Often when we talk about self-care, it's easy to think only in terms of "treating" yourself. If you're on a tight budget or having financial worries, however, this mindset can be isolating and frustrating. That's why it's so important to know how to practice self-care on a budget. It's always good to remember that everyone's methods of self-care are different, and if some people choose to show themselves care by indulging in a fancy latte or taking another shopping trip to the mall, that is totally OK! But if those things aren't in your budget, you don't need to go without treating yourself — you just might need to approach it differently.
When it comes down to it, self-care isn't something that should be giving you more stress or putting you into a financial bind. Self-care is all about being flexible to your own specific needs and your own lifestyle. What works for other people may not be what works for you, and that's OK! If you are on a budget, you are still worthy of taking care of yourself and making yourself feel special and important. In fact, doing little things for yourself on a regular basis can make a huge difference when it comes to your self-esteem and self-confidence — two things that can have a major impact on your day-to-day health and happiness.
So, what are some ways to practice self-care when you're on a budget? Check out the list below for some starting points, and be sure to check out your area's free events and classes to find stuff in your own backyard.
1. Connect With People You Care About
Even the busiest among us can make time to connect with the people they care about. Whether or not you can see someone for a face-to-face catch-up session, you can still email, Facebook, call, or Skype. Heck, you can even write a letter for the price of a postage stamp and an envelope. The key is that by connecting to others, you can help strengthen your support system and remind yourself that you are loved and valued. It's also a great way to feel "present" in other people's lives, even if you live far away or are simply enormously busy.
2. Spend Time In Nature
If you live near a park or outdoor quad, this one is pretty easy to accomplish. Even if you live in an urban area that isn't super easy to walk around in, it's still worth it to devote some time to being outside. Just sitting on your front steps and breathing in some fresh air every evening can help calm your nerves from the day. If you want make some extra money while spending time in nature, you can also always look into dog-walking opportunities in your neighborhood, too.
3. Make Appointments For Your Health
Sometimes when our self-esteem suffers, we can let go of really important things we need for our health. If you've fallen behind on appointments — saym for a yearly physical, a dental exam, or so on —it's totally an act of self-care to call and schedule something. Of course, if you don't have insurance, this definitely isn't free, but it's worth looking up local deals and places in your area offer that income-based sliding scales for payment.
4. Use Your Library Card
As long as you have proof of residency, getting a library card tends to be pretty easy. Going to your local library gives you access to basically limitless books and even DVDS, CDs, board games, and more. And if you're without a computer or without internet access, libraries tend to have those available for patrons as well.
5. Cook Yourself A Meal You Love
Going out to eat is fun and delicious, but it can get expensive. It's a good thing it's both just as fun and less expensive to cook for yourself at home, right? A home-cooked meal can even make for a nice get-together with friends, if you ask everyone to contribute a dish. It can also be a good way to cook just for yourself and prep a few meals for the week, too.
6. Go To Discount Movie Nights
There are plenty of ways to score cheap movie tickets: Matinees tend to be cheaper, for example; if you have a student ID, you can generally get a lower rate on a ticket to begin with; and if you have a second-run theater nearby, you can catch that movie you missed when it was just released a little bit after the fact often for no more than a buck or two. Treating yourself to an afternoon at the movies is sometimes just what you need to escape from the stress of every day life for a few hours.
7. Clean And Organize Your Living Space
When life gets busy or stressful, it can become easy to fall behind on taking care of your home. Sometimes an act of self-care can mean cleaning your living space, throwing away junk, donating what you no longer use, and rearranging your furniture. If you're feeling like you're in a funk or craving change, rebooting a room can scratch that itch for something new without requiring you to by new items or look for a new place to live.
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