.
Meditation and mindfulness
If you find slow breathing helpful, or if you would like a little more guidance while practising, try some meditations or mindfulness. These include some guidance to follow, which can be useful if you find your mind wandering while you try to relax. There is lots of content online available for free where you can try meditation and mindfulness. Try searching YouTube, or try a free trial on the Calm app or Headspace app. If you look carefully, there are also find some free guided meditations available within the on demand video libraries of websites such as feelbreatheflow, where Martyn has a great selection of meditations available.
Sometimes we can all feel a little overwhelmed, and there is absolutely no shame in admitting this. While you may feel unable to talk through your worries with a friend, there are other simple (and free) options to try. One of the best ones we’ve found is the Youper app, which is like having a virtual therapist in your pocket, whenever you need them. It works using Artificial Intelligence and helps you to learn about your feelings, offering solutions along the way. Many features in the app are free of charge.
Books and Music
Many people find listening to music to be a great way to relax. Music has mood-lifting qualities so it can even help you to chase away the blues. Uplifting songs work best, especially those that you can sing along to – but any type of music that appeals to you should help. Music provides a distraction to the mind and can lift you out of the doldrums, especially on a grey day. Others find that they can read to improve their mood. Fiction books fuel the imagination, and can transport the reader away from their current reality. If you would like something more practical, take a look at Clipboard Claire’s ideas ideas for books to improve yourself for some inspiration. Check your local library and secondhand shops (or share the cost with a friend) to save on your books!
Plan ahead to reduce anxiety
Sometimes when things get busy, life can feel overwhelming. Planning your time will help you achieve your potential, reduce stress and get things done. Some effective tips are discussed in Self-Care & Organisation Tips To Support your Busy London Life, and these are equally effective no matter where you live. If you spend any time home working or perhaps have a home office space, Kay Caton has some practical advice to keep on top of stress and anxiety while working at home. Visit Be Happy Be You for some more self-care ideas to keep you sane.
It’s important to get a good night’s sleep, with good sleep quality. This will help with anxiety, depression and your general well-being. While we all need different amounts of sleep, you should aim for at least seven hours each night. Try to go to bed at a consistent time, to allow you to get the sleep you need before you need to get up. Try using meditation to relax, and have a mini digital detox before you go to bed. Improving your sleep quality will go a long way to improving your mood, as well as your mental and physical performance.
Some massage schools offer free (or cheap) massages to people for their students to build up experience. Search online for local massage schools and investigate. You may also find other inexpensive holistic therapies in this way, such as acupuncture and reflexology, to name but a few.
If the ideas above don’t appeal to you, why not treat yourself to a relaxing bath to unwind? Create a pleasant atmosphere with a few candles, some calming music, and run a bath with your favourite bath oil or bubbles: bliss! Why not also check out these five ways to care for your mental health at home?
Sometimes some fresh air and exercise is the best way to give yourself a boost and practice self-care on a budget. We’ve previously explored ways to have some fun outside without spending any money.