17 Self-Care Ideas That Don't Cost a Darn Thing
Practicing self-care doesn’t have to be some big ‘ol routine, anything extravagant or come with a hefty price tag to be meaningful. I think as humans sometimes we equate more elaborate with more effective, but it’s definitely not always so. Instead, let’s get back to basics, and just uncomplicate things.
Self-care is meant to make us feel better, not be another thing to analyze and over-plan. For me, it’s all about creating a calm mindset where I can tap into my creativity, and find gratitude and peace. It's also about showing self-compassion on the days when that's not so easy to do. Some days you wake up and you're taking on the world, ready to do all the things… other days you're more of a wanderer. And that's ok - we have our ups and downs. Do the little things that make you feel good, when you need them.
Here are 17 self-care ideas that don’t cost a darn thing, because the best things in life are usually free.
Pick up a book at the library and enjoy a park day outside. Every time I step foot into a library, I think to myself, “Damn, I gotta come here more often.” There’s something so serene, yet so exciting about a library… even if you don’t enjoy reading! I love to bring my laptop and work from my library’s beautiful blooming rooftop. There are endless stories, ideas, and creative sparks to be found.
Go for a leisurely bike ride alone or with loved ones. I’m very adamant about two things… getting outside and moving my body DAILY. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown HIIT workout, but being outdoors, going for a walk, riding your bike, or doing anything active outdoors is proven to increase your serotonin levels, making you a happier human.
“Waste” time! Sing songs, binge-watch a new show, do something you used to love as a kid. And spoiler alert, it’s not actually wasting time… it’s taking time to do something just for fun. As adults, we need more “just because” moments in our lives!
Say no… to whatever makes you feel overwhelmed, upset, or angry (within reason - pssst, still gotta do those taxes). Cancel plans with that person whose company you don’t enjoy. Don’t go to that event you’re not even excited about. Say no to chores, grocery shopping, and laundry for a week… get it delivered or hire someone to clean. Time is your most valuable resource! Here’s how I maximize my time as a creative entrepreneur.
Say yes… to something out of your comfort zone. Because personal growth happens when we push ourselves off the edge of comfortable living. Say yes to that speaking gig, say yes to investing in yourself, say yes to joining that women’s group in your town.
Host a spa & self-care night with your girlfriends. Everyone bring their favorite spa treat (dessert, nail polish, face masks, and good movie!)
Write out your thoughts & emotions. Journal, let it flow onto paper. Looking for a starting point? 21 Motivating Journal Prompts comin’ right up.
Declutter a highly-trafficked area of your home. Start small. For me, I start with my work space. I keep it clear n’ clutter-free, but I do create space for the things that bring me joy and clarity throughout my day.
Make breakfast for dinner. Pancake party, maple syrup, chicken and waffles… need I say more?
Better yet, bake a cake and eat it for breakfast.
Got a pet? Spend all day doing all the things your animal loves to do like the dog park, fetch, a family snuggle-sesh, and you’ll both be happier for it.
Volunteer. Helping others makes you feel good too! Win win.
Take an afternoon nap outside. Spending time outside, breathing fresh air, and bringing nature indoors is important for your mental wellbeing.
Un-freakin-plug. Detox from social media and technology for 24 hours (or more!). Don’t worry, it will all be the same ole when you get back. Here are some tips on how I mindfully approach social media.
Spend all day doing the things you love. This may not be free, depending on who you are and what you like to do. For me, a perfect day would be hittin’ up a spin or yoga class, then drinking matcha at a cafe, taking a looong walk with my dog around my favorite parts of Austin near Lady Bird Lake, eating lunch at Picnik, walking around the farmers market, and coming home just before golden hour to sit outside with Andrew & Luna as we watch the sun go down.
Start a weekend project. Maybe you’ve been wanting to paint your dresser white or hang the picture frame that’s been sitting on the floor collecting dust. Roll up your sleeves, turn up the music, and get ‘er done!
Try that 20 minute meditation you’ve been putting off. Because, why not? We can do anything we set our mind to, and 20 minutes isn’t that long considering we have over 900 minutes of awakeness in a day.
Give some of these self-care practices a try and see how they make you feel. Remember, it doesn't have to be difficult or complicated. Self-care can simply be about checking in with yourself, listening to the answers, acknowledging what it is that you need, and willing yourself to take action on it. Because you're worth it.