4 Self-Care Ideas That Are Cheap, Easy and Effective
Self-care is a pretty trendy topic these days, but do you really know what it means? Some people say self-care is getting a massage or taking “me time,” but self-care can be anything — as long as it refreshes and recharges you. In fact, what may even be seen as a chore to one person, like cooking or reading, could be relaxing for another.
If you need to make self-care a part of your life, the best way is to start short and simple — especially if you are tight on time and cash. Here are four ways you can add a dash of self-care into your day without spending a fortune.
Take a vacation
Okay, this sounds expensive and time-consuming, but in reality you could actually lose money by not taking vacation. First, if your employer offers PTO (paid time off) you are earning those vacation days, so don’t let them go to waste — you can be paid to relax! Second, you can save on expenses by traveling with family or friends who will share the cost of gas, food and lodging. For example, look for affordable vacation rentals with several bedrooms if you want to visit a large, but easygoing, city like San Diego. The right rental can be an ideal home base that provides proximity to attractions like iconic Swami’s Beach, the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Natural History Museum or La Jolla, where you can watch the seals and sea lions in. Whatever rental experience you choose, you can set yourself up for relaxation and adventure if you plan with your interests in mind.
Take a STAYcation
How often do you rush to leave for vacation and then hop right back into the grind the moment you get back? Look around you. Are there amazing aspects of your city you haven’t had time to explore? Consider a self-care staycation. Use your PTO to relax and unwind right in your own home. You can save money by checking out free museum days, visiting local parks, using trial memberships and touring public landmarks. Meet a friend or two for lunch or dinner and spend the other meal times experimenting with new recipes. Check a few books out at the library, and find a shady spot at the park (or in a cool, air-conditioned coffee shop) to give over to your imagination.
Get up 10 minutes early
No matter what you have penciled into your calendar, starting out with a few uninterrupted minutes all your own is a great way to set the tone for the day. Get up 10-15 minutes early and kick off the day with self-care. Drink your coffee in silence on the back porch. Do a vigorous yoga practice, meditate or take the dog for a brisk walk. No matter your interests — whether you want something relaxing or active — there is something everyone can do in 10 minutes or less. You may have to get creative, but try thinking of ways to start your day with a simple, quick self-care activity.
Learn something new
Making the effort to explore new hobbies and skills can provide a significant self-care boost. It can also be a good way to get quiet solo time or stretch your social butterfly wings. Have a friend who runs? Join them on a jog once a week. The exercise will help with managing stress and pressure, while the social aspect will keep you encouraged and motivated. Want to be a healthier chef? Eager to learn web design? Many colleges and universities offer community classes that teach subjects like cooking, technology, art, music and more.
When you feel the need to prioritize self-care, chances are you are already stressed or burnt out. Going off the deep end with self-care isn’t always the most healthy response. Start with building one self-care habit at a time. You’ll stay focused and feel more rewarded with the outcome.