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Self Care on a Budget: 7 No-Cost Activities to Recharge and Boost Your Mental Health

Raise your hand if you feel overwhelmed sometimes. Keep your hand up if you feel

like you can barely catch a moment of peace between work obligations, family responsibilities and social functions, and you’re feeling a little burnt out.


Self Care comes at a cost. But it doesn’t have to.

You have some choices here… you can continue on, trudging through our to-do list until you snap one day in a way that catches even yourself off guard, or you can take a bit of time to do something about it.


I choose the latter.


young lady sitting on a orange boho blanket holding dried baby's breath flowers beside a picnic basket

We all hear cute little phrases like “self care”, “me time”, “momma moments”, and the like. These terms have been thrown around more and more frequently lately as the world has become all too hectic. They instantly bring to mind (for me at least) images of massages, spa days, and other expensive retreats and days of pampering. Honestly, yes, I would love this, but neither my budget nor my schedule allows for lavish disconnect times like that.


So what’s a girl to do?


How To Take A "Spa Day" without the Credit Card

It’s hard to just throw my hands up and allow myself moments of … nothing. I feel selfish, lazy, or that I’m disappointing someone by delaying things I really need to do. But it’s necessary. Even just an hour of shutting off the world around me and focusing on ME, is usually all I need to recharge. One single hour of time to myself and I can return to my family, my boss, and my to- do list, and I’m better and even more productive.


And, with these helpful tips, you don’t have to spend a dime! That’s in everyone’s budget!

Keep reading! This is not your typical list!


1. Housework?

Spend some time cleaning your bedroom. Wait, what? That’s housework and doesn’t sound very self-care-ish. Bear with me. Focus on what the bedroom is actually supposed to be. It’s a place to rest. Change your sheets. Light a candle. Arrange your pillows just so. If you’re doing these tasks because you have it in your head that you are creating a sanctuary,

a safe space to relax and unwind, a place to disconnect, you might actually appreciate the fact that you are actually doing this for YOU. Now, go ahead and crawl under those fresh clean sheets and blankets, even if it is in the middle of the day. Close your eyes and smell that favorite candle burning on top of your dresser. You’ve just created a little spa retreat area for yourself in your own home. The rest of the house can come later. Just enjoy the fact that this space, right here, is for you alone. For this moment anyway.


close up of a woman's hand with beaded  bracelets burning sage over a candle
You’ve just created a little spa retreat area for yourself in your own home.

2. Scroll Pinterest.

Yes, usually these articles tell you to set your phone down in another room and avoid social media. Not this one! Open the app and search for a great recipe. Look for inspiration for a new craft project. Be inspired by beautiful boho décor topics. Search for new books to read. Pinterest is literally filled with millions of ways to escape for a moment, to

dream and be inspired. Have fun with it. Be inspired!


3. Treat Yourself To A Treat

Since you maybe just scrolled the magic dreamland that is Pinterest, go ahead and make a new recipe. If you have the ingredients in your pantry, try that brownie or cookie recipe and treat yourself.

picnic basket with scones arranged on a marble cutting board and a bowl of oranges beside it

4. Closet Therapy

Get dressed up… for no reason! Even if you’re not leaving the house, put on that fancy dress hanging in the back of your closet that only sees the light of day once a year. You know

how you feel so pretty when you put it on? Why not feel pretty on a random Tuesday for no one other that yourself. Who cares if no one sees you? YOU see you. And yours is the only opinion that really matters anyway.


5. Call a friend

An actual PHONE CALL. Not a text message. Dial the digits of your bestie and have a good old-fashioned girl talk session. Laugh with your gal pal. Be corny and silly.

three women giggling and lounging around a record player

6. Take care of your plants

Like, really spend some time with your green babies. Love on them. Clean off the leaves. Pluck off the dead crunchies. Tell them they’re pretty. Studies have shown that touching and connecting with nature, even if it’s in a pot in your home, stimulates dopamine production and actually makes you happier.


7. Go for a walk

It doesn’t have to be a long, strenuous hike. Just a leisurely stroll around the block is enough. As my mom used to say “go get the stink blown off you”. Fresh air and sunshine does wonders to calm the mind and relax the spirit.

close up of woman in frayed jeans from knees-down walking in dark green grass

There’s seven things that I do on the regular that really do help me to come back to myself. Even the things on here that seem like tasks are a little different if I set my mind in the right place while doing them. I have to make my bed anyway, why not accomplish it with intention. I need to water the plants, but if I take a pause to appreciate their beauty, it’s therapeutic and calming.


I have to make my bed anyway, why not accomplish it with intention.

Self care is really about mindset for me. It’s not about spending money or going somewhere else to unwind and be catered to, although those things are great, don’t get me wrong. But what about appreciating the free or low-cost things? They can be just as relaxing and rewarding as any spa, massage or retreat.


Now, excuse me while I get up and go for a little 10 minute walk. I’m worth it. And so

are you.

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