In today's society, self care isn't always cheap. It can sometimes cause more stress (and even guilt) for spending the money on yourself. Just because you don't have the financial means, does not mean that your self care should take a back seat to your obligations. Here are a few ideas that can be added to your routine and won't burn a hole in your wallet.
1. Hiking. As long as you have comfortable clothes and shoes, this is a free activity. You can do this alone, or you can invite friends/family to join you. The beauty about hiking is that you can make it as long or as short of an activity as you would like. Some trails are an hour long, while others can be 4 hours long.
2. Movie night. Renting a cheap movie from your cable/online provider, or watching something you already have access to is a great way to get in some down time. Add in some inexpensive movie snacks and you have what used to be called a "blockbuster night".
3. Sing. There are so many free applications you can download and karaoke your heart out. You can also just put on some good music and sing a long.
4. Baking or cooking. As long as you have the necessary items in your kitchen, this can be free. If not, it can be rather inexpensive. Grab the ingredients and make whatever you're in the mood for - Cookies, breads, cakes, lasagna, casserole, pancakes, etc.
5. Spa day - at home. Polish, hair dyes, lotions, make up and face masks can be rather inexpensive if you go to the right place. Even if you are not a cosmetologist, you can still pamper yourself!
6. Reading. If you don't have any books you're interested in, you can rent a physical or digital copy for free from your library.
7. Drawing or coloring. There are so many free tutorials online if you are unsure how to draw. Coloring books and supplies are also easy to find at any arts and crafts store.
8. Working out. Gym memberships can be pricey, but there are ones out there that are relatively inexpensive. You can also go on a walk, or create your own prop free workout routine at home for free.
9. Taking pictures. Yes - this can be an expensive hobby. But if you're tight on cash, you can start with the camera on your phone or find a cheaper camera until you have the means to buy a professional camera.
10. Scrap-booking. This can also get expensive. But it doesn't have to be. Construction paper is a way cheaper option that the fancy ones you can buy at the store. You can also get sticker paper and print your own stickers for a cheaper option.
11. Stay-cation. If you can't afford to go on a vacation, you can still take the time off of work and relax at home. If you have some cash to spend, you can order food from an outside service and pretend it's room service. You can even do inexpensive touristy things that you don't typically get to do.
12. Meditation. Some people enjoy doing this at home, quietly. Other people enjoy doing this outside at a park. This is quiet time you give yourself to just be. It can last as little as 5 minutes, and some people can do this for an hour.
Self care does not have to be expensive. If these options do not work for you, they can at least give you an idea of where to begin. The thing to remember is to give yourself the time you need in order to do it. Self care comes in many shapes and sizes. Some people may feel better by being around people, while other people may need alone time to engage in self care. The first step is figuring out what works best for you at what times.