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21 Cheap, Healthy Ways to Practice Self-Care


Self care is so important to make sure we take time to focus on and take care of our mental and physical selves. No, it’s not selfish, it’s necessary. When you take care of yourself, you’re also taking care of your relationships with the people around you. Neglecting self-care can lead to depression, anxiety, isolation or angry outbursts, which are unhealthy for both you and your friends and family. Do them and yourself a favor and be kind to yourself.

Not all things we do to “treat” ourselves is actually helpful or healthy, though. Sometimes I’ll binge-watch Netflix instead of working on a paper, or take a really long nap instead of going to class because “I deserve it.” And while I may deserve it, and in the moment it doesn’t seem like a big deal, in the long run it only makes me feel worse, and I deserve better than that. You and your body deserve better than that. Here is a list of my favorite self-care ideas to reward yourself with that are cheap and healthy.

1. Drink water

Probably the most obvious and basic self-care tip, but there’s a reason that it’s emphasized so often– it’s important! Carry a water bottle everywhere and try to drink a cup of water at every meal.

2. Stretch and exercise

It’s important to get your body moving and blood flowing. In moderation, of course, because too much can also lead to problems.

3. Shower or take a bath

It may seem obvious, but for many who struggle with depression or any other mental or chronic illnesses, showering may not be an easy task. Taking the time to get clean can make a big difference. If it’s possible for you to take a bath, run some warm water and throw in a bath bomb or some bubbles!

4. Put on a face mask

Then sit back and read a book or magazine, watch some Netflix, or soak in the tub.

5. Eat fruits and vegetables

6. Paint your nails

7. Call or FaceTime your friends/family/significant other

It makes such a huge difference to hear someone’s voice or see their face when you’re talking to them

8. Change your bed sheets

Let’s be real, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.

9. Tidy up your room

Make your bed, put away scattered clothes, clean up your desk, vacuum your rug and/or sweep your floor. When I clean my room, I use it as a metaphor for cleaning my mind, and afterwards my head always feel so much less cluttered.

10. Meditate

Even if it’s only for five to 10 minutes, getting into the habit of meditating daily can make a big difference in the long run.

11. Make yourself a cup of tea

12. Shut off your phone

Just as people suggest this for when you’re studying, it’s also nice to shut off your phone and put it away so you can focus on yourself.

13. Make a list of things that make you happy

14. Go to an animal shelter

15. Take time to do your makeup and hair

Even if you’re not going out. Sometimes it’s just fun to play with makeup and hair styles, then you can take a ton of cute selfies!

16. Listen to music or a good podcast

Don’t do anything else at the same time – just lay down and really listen to it, soak it all in.

17. Go for a walk without your phone

Go outside and walk around to enjoy and soak in the nature, not to snapchat about it.

18. Read a book

You don’t need to go out and look for and spend money on a new book, just grab one you haven’t read yet from your bookshelf or re-read one of your favorites. No pressure, no deadlines, just let your imagination enter a new world.

19. Journaling

Journaling means a lot of different things to everyone, and it’s not limited to just keeping a diary and making a daily entry of how your day went and how you’re feeling. While this may work for some people, it may not work as well for others. Journaling can be a variety of things. Jot down little things each day that make you happy, doodle/sketch, make a list of goals, print out pictures that make you happy and glue them in, keep a collection of inspirational quotes, keep a journal of memes that you can go back to when you need a laugh, and the list goes on. The beauty of journaling is that there is no right way or wrong way, it’s personal and individual, and doesn’t have to be consistent.

20. Seek professional help

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is accept that you need help, but everyone needs help once in a while and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

21. Take a day off

Call out of work for a mental health day; it’s totally acceptable once in a while. Don’t run errands or go to any appointments, just use the day to do some of the things on this list.

Photo courtesy of Pexels