Self-care is one of the most important components of staying mentally and physically healthy; still, it's often misunderstood. When you think of "self-care", what do you think of? If trips to the spa or fancy gym memberships come to mind, you're not alone. There's a common misconception that taking better care of yourself has to cost money.
Fortunately, there are endless self-care practices that won't break the bank! So don't let financial concerns hold you back from taking care of your health with self-care practices. This article will explore free or low-cost self-care practices you can implement into your wellness routine right away.
6 Easy Self-Care Practices You Can Implement Today
Walking is one of the simplest yet most beneficial forms of self-care that can support your physical and mental health. Of course, walking offers many physical benefits, such as improved heart health and caloric burn, which helps maintain a healthy body weight. According to the Heart Foundation, just 30 minutes of walking per day can lower your risk of heart disease.
Physical movement by walking also helps support your mental health and wellness. Many people find that walking helps calm their anxiety and reduces stress. If weather permits, a simple walk outdoors is an easy way to practice self-care without costing anything. If you don't have outdoor space to walk or the weather is poor, walking around a store or a building can work too.
All you'll need is a pen and paper to start practicing daily journaling as part of your self-care routine. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you better manage stress and anxiety while grounding yourself. You can even keep track of your walking or doodle about what you're going through.
If you don't have a journal, try a free journaling app on your smartphone or tablet. A few examples of free journaling apps include My Diary and Daylio. Even just a few minutes of journaling daily can help you track your self-care journey and get in touch with your feelings.
3. Spending Time Outdoors
Did you know that simply spending time outdoors can go a long way in supporting your mental and emotional health? Research has suggested that spending time in nature has calming effects that can help manage stress and anxiety. Spending time outdoors is a free and easy self-care practice that anyone can implement.
Though working with a busy schedule can be difficult, aim to spend 20 to 30 minutes outside at least a few times per week. One way to implement this is by eating your lunch outdoors at a nearby park or picnic area. Searching for parks and recreational areas in your area can help you find free walking trails and nature areas, perfect for getting fresh air and sunshine.
4. Limit Screen Time
Today, the average adult spends over 6 hours a day on screen time. Between personal phones and computers at work, many adults spend a large chunk of their day viewing electronic screens. While technology has many benefits, it's essential to use it in moderation. Actively limiting your screen time can help support improved health and wellness.
Instead of spending more screen time after work, opt to participate in hands-on activities that support your self-care. A few examples include going for a run or spending time chatting with a loved one over dinner.
5. Read a Book
Reading is another great way to support a healthy self-care routine without spending much money. Check out a few books at your local library or buy used books at a local garage sale or thrift store. Reading can help you escape from feelings that can lead to stress and anxiety. In fact, one research study at the University of Sussex found that reading can help reduce stress levels.
Not only is reading a great activity for relieving stress, but it's also an effective way to keep your brain active. Reading helps invoke creativity and sharpen your mind. Whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction, picking up reading is an easy way to help support positive mental health.
6. Coloring or Drawing
Coloring is for adults too! According to the Mayo Clinic, coloring is an effective way to help calm the brain and help your body relax. Even better, coloring has been shown to help improve fatigue and support good sleep.
Many websites offer free and printable coloring pages for adults looking to give this self-care practice a shot. If you prefer to color electronically, check out free coloring apps on your smartphone or tablet. Some examples of coloring apps to try are Colorfly or Pigment. All that's left to do is to grab some crayons or colored pencils and get coloring!
Self-Care Doesn't Need To Be Expensive
With so many free options to practice self-care, there's no reason to hold back based on financial concerns. Practicing self-care can be done without spending a dime when you can enjoy free activities like spending time outdoors or journaling. Which self-care practice will you try?