When you hear the words self-care, do you think of mani/pedis, massages, and facials? Do you think that self-care is pricey and not something that you can afford to do? Stop thinking like that. Let me show you how to practice self-care for free.
What Does Self-Care Mean?
According to Merriam-Webster, self-care is a noun meaning to care for oneself. Did you know this word has been around since 1841? Amazing. I thought it was a much more modern word, not something that’s been around since before the Civil War in the US.
To care for oneself. So simple. And yet, we make it complicated. We throw more and more money into self-care not realizing that the expenses are stressing us out even more. Why spend thousands to sit on a beach in the tropics and then wring your hands about your finances afterward? It’s not necessary.
There are so many low-cost and free options for self-care.
Practice Self-Care for Free
I cannot emphasize enough how important journaling is to your self-care. There is nothing better than getting your thoughts out on paper. Whether it’s just a free-for-all session of writing whatever crap comes into your head; a review of your day; or a thoughtful look at what you’re grateful for, journaling has many benefits.
Journaling can reduce your stress, strengthen your memory, and help you achieve your goals. Try it. All you need is paper and a pen or pencil. Or…you can use your computer or your phone to journal as well. There are many free apps that you can look for or just use your notes app on your phone.
Take a Walk
So simple. So free. Just walk out your door. Or walk around your house during bad weather.
Walking not only improves your physical health, but also brings you cardiovascular benefits, helps with weight control, reduces joint inflammation, and improves your immune system.
Need an even lower-impact version of walking? Sit in a chair and march your feet while moving your arms back and forth.
Declutter Your Home
Most of us need to declutter at least some parts of our homes, and many of us need to declutter large parts of our homes. But taking on overwhelming large decluttering projects can be even more stressful than seeing the clutter.
There are many free declutter challenges that can be found online including on Pinterest that focus on starting small. Or you can just start small, pick one shelf or one drawer and start there. Finish it before moving on to another area.
Read a Book
Whether an actual book or one on an e-reader, reading has many self-care benefits. From taking you away to a faraway land in your mind to teaching you how to do something, books are so helpful.
Did you know that reading not only strengthens your brain, teaches you to empathize, and reduces your stress, but it also prevents age-related cognitive declines? People who read every day are the least likely to develop the symptoms that lead to dementia.
If you need more books, visit your library. Most libraries even offer e-reader versions now.
Get More Sleep
It’s a fact, sleeping less adds more stress. The less sleep you get, the more Cortisol is released into your system. Cortisol is the hormone that activates your flight or fight response in your body. Your heart rate rises as it prepares your body for an emergency that isn’t happening.
Too much Cortisol leads to weight gain and to cardiovascular issues. Getting less than 5 hours of sleep each night is directly related to high blood pressure. You should try to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
Yoga is a beneficial mind-body exercise that combines poses with focused breathing and meditation. While you might think you need expensive yoga gear such as mats and special clothing, you don’t.
Instead of a mat, you can use a towel or a rug on your floor. Don’t have yoga clothing, no problem, just wear loose-fitting bottoms and a close-fitting top. Trust me on this, if you’re in down dog, you don’t want your teeshirt to fall into your face making it hard to breathe.
Don’t know how to do yoga? Find numerous free videos online, look for ones marked beginner or gentle and be sure the yoga teacher is not only demonstrating the pose but also giving very clear instructions on what the different parts of your body should be doing in each pose.
Spending even a few minutes in meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation which reduces your stress. The more you meditate the longer these benefits last.
New to meditation? Start with just 5 minutes and slowly work your way up until at least 15 to 20 minutes per day. You can find numerous guided meditations online. You can also use an app, like the Insight Timer, which can sound a gong at the beginning and end of your meditation.
You can even do a walking meditation which you can read about in Are You on the Path of Meditation?
Self-care doesn’t have to be stressful. I hope you find these free suggestions useful. Let me know how you practice self-care for free