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10 Tips for Instant Self-Care on a Budget or Busy Schedule

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Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

When you need a self-care recharge, it can seem almost impossible if you don’t have one or both of these: time and money. The truth is, there are a number of hidden ways to get a little self-care boost each day, no matter what your money situation is or what your schedule is like. So, hold on to your time and your hard-earned cash. If you’ve been skipping out on a much-needed self-care fix, you don’t want to miss these tips:

1. Drink water first thing in the morning.

If you wake up feeling kind of sluggish and find it hard to get going, chances are you’re waking up a tad dehydrated. At least, that’s what dietician and diabetes educator Vandana Sheth believes. If you want to start your day out right, lead with hydration. This small self-care tip can have you feeling better faster than you can say “La Croix.” Drink up, but if you really want to hydrate well, skip the fizzy stuff for plain old water.

2. Think good thoughts.

Another morning habit that will help you recharge your mental battery is to focus on the positive. Get in the routine of doing something that makes you happy in the morning and helps you think upbeat thoughts. For some, this may be listing five things about the day that they are most looking forward to. The early hours of the morning can be an important time for self-care and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime or cut into the scheduled part of your day.

3. Unplug for a bit.

If you’re like me, a news alert on your phone can be enough to give you jitters. If your phone is blowing up faster than you can attend to it, or you’re easily distracted by pings and social vortexes that drain your time and energy, it may be time to unplug. This little act of self-care can go a long way, especially if you fill your downtime with something you enjoy like a quality outing with family or a cup of hot cocoa. Make it a great day by giving yourself permission to unplug, even if just for five minutes.

4. Relax with nature.

You know what doesn’t cost a dime and can be as time-consuming or quick as you want? Spending time with nature. I say spending time “with” nature, rather than “in” nature because this could be as simple as closing your office door for a few minutes to listen to the rain beat on the window, or as grand as, well, A Sunday on La Grande Jette. You get the picture.

5. Aromatherapy and meditation.

I know what you’re thinking: “But… aromatherapy is expensive!” The fact is, yeah, it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m definitely not suggesting you get in deep with a company slinging the latest in luxury scents for your home and office. Just sniff things that make you happy. This could be fresh flowers, herbs and cloves in a cloth bag or essential oils you made at home by infusing your favorite non-toxic herbs with olive oil. As far as meditating goes, it only takes a few moments of your day and a comfy chair. Make the magic happen!

6. Meal plan for health and reduced stress.

Raise your hand if you knew grocery shopping could be an act of self-care? When you start your shopping list with a meal plan, you save money on groceries and ensure that you and everyone in your care eats healthier. Healthy eating is a form of self-care, especially for people on the go. So, next time you’re stopped in the grocery store produce aisle looking for the perfect eggplant, toss a few affirmations your own way. You won’t regret it.

7. Dance with yourself.

Turning up the tunes and having an impromptu dance party-of-one can be an excellent, free form of self-care, and it doesn’t have to be very time-consuming. So, get those socks and sweatpants on the living room dance floor and turn up the Billy Idol; it’s time for the exercise you never knew you needed in your life.

8. Set an early bedtime.

When I haven’t made time for much self-care and I’m on a tight budget, sometimes I just turn in early. It should come as a surprise to no one that sleep is super important, and if you’re not getting enough of it, that could leave you feeling bad. A pervasive lack of sleep causes a whole slew of problems from dietary issues to problems with weight loss, depression, a correlation to heart disease and more. Don’t feel bad about winding down to get your snooze on; sometimes it’s just the inexpensive self-care technique you’ve been longing for.

9. Take that shower, unapologetically.

A small self-care tip that often goes overlooked, especially when it comes to busy people and parents, is to take a shower. Have you ever looked in the mirror, hair in a messy bun, and thought, “When was my last shower?” As a mom who has worked both in and out of the home, I’m not going to lie about it — I’ve been there. If you’re feeling a little grody, you’re definitely in need of self-care, and a 15-minute shower can answer the call.

10. Just say no.

Between work, friends, family, intimate relationships, parenting or whatever you have on your plate, a full schedule doesn’t leave much time for self-care. Sometimes you’ve got to tell people “no,” even if it means disappointing them. Don’t be afraid to gracefully bow out of Uncle Jordy’s football party or dinner with a friend you’ve been wanting to catch up with. Give yourself permission to take a rain check if it means you get a chance to deepen your connection with yourself in a way that’s required for balance in life. You can’t be a good friend or family member if you aren’t taking care of yourself first.

Lead Photo via Pixabay

Originally published: March 5, 2019
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