Self-care means dropping $300 on a spa day with your besties, right? Well, not necessarily. You might’ve seen self-care linked with costly massages, tropical vacations, and shopping sprees, but the truth is that it just means making time for yourself on a daily basis. Here are some simple and totally free ways to be a self-care expert every day.
1. Read a library book
Chances are, you have a library card collecting dust in your wallet. Rather than buying a new book you might throw out in a couple of months, make use of that card. Studies suggest that reading can lower stress, delay memory loss, and even increase empathy.
2. Have a bath—without expensive bath bombs
Instead of crafting an Instagram-worthy bath with actual rose petals, use some all-natural bath ingredients you probably have lying around. (Think Epsom salts or ground oats.) Put on your most calming Spotify playlist, light a candle, and just chilllll.
3. Whip up a homemade face mask
This nourishing honey mask is an awesome choice for hydrating your skin during the dryer fall and winter months.
4. Take a 20-minute nap
Napping could make you more energetic and creative—but there’s a catch. You should really nap the right way.
5. Take a 15-minute walk in nature
Research shows that being outside can seriously boost energy, well-being, and vitality. Bonus points if you can fit in a walk during your (probably pretty sedentary) workday!
6. Get a bit crafty
Sewing, doodling, or coloring could be your secret calling as a self-care expert.
7. Diffuse some lavender essential oil
It’s blissfully floral, earthy, and calming. Adding a drop of lavender essential oil to your pillow could also help you drift off faster.
8. Actually remember to take your supplements
You’ll feel like a champ for the rest of the day, promise. If you’re not sure which basic supplements to start with, here’s how to choose the best supplements for you.
9. Listen to a podcast or try a meditation app
Either option will likely make you feel calmer and more productive than scrolling through your Instagram feed.
10. Make yourself a fresh cup of tea
Or coffee or a smoothie or a fancy matcha latte. Whatever you’d otherwise buy at a coffee shop!
11. Water your plants (or do some gardening)
Plants are amazing mood boosters, and their presence may even boost productivity (desk cactus, anyone?). Here are seven indoor plants that make A+ natural air fresheners.
12. Say no to something like a self-care expert
Do you really need to go to your cousin’s best friend’s birthday get-together? Saying no can be tough, but your well-being may benefit. Just think of the extra time and energy you’ll have if you refrain from saying yes to every request from friends, family, co-workers, and random acquaintances.
13. Calm your body and mind with conscious breathing
How are you breathing right now? Most of us have busy lives that lead to constant shallow breathing. Deep, conscious breathing for even a few minutes each day, on the other hand, can bring peace and relaxation.
14. Call someone you care about
A 15-minute chat with your mom about nothing in particular? Instant mood booster.
15. Eat your favorite treat—super slowly
It’s so easy to eat on the run: grabbing a muffin on your way out the door, wolfing down lunch at your desk, et cetera. Eating slowly could not only improve your digestion (because you’re more likely to listen to your body’s satiety cues), but also help you truly appreciate each delicious bite.
16. Spend 15 minutes stretching
Gentle stretching can seem less important than high-intensity exercise, but it’s awesome for improving flexibility and decreasing injury risk.
17. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual
Because really, isn’t giving your body more time to recharge the ultimate form of self-care?