13 Self Care Practices That Don't Cost You A Thing
Self-care isn't all $10 Bath Bombs
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This past weekend I took a much needed day totally off. The week before was a busy one that had me surgically attached to my laptop and I developed an intense eye twitch that lasted a full three days. There are times when it's just super clear that your body needs a refresh. I had the whole of Saturday (well, nearly the whole day, I did take an Instagram break) screen free which was surprisingly hard. But, wouldn't you know it after spending a full 24 hours forcing myself to relax and practice a little self care, my eye stopped twitching and I felt remarkably well rested without taking a nap.
It honestly felt so good to take that time off and clear my brain that I'm going to dedicate a little more time to self care from now on. Here's what I did/am doing/want to do in the future. Because I'm on a tighter budget right now I can't do little treats to myself so all of these self care practices are totally free or will cost you only a couple of bucks.
1. Re-read A Favorite Book
This weekend I started re-reading Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. For me this ticks so many boxes because I had time away from screens, I rarely make time for reading books anymore, and it's so damn funny. It is one of maybe two or three books that I've read and laughed out loud. I started reading it again in part because it's finally being turned into a TV show and I wanted everything to be fresh in my mind when I'm fawning over David Tennant. Good Omens isn't necessarily for everyone (if you'll get upset from poking fun at Christian religion, you should skip it) but has been a nearly life long favorite having read it the first time when I was 12 or 13. If you want me to gush more I can write a whole post reviewing it.
2. Take A Walk Somewhere New
Right now in New Orleans it feels almost too hot to go anywhere at all. But due to the fact that my Fiance and I are both working at home right now we need some fresh air and outside the house time daily. It sounds like we're taking ourselves on a walk like a dog but we really need the change of scenery and leg stretch. To try and avoid the heat we've been doing walks/jogs bright and early in the morning before it really gets hot, then coming back and starting our day. Every day we take a similar enough path but try to walk down streets we haven't been down before to see new parts of our city.
3. Simply Take A Bath
I'm all for having hour long Lush baths, concocting all sorts of potions for an aromatic experience but that gets so pricy so quickly. I've recently started taking simpler baths with (normal household products?) chamomile tea, oatmeal, and Jojoba oil. I pop anything floaty into an extra large metal tea infuser so I don't wreck my pipes or need to bleach the tub when I'm done.
4. Youtube Yoga Exercises
My body is so not bendy. It hates it. I can barely touch my toes or do any sort of leg stretching without needing to bend my knees to get it done. But, it is a goal of mine this year to work on my flexibility because I feel like that's useful for living a more comfortable life when I'm an old curmudgeon. My favorite online yoga teacher is Yoga with Adriene. Her videos are so relaxing while still being challenging to weaklings like me.
5. Clean or Reorganize A Forgotten Space
My very type A personality hates mess. But living and working in the same small space all day with another human and a cat gets messy so I usually focus on keeping a general air of cleanliness as opposed to a perfectly organized home. This weekend I took maybe twenty minutes to take our bookshelf from an almost totally rainbow organized to a full rainbow and I love it. Sure, I could have cleaned out a closet but seeing my rainbow bookshelf gives me so much joy it's outrageous. Originally I had made the rainbow out of Dave and my collection of ~ fun ~ books, but he gave me the okay to mix in his academic books and now the whole thing is gorgeous.
6. Work on a Craft or Art Project
Creating things is my absolute favorite thing to do. On days or weeks that I'm feeling particularly anxious, spending a Saturday afternoon making something is a surefire cure. Besides the fact that it takes your mind off of whatever has you worried, you also get the satisfaction of something made at the end of the day. This weekend I worked on teaching myself to embroider and I'm thinking in a couple weeks time I may make a new duvet cover because ours is looking worse for wear.
7. Cook A Favorite Comfort Food
I'll admit to comforting myself with food a little too often. I absolutely love cooking so I'm used to being in the kitchen everyday but I was recently informed that many (or most?) people my age don't cook, don't know how to cook, or just don't like cooking. What do they eat? Even if you are one of those people who never cooks, try making a simple, comforting dish. Things like potatoes are super cheap, easy to make, and fill you up with all the carbs you need for a self-care nap.
8. Mute/Unfollow Social Accounts That Bring Negativity
Mute and unfollow features are the best thing to happen to social media. Especially for bloggers or people like me who let other's aspirational online lives get to them a little too much. Same thing goes for people who are negative or make you feel negatively when you see their posts. Who has time for that? The tiny little blip of negativity a few times a day adds up and makes me feel all stressy and gross. The solution? Block, unfollow, mute with abandon. If you are worried about hurting someone's feelings go for the mute (or unfollow on Facebook) option so at least you don't have to see negativity in your feed and they'll be none the wiser.
9. Meditate With A Free App
I wish I was more consistent than I am with meditation. I can spend an hour reading about how good meditation is for you and your brain but I couldn't meditate for an hour. I can't stick to a daily schedule and whenever I try it before bed I fall asleep so I'm trying to meditate for five to ten minutes during lunch a few days a week. My favorite free apps are Headspace (the trial), Stop Breathe and Think, and Calm.
10. Solo Dance Party
Pretty much every day could do with at least a little boogie. Work from home-ers and office workers will know that you can easily sit for hours, unmoving, and staring at a computer screen. Taking a one or two song crazy dance break cheers me up and gets my heart moving, both of which can only mean good things.
11. Wash Makeup Brushes
You know #staphgirl? The girl who infected her face with dirty makeup brushes? Don't be her. Think of this as self-care, skincare, and makeup better-ing all in one. Washing brushes only takes a few minutes and makes sure your makeup will look perfect while keeping your skin clean. I wash my face brushes pretty often (like after one use) because my skin is very picky but at least once a week pop on a podcast and spend fifteen minutes washing your brushes. Literally nothing bad can come of this.
12. Start a Gratitude Journal
Here's another thing, like meditation, that does cool beneficial things to your brain. Again, this is something I try to do and don't actually stick to but hey at least I'm trying. I'm going to start over with a fresh new notebook to try and make journaling / gratitude journaling happen. I have my eye on this $10 undated daily planner (the raspberry color) that I think would be the perfect thing to make me actually do it. It's not a huge space every day, it's super cute, and it's undated so it doesn't really matter when I start.
13. Volunteer Time
Growing up with my family and even during college with different clubs/organizations I used to volunteer pretty regularly. After college and moving to New Orleans I was so focused on everything from putting together our apartment, to work, to everything else under the sun that it slipped away from me. I really only realized this over the weekend and felt pretty gross with myself, I'll be honest. I have it down on my things to do list this week to find an organization in New Orleans that I can volunteer with at least once a month to give back to people in need. I haven't totally decided what it will be yet but I'm excited to invest some time in volunteering because self care can also mean giving to other people.
What do you do to practice a little self care?