So, yes, this is coming from a consummate caffeine addict, but a favorite self-care moment of mine is buying a cup of coffee, often from Starbucks (I'm sorry, but those red cups are too aesthetically pleasing to pass up), and taking time to just, like, sit. Sounds boring, I know, but carving out moments in my life for stillness helps me to remain feeling balanced. Starting today, I have a new thing to indulge in: The Starbucks Latte Macchiato. The related question on most peoples' minds is, of course,"Sounds great, but how much does the new Starbucks Latte Macchiato cost?" Right?
The problem I run into again and again when developing a self-care routine is that so many of the elements cost money. And I do not have a whole lot of money. Ever. Yes, there are a lot of self-care things that are free and not materialistic, and I'm not discounting them — but to be honest, I like pretty things. I like nice-looking, aesthetically-pleasing things. A good nail polish color. A red coffee cup. A new pair of earrings that make me feel like Amy Adams in American Hustle.
The good news, my fellow glitter addicts, is that a tall Latte Macchiato costs less than $5, no matter where in the United States you purchase it. According to a Starbucks spokesperson, the aforementioned 12-ounce caffeinated beverage varies in price depending on the market you're in — but the range falls between $3.75 and $4.25.
We can do $5, even if it's just once a week, or once a month, or once a year. $5 is not overwhelmingly scary. And not only that, but the Latte Macchiato is also not the only thing under $5 that can bring a little bright spot to your day. Here are six more.
1. A Journal
$1.75 each, Dangbat
Growing up, I romanticized the idea of keeping a journal or a diary, and I tried literally every form: A "Dear Diary," a third-person narration of my life, a fictionalized account of the fourth grade, an overdramatic account of the fourth grade, and an anthropological field guide to surviving school with bifocals and buckteeth. Nothing stuck. Recently, I've begun using a journal to download my thoughts after a tough day, and for the first time in my life, I can actually see why people do this stuff.
2. Thank You Jar
Free, because you've probably got a jar full of something in your kitchen that you can rinse out, sanitize, and reuse once it's empty.
Grab a jar, any kind of jar, and at some point during each day, find time to write down one thing on a slip of paper that you're grateful for. By the end of the year, you'll have a visible, tangible collection of reasons why you're here.
3. The Mindfulness App
$2.99 for iPhone/$1.99 for Android
Meditation is scientifically proven to lower stress levels, bring about a sense of calm, and ease anxiety. The Mindfulness app, designed to introduce users to the practice of daily meditation, provides you with a huge collection of guided meditation from some of the top experts in the field.
4. Nail Polish
$1.99 each, CVS and Walgreens
This is your body — why not decorate it? Sinful Colors, which are sold at CVS and Walgreens, cost $1.99 each and come in a wide array of super neons and sparkles. When my nails looks good (or at least very, very bright and glittery), I feel more put together. And when I feel more put together, I do things like go grocery shopping and buy green stuff. Which is the most basic self-care thing of them all, because I need food to live.
5. A Walk
I'm an extrovert. I like being around other humans. I need it — I crave it — but sometimes, there are moments when I really, really need to take a walk alone. Doesn't matter where, doesn't matter the weather. I just need to get outside and move my legs, and by the time I make it back to my front door, I'm feeling more like myself again.
$4.93, Sacred Elephant
When I consider my bedroom a sort of sanctuary, where I can decompress and lounge and daydream, it creates a little patch of calm in my brain. Incense, which smells amazing and also looks very cool and glamourous, is an easy (and inexpensive) fix.