In today's uber-connected world, taking care of yourself often feels like the last thing you have time for. With eleventy-million commitments and no cash to spare, spending a day at the spa is an elusive dream. However, there are some old fashioned self-care tips you can still use today that don't require a lot of time or money. While self-care seems synonymous with emptying your bank account for a facial, there's plenty of tried and true things you can do at home without going into debt (including giving yourself a facial). If you're rolling your eyes right now, I totally get it. I too used to shun self-care because I didn't have time, didn't deserve it, insert excuse here. However, when you fail to take care of yourself, you're inviting in stress, anxiety, and exhaustion. And, you really don't need anymore of that.
Self-care doesn't necessarily mean buying into the latest trend. It can be as simple as slowing down to do something you enjoy. "It’s the music I play while commuting to work. It’s the dish I attempt to make without a recipe with jazz softly playing in the background. It’s the phone call I make to a faraway friend, just to say hello and catch up," Ph.D. student Megha Pulianda wrote for Psychology Today. "It’s the request I make for help without feeling like a burden or ashamed because I am acknowledging my human existence and my need for support." Basically, self-care can be easy. And, if you feel like you're reaching the end of your physical and emotional rope, these old fashioned self-care can help you relax and recharge.
1. Read An Actual Book
I'm one of those throwback people who still prefers old-fashioned books to e-readers. And, reading can actually help reduce stress, increase empathy, and make you live longer, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola's blog. "When you read, your mind is distracted from everyday worries and anxiety, while your muscles tend to relax. In addition, research shows reading leads to improvements in brain function, including significant increases in connectivity that persist for several days after the reading takes place." If you need some ideas for a good book to get lost in, check out recommendations from actor and bibliophile Emma Roberts, who started the book website Belletrist.
2. Enjoy A Warm Drink
While you're curled up with that good book, make yourself something to warm to drink. Whether it's tea, hot chocolate, or a hot toddy, warm drinks have myriad health and wellness benefits. In fact, a study published in the journal Science noted that warm drinks can even make you more friendly. What's more, the kind of mug you choose to put your warm drink in can also have an effect on just how good that drink makes you feel. Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, assistant professor at the Marketing and Consumer Behavior department at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, told the Guardian that a heavier mug makes your warm drink feel more therapeutic.
3. Take A Nap
Once you start adulting, you likely regret shunning all of the those naps as a kid. Now that you're a grown-ass woman, it's time to reclaim naps because aside from being satisfying AF, they're also really good for you. "Several recent studies, here and abroad, have linked midday naps to improvements in cognitive function," the University of California, Berkley, reported on its wellness blog. "Researchers from the University of Düsseldorf in Germany, for instance, reported that short naps — some as little as six minutes — significantly improved memory." Personally, I love a good nap, especially under a warm blanket. Seriously, is there anything better?
4. Eat Real Food
When you're busy pretending to adult, it can be tempting to shovel in some Taco Bell instead of feeding yourself a good hearty meal. However, slowing down to nurture your body can go a long way in making sure you feel cared for. "Eating is one of the core physical components to self-care, because it literally is nurturing our bodies to exist," Lindsay Sparks, RDN, wrote for Well Seek. "We can’t live very long without enough food or water." The other night, when it was a chilly 40 degrees in Los Angeles, I had a sudden desire for pie. I went out and got myself one, heated it up in the oven, and topped it with vanilla ice cream. While I didn't make the pie myself, treating myself to this comfort food felt pretty damn good, and it reminded me of the apple pie my grandma used to make me for my birthday.
5. Give Yourself A Massage
While a massage is something you most likely outsource, you can also practice self massage. In Ayurveda, an ancient mind-body health practice, massaging yourself with oils is called Abhyanga. "It is believed that the effects of Abhyanga are similar to those received when one is saturated with love," Sandhiya Ramaswamy wrote for the Chopra Center. "Like the experience of being loved, Abhyanga can give a deep feeling of stability and warmth."
How often you should practice a self massage with oils depends on your dosha (three mind-body energy types), and you can take a quiz if you don't know yours. Ramaswamy recommended that those with a vata dosha should practice self massage four-to-five times a week with almond or sesame oil. Pittas are advised to engage in oil massage three-to-four times a week with coconut or sunflower oil. And, kaphas should self massage one-to-two times a week with safflower oil. You can even watch an instructional video from the Chopra Center about how to get the most benefits from practicing Abhyanga.
6. Meditate, Seriously, It Works
Along with expensive self-care trends, meditation is also regularly touted as the solution to all of your problems. While it's not going to fix your life, meditation can help you relax, and it doesn't have to be complicated. Nasty Women like Hillary Clinton and Lady Gaga regularly use meditation to calm down. Because, it works. Meditation can be as simple as lying down and repeating a calming mantra, doing breathing exercises, or listening to a guided meditation.
You can find guided meditations pretty much everywhere. From apps, to YouTube, to Amazon's Alexa Pure Leaf Tea House Meditations, meditation is accessible to everyone from beginners to advanced practitioners. I meditated every day for a month and it really did help reduce my anxiety and make me feel less dark and twisty. Truth be told, I am the world's biggest skeptic, and more often than not, my own worst enemy. If it worked for me, it can work for anyone.
7. Go For A Walk
Humans spend 87 percent of their time indoors, and another 6 percent of their time in cars, according to a study published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology. And, not getting outside enough can make you feel stressed, agitated, and exhausted. Well my friendlies, it's time to get up and go for a walk. If you need convincing, consider this: a study by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, found that walking can give your mental health a much-needed boost.
"This finding is exciting because it demonstrates the impact of nature experience on an aspect of emotion regulation — something that may help explain how nature makes us feel better," lead author Gregory Bratman, a graduate student in Stanford’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, told Stanford News. Additionally, walking is also a form of meditation so just by using your getaway sticks to stroll around the block you can kill two self-care birds with one stone.
8. Turn Off Your Technology
In the olden days, before technology took over our lives, people took the phone off the hook when they didn't want to be disturbed. You too can take part in this simple act of self-care. Power down your phone and turn off your Wi-Fi for a couple of hours while you're reading a book in the bath with a hot drink. Being connected every second of every day is a big contributor to stress and anxiety. By simply unplugging for a bit you can help dial it down. And, if you have FOMO, don't worry. All of those non-urgent texts will still be there when you reconnect. If you've been coming up with reasons not to participate in self-care, you're officially out of excuses because most of these old fashioned self-care practices are free and don't require a big time commitment. Come on, embrace taking care of yourself. Because, you totally deserve to put yourself first.