5 Tips For Practicing Self-Care For Free

In a world where we're all really, really busy, taking time for ourselves to practice self-care can feel like an impossible task. While self-care varies from person to person, and there's no wrong or right way to go about it, it can feel extra hard to prioritize when you're low on money. Luckily, there are tons of free ways to practice self-care, because while indulgences at the local spa or nice meals out can definitely be awesome forms of self-care, those options are simply not in everyone's budget all the time.

Depending on your priorities, there are tips for self-care for your mental health, for your physical health, or even to change your life completely. Basically, depending on what your starting point is, you may already practice good balance and self-care in your daily life, or you might be putting your own needs totally on the back burner. No matter what place you're at, there is always room to evaluate your life and see where you can be a little kinder to yourself.

Here are my favorite tips for awesome and free ways you can incorporate more self-care into your daily routine. Your happiness is always worth it.

1. Get Some Fresh Air

Seriously: Do not underestimate the importance of getting fresh air. Even if your job involves you working outside, it's still possible that you're not spending enough time just taking in nature and your surroundings. It's hugely important to ground yourself and appreciate where you are at any given moment, because days can feel like they're flying by if we're not taking in the details of our worlds. If you enjoy exercise, take it outside! It's also cool to bring a blanket and sky-gaze for a while, or have a picnic with friends on a nice afternoon. While Netflix in bed is awesome, it's also important to get outside and spend some quality time with Mother Earth.

2. Revamp Your Living Space

As we're approaching this as totally for free, shopping for decor or new furniture is probably out of the question (unless you take advantage of cool local offerings through services like Freecycle). However, there's a lot you can do to give your living space fresh life just by rearranging a few things. Whether you have a bedroom or an entire living space to yourself, I strongly suggest rearranging your furniture to best suit your needs. Ideally, your space should be functional and a reflection of who you are and the style you enjoy. This is also a nice opportunity to go through all of your old stuff and use it as "new" decor to freshen up your space, or toss it into a donation pile to keep the good spirits going.

3. Keep A Mood Journal

If you haven't made it a point to practice self-care in a while, it's possible you've lost touch with your moods a bit. Of course, depending on where you're starting from, you may feel like your moods are pretty good and stable to begin with, which is awesome. Even so, it never hurts to dedicate some time each day to sit down and take note of your moods and emotions throughout the day. It's valuable to evaluate your choices (as well as the actions of others) and reflect on how they specifically make you feel, and if it's a not-so-great reaction, it may be worth brainstorming how to work on that. It's also worth knowing where your moods may rise or fall over a longer period of time to establish if there's a correlation between seasons, your workload, when you see your family, and so on.

4. Visit An Animal Shelter

Arguably, if you're not actually close to an animal shelter, this one could end up costing you a bit in travel, but if you are within walking distance of one, please go! Studies show that spending time with animals can be great for elevating mood and alleviating stress and depression. Even if you aren't planning to adopt, shelter animals benefit from human interaction. Visiting an animal shelter can also be a fun activity to do with your friends if you're all trying to keep costs down, as well.

5. Prioritize Sleep

OK, so I realize prioritizing sleep doesn't sound exciting, but if you're looking for a way to practice self-care, getting enough sleep is a true necessity. If you go without sleep, you risk seriously damaging your body, never mind negatively effecting your own work and productivity. While the National Sleep Foundation recommends getting between seven and nine hours of sleep per night for adults, studies show that the 40 percent of Americans get below the minimum amount of sleep hours per night. There are tons of cool apps to help you sleep better at night, as well as apps that help you monitor your sleep cycle.

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