Okay loves…I’m just going to say it so that we can get it out of the way: SELF-CARE IS A NON-NEGOTIABLE. Yes, it’s the buzziest buzz word of the last few years. Yes, you see all the shared posts about it. Yes, you might even know a few tips about how to get it. Yet, for most of us, it’s still elusive.
We’ve officially crossed the one-year mark of the pandemic and life still isn’t the same. Truth be told, we don’t know if it ever really will be, but what I know and have witnessed is that so many of us are still struggling. Whether it’s because your schedule somehow became busier (hello me at first!), schools opening and closing, making the adjustment to wearing a mask all day while out, various life changes, etc. we’ve had to become a bit more creative about how to care for ourselves.
Prior to the pandemic, my self-care looked like splurging on solo trips, snagging a reservation at a luxe spa, treating myself to some retail therapy, and bubble baths with oils, rose petals, wine, and candles. And while there is still a time and place for those treats (and trust, I still give them to myself), I also need to care for myself daily.
Regardless of if the “Biden Bucks” hit your account or not, you still need small ways to care for yourself daily. And I’m excited to share my favorite free and low-cost self-care tips because we can’t let the stimmy (or the lack thereof) determine your capacity to give to yourself.
Cost Effective Self-Care:
Flowers: By no means am I a plant mom and I do not have a green thumb, but I LOVE flowers. As much as I enjoy an expensive arrangement that’s carefully curated, you can also do this for yourself. Trader Joes is THE spot for flowers and plants (but if you don’t have one near you, check out your local grocery store selection! Most even have $5 bunches now). Grab some, along with some $1 vases from Dollar Tree and create your own small arrangements. Trim the stems, change the water in them every few days, and put them in places that you frequent throughout your house. For me, that’s my work desk, the dining room table, and my nightstand near my bed. I also get eucalyptus stems, pound the leaves a little to release the oil, and hang it in my shower. When the steam hits, it gives me spa vibes, and the shower becomes a little treat in itself.
Journaling: Grab a cute notebook from TJ Maxx (they are usually about $5), set a timer for 10 minutes, and just write. Some people write about their day, others write short stories, others make gratitude lists, and some just doodle. Whatever your jam, just do it! There is no right way to journal.
Get a Cheap Hobby: Your local craft store is always having a sale and they have coupons on their website. Listen, do not go overboard in that store! Pick something, get the basics, and have at it! Find a class on YouTube to learn how to do something new and don’t worry about the outcome. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just let yourself get in the zone of creative expression and let your worries melt away. Also, if it stops being fun and starts feeling like a burden, then stop doing it and try something else!
Refresh Your Space: You’ve spent more time in your home in this last year than probably ever and I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of looking at the same stuff day in and day out! With that being said, you don’t need to do a complete overhaul of our home to make your space feel new. Declutter, rearrange your furniture, switch out the pictures of your loved ones, or move some of your décor around to different rooms. It will liven up your space and give you a bit of variety without exhausting your budget.
Rest: This seems simple, but oftentimes we overthink it. Rest can look like going to sleep at a decent time, taking a nap (I’ve mastered the 20 minute nap by listening to ocean sounds on my phone), watching a few episodes of your favorite show, reading a book, etc. Here’s the thing…you know this. But 9 times out of 10, you mess your rest up because you don’t give your mind the rest at the same time. Most of the time, while “resting” our minds are running a mile a minute, thinking about what we didn’t finish, what we still have to do, how if you stop resting you can get more done, etc. That’s. Not. Rest. The trick to this is to plan your rest just like you plan everything else on your calendar and to not feel pressure about the amount of time. 10 minutes of reading before bed is enough to calm your mind. 1 minute of deep breathing can reground yourself. Give yourself these moments so they can add up to something major.
Exercise: If you’ve been feeling overly tired or just don’t have energy, you need to move your body. Sounds a bit counterintuitive right? Exercise is so good for you and regardless of if you’ve been active or not, treating your body well is essential to feeling good. Take a walk outside (feel the sun on your skin, Vitamin D works wonders for your mood!), use the FitOn app, check out Popsugar Fitness on YouTube, or learn dances on TikTok. Just move!
Track Your Moods: If you’re like me, over time, I’ve felt the up and down roller coaster of emotions Tracking your moods actually helps you gain perspective and gives you the opportunity to reflect on things from a higher level rather than dwelling in moments that don’t serve you. You can print off a premade mood tracker or create your own (google bullet journal mood tracker to see some amazing designs!) and just color code! If you notice more down days over time, then you know you need to offer yourself something new. If you see more up days over time, then you know you’re on the right track! It’s a nice 3 minute exercise that grants you the space to truly evaluate what you need most.
Say No: Practice with me sis…”No. N-O. No thank you. I would not like to do that. I’m not interested. I appreciate the thought, but no thanks.” Pick your language and practice it. No one is going to respect your boundaries if you don’t have any in the first place. Set them, stick to them, and carefully consider whether or not you want to give them up. It's tough at first, but most of the time you can’t get self-care because you’re too busy giving to everyone else. No is free. It’s hard, but it’s free. And what you’ll learn is that people will respect you more for not being a yes woman all the time.
So there you have it. Quick, easy, cheap ways to offer yourself some self-care. No more excuses, no more overthinking it, no more letting it escape you. Pick something and try it out, switch it out if it doesn’t work! Because honey, you deserve to DateYourselfGirl!