How To Practice Self Care - The Affordable Basics

Last updated on : April 02 2021

Girl stretching in bed

Affordable Self-Care Basics

In the social media age, the idea of "self-care" has become warped.

We've replaced our tending to legitimate personal needs with a slew of froufrou activities like splurging on vacations, getting professional massages and facials, buying ourselves fancy products and presents, and taking over-the-top boutique workout classes. 

This behavior is often associated with recklessness and excuses to do whatever we want, regardless of who or what it affects. 

The truth is, we need to reclaim self-care because it shouldn't be reckless, nor is it wasteful or financially extravagant. Proper self-care revolves around the idea of genuinely tending to your needs. It shouldn't be done with a goal of selfishness or extravagance, either. 

The objective should be to keep yourself in tip-top shape as you tend to your responsibilities and the needs of those around you.

1. Start with Your Basic Physical Needs

The self-care process should always start with a good hard look at how well you're providing your body with its basic needs. 

We can boil this down to three primary areas of focus:

Sleep

Sleeping is an easy activity to short-change yourself. However, it's one of the essential functions that you need to take care you get enough. 

Not getting enough sleep can have disastrous effects on your ability to function and think. It can also make you moody and irritable. 

By getting at least seven hours of quality sleep each night, you set yourself up for personal success every day. 

Food

Self-care isn't an excuse to binge on junk food. Nor is it a call to take on fad diets that leave you feeling worse than when you started. 

Instead, proper nutritional self-care should focus on what you're eating over the long term. 

Take the time to invest in discovering what kind of diet is the best for you. Countless dietary recommendations have excellent track records and help you maintain a well-nourished body and mind every day. 

For instance, eating things like fish, fruits, and veggies is very good for your skin, while going low-carb can help you lose weight quickly.

Also, make an effort to drink enough water. Like, for real. If you're like most people, your caffeinated liquid intake is likely double or triple that of your H2O.

No more. Make a specific effort to drink enough water daily, finally.

Exercise

Exercise is an activity that you can quickly push to the backburner. It's time-consuming, challenging, and exhausting. 

The difficulties associated with exercising sometimes make it feel like the last thing you want to do when giving yourself a little attention.

And yet, if you can find the time to exercise, you can benefit from the activity in countless ways throughout your life. 

Exercise reduces stress, helps you stay fit, and can provide a sense of clarity, focus, and momentum to start each day.

2. Next, Consider Your Mental Health

Once you've addressed the self-care basics, conduct a mental health check-in. How is your brain doing? Have your thought patterns been healthy in recent days? What has been stressing you out lately? 

As you consider the state of your mind, take time to think about some of the following ways to affordably and effectively help take care of your mental health.

Organize and Clean Your Living Space

Much like exercise, the thought of cleaning may not cross your mind when you're thinking of self-care activities. 

However, the act of neatening and organizing your living space can be a tremendously productive use of your self-care efforts.

A clean and organized home can be a perpetual boon to your mental and even physical health. 

On the mental side of the equation, decluttering and simplifying your surroundings can reduce stress and anxiety. 

On the physical end of the deal, having a clean space can improve your air quality and your environment's overall health.

Go Outside

Another way to boost your brainpower is to go outside. The outdoors is well known for its many scientifically proven benefits for the mind. For instance, a stroll outside can:

● Lower your stress levels;

● Reduce negative thinking patterns;

● Enhance your creativity;

● Improve your satisfaction with life.

The simple act of going outside is a powerful antidote to the cares and concerns that tend to burden the modern, 21st-century individual. 

If you're feeling weighed down by responsibilities and need some self-care, step into the outdoors for a minute. The best part? It's free.

Detox from Blue Light

Unplugging is another highly effective way to practice cheap self-care. 

The average individual living in the 21st century gets bombarded with blue light from a menagerie of different electronic devices. Computers, smartphones, tablets, and televisions all band together to blast your retinas with that cool azure light from dawn until dusk.

If you're looking for a way to reduce your stress and take care of yourself for a minute, consider unplugging from the constant blue light exposure. 

Plan an evening with no electronics. Set up a "no blue light" bedroom. Get into the habit of turning off your phone an hour or two before bed.

Journal Your Thoughts

If you find that your mind needs some self-care, you can address the issue with a simple pen and paper to journal your various thoughts and struggles. 

If you don't have those handy, you can even use a note-taking app on your phone.  

The act of writing down what you're thinking can often take a weight off of your shoulders — and once again, it's practically free.

3. Indulge in Affordable Activities

Once you've combed over your physical and mental state, you can take your budget-conscious self-care ambitions in the direction of more extra-curricular (though still affordable) activities. 

As you do this, you want to find things that are uniquely suited to you. Here are a few suggestions to help get you started: 

●     Look for DIY hygiene options: From face masks to skincare, there are many ways to pamper your skin at home and on the cheap.

●     Meditate: When you're feeling overwhelmed, it's wise to give yourself some time to tend to the state of your spirit. 

●     Practice gratitude: If you're feeling pessimistic or discouraged, one of the most accessible self-care activities is to focus on things that make you thankful.

●     Take some deep breaths: Deep breathing is a quick way to sneak some self-care in even if you don't have more than a few minutes.

●     Read through a body relaxation script: If you have a little more time to get into a relaxed state, consider reading through a good body relaxation script.

●     Find a cheap hobby: From cooking to reading to knitting, many hobbies can genuinely feed the soul without breaking the bank.

If you can create a list of free and economic activities that you enjoy, you can tap into an affordable yet deep state of self-care and comfort in nearly any situation.

4. Socialize With Others, Too

Along with the above activities, it's also wise to find ways to interact with your friends and family. Even in your quest to take care of yourself, it's still important to include others on your journey. You can do this in a few different ways:

●     Connect with others online: Over the last year, it's become clear that, even during a pandemic, humans can still stay meaningfully connected online.

●     Hook up offline when you can: Whenever possible, still try to spend time with loved ones offline, as well. The physically close connection of being with someone else can still be a powerfully effective help in times of need.

●     Volunteer when you can: If you have the energy, consider using your "me" time to help others. Investing in a selfless act like volunteering can be immensely rewarding and help relax your mind and soul.

While most self-care activities are inward-focused, it's also a good idea to include others in your plans from time to time. This investment in socialization and interactions with others can often meet a deep and intimate connection in your soul that is hard to fill with solo activities.

Things to do to avoid the blues

5. Don't Forget to Tend to Your Finances

Finally, it's worth adding a note about your finances. Finances are particularly applicable since we're talking about affordable self-care. 

If you're looking for ways to help yourself, sometimes the answer lies in dedicating time to your finances.

Again, this isn't a very flattering option. However, taking the time to weed out bad credit card habits, pay overdue bills, or even update your budget can sometimes take a load off of an over-burdened mind.

Conclusion

Heart chalked on a park bench

It's time to take back the self-care movement. Resist the urge to splurge on financially harmful activities in the name of yourself. Instead, consider what it is that you really need. Then look for budget-friendly, effective ways to meet those needs whenever they arise.

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