We all know we need to practice self-care in order to feel our best and be able to help others. (You know this, RIGHT?!) Yet, things like massages, facials, yoga classes, pedicures, and spa days cost $$$$. While there is no real substitute for getting regular, actual massages, you don’t need to break the bank in order to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.
Sometimes, especially in the case of parents with small children, the issue is not only money, it is carving out the time. You may not believe you have the time for self-care. I know this one well, because I’m the mom of a two year old, running my own business. There is no one-size-fits-all to your unique situation. Main thing, really, is that you DO SOMETHING to give yourself a little self-care ideally every day. Perhaps once a week, you can find yourself an hour or more to do some of the more involved practices. Do a childcare swap with another mom, or find some other thing you can trade for someone to help with the kids. Make self-care a priority. I’m not kidding! You will be a far better mom, partner, student, employee, entrepreneur (especially you!) if you take the time and energy to fill your own cup.
Many of us have old belief patterns telling us that these things are unimportant or frivolous. It may feel selfish or self-indulgent to take the time to care for yourself. I invite you to explore these fundamental beliefs, and to make a commitment to yourself to set up a realistic goal of incorporating self-care into your everyday life. These small habits really add up to a whole lifestyle change.
And, truth be told, it turns out the best things in life ARE free!
#1. EAT HEALTHY FOOD
“But, organic food is soooo expensive! That’s not in my budget!” OK GUYS! It’s important to get real about the food you choose to put into your body. We have to be modern hunter-gatherers about our food sources. Long gone are the days of old when all veggies were grown organically. Today, conventional produce, which does not need to be labeled in any way, is most likely covered in pesticides. So, do your research, and make wise choices about the food you put into your one and only amazing Earth suit we call a body!
#2. GET OUT IN NATURE
Get off the computer (after you read my blog!) and get your butt out into some nature! Fresh air, nature sounds, tune the body and mind in very specific ways. Observe nature, and let her teach you something. Get out of your own little mind, and connect with something bigger. I know of no better way to do this than a nice session in Mother Nature.
#3. GIVE YOURSELF A FACIAL
This may cost a little bit of $ up front, but is really worth it to take care of your skin. I didn’t start doing this until I was about 35, so don’t wait as long as me! You will need about 30 minutes. Click here to learn how to do your own mini facials. (My video will be coming soon!)
#4. TAKE A HOT BATH
Heat, and being surrounded by water is so soothing to the body. Pair up your bath by using some nice essential oils, and light some candles to create a beautiful space. Perhaps listen to some soothing music as well. This is a whole system re-boot. I like to end with a cold shower. Do whatever makes you feel alive and refreshed!
This is the best thing you can “not-do” with your busy mind. 5-20 minutes a day of sitting still and watching your breath has been shown to have an incredible impact on your health and well-being. For some of us, not-doing is one of the hardest things to do! If you are a complete beginner, and have some resistance to sitting, I suggest going on YouTube and finding some guided meditations to listen to. Or check out some guided meditation podcasts, and listen to them before bed. And though, I do like guided meditations, I really feel that there is no substitute for tuning into yourself, and creating that habit every day. Try it, and you will feel it’s effects ripple out to the rest of your life.
#6. DO YOGA, QI GONG, or TAI CHI
If you already have a yoga practice, then, awesome. You know how good it feels to have a daily practice. Once I became a mom, though, my daily practice faded out with all of my new responsibilities. I still don’t practice every day, but I am bringing it back more and more. If I need a little inspiration, I check out yoga classes on YouTube. This is a great resource for beginners. I do need to add the caveat that there is no substitute to learning yoga from a qualified teacher. You simply cannot get the depth of the practice through a video. But, for our purposes of budget-friendly self-care, it’ll do the trick!
#7. DRINK HERBAL TEAS
My favorite combo is nettles and oatstraw. Really good for the nervous system. Save money by buying the herbs in bulk, and using a tea strainer.
#8. READ AN INSPIRING BOOK
A good book is like soul food. Nourish the garden of your mind with reading material that enlightens and inspires you.
#9. GIVE YOURSELF A PEDICURE
This is something I just started doing. I’ve never been a “girly girl,” and I thought pedicures were kinda silly. But thanks to some peer pressure from girlfriends, I have seen the light! Hallelujah! Treating your feet nicely is oh so amazing, especially if you have a job where you’re on your feet a lot. Check this tutorial on how to do your own pedicure at home.
#10. TAKE A WALK
Mild exercise can refresh your energy. It helps you release the stress of your day, or gets you pumped for the day ahead. Try listening to inspiring talks, or music that brings you joy. Or, just go au natural and let the breeze and the birds talk to you.
#11. DO SOME SELF MASSAGE
Learning some self-massage techniques can be an invaluable resource. When done on a regular basis, in addition to a yoga practice, you keep those annoying aches and pains from snowballing into major debilitating conditions.
#12. GO SWIMMING
I think that humans + water = happiness. If at all possible, find a body of water to jump into and move your body in new, fluid ways. Easy if you live in Hawai’i. But, for most of us, that might mean a community pool.
#13. LISTEN TO AN INSPIRING PODCAST
I mentioned this already, and you can do it on your drive to work, or to pick the kids up from school. Feed your hungry brain yummy thoughts. Pick a topic that inspires you, or that you are curious to learn more about. A quick Google search will reveal lots of people sharing lots of inspiring and educational stuff!
#14. HAVE A POTLUCK
We do a weekly potluck with friends. It is without question the most delicious meal of the week. Way cheaper and way better than going out to eat. (And I absolutely LOVE going out to eat.) Pick a theme, and be surprised at the creativity and scrumptiousness that ensues. Plus, you get to hang out with your friends, and feed connections with your community.
#15. HAVE A SOLO DANCE SESSION
I don’t really care for traditional exercise. Solo dance jams are my jam! Put on some MJ on Pandora, or make your own playful playlist and shake yo bootay! Dance at least 20 minutes so you get your heart rate up. I love this, because you don’t need to be self-conscious at all. Who cares what you look like? Move in ways that bring you joy.
Have any more self-care tips that cost little or nothing? Leave your comment below!