I’ve never had a hard time taking care of myself until about a month ago.
My husband Austin has been sick with a mystery illness for quite a long time. It recently got a lot worse, right at the time when we bought a house after moving across the country. For a few weeks, he needed a whole lot of help.
While attempting to work, I was also the only one who could shop, cook, clean, do yard work, walk the dog, and everything else. Time and money were tight, which meant that I couldn’t pay to outsource anything and my time was limited. (Our situation has improved some, but not all the way, so I’m still dealing with all of this.)
“Tired” doesn’t begin cover how I was feeling. It’s hard to take care of yourself when all of your time and energy goes to taking care of an endless to do list.
Redefining “Self Care”
I realized what I needed was some solid self care. And when I say self care, I literally mean taking care of myself.
Over the last few years, self care has become a kind of buzzword/phrase associated with manicures, bubble baths, and spa treatments. While all of those things can be a form of taking care of yourself, I think a lot of us could benefit from getting down to even more basic forms of taking care of ourselves.
I found that some of the best self care can be cheap or even free. Plus, it doesn’t require a four hour block of free time. I hope you’ll add some of these cheap self care ideas to your day!
17 Cheap Self Care Ideas
1. Drink Water
I’ve become vigilant about keeping a water bottle by my side all day long. The second it becomes empty, or close to empty, I immediately fill it back up. Staying hydrated is a free and quick way to take care of myself.
2. Go to Bed Early (or at least on time)
Even though I’ve been exhausted, I still want to stay up late scrolling through Instagram or reading. It’s nice to have that time to veg out. But sleep is truly more important. I make sure I’m in bed a little early so I have a few minutes to read and then turn the lights out at a decent time.
3. Seek Silence
In the midst of the craziness, I have found myself craving silence. Turn off the TV, music, podcasts, or anything else and just let it be quiet for a bit. Silence can be extremely restorative.
Unfortunately, my usual workout routine went by the wayside for a few months, but I did keep walking (mostly because our dog Mozzie won’t let me skip his walks!). Fresh air and a little movement is a great way to get free self care.
5. Get Fully Ready for the Day
Some people may consider staying in their PJs all day to be the best form of self care, but for me, I feel so much better when I get up on time, take a shower, get dressed, and do my hair. Each day feels much more manageable when I’m fully ready for it.
6. Listen to an Uplifting Podcast
I love that uplifting words are so easy to access with podcasts! While I walk or do chores around the house, I’m usually listening to something positive! A few of my favorites are The Life Coach School Podcast and Happier with Gretchen Rubin.
7. Use Grocery Pickup
One of the first free self care things I did when Austin got sick was start using Walmart’s grocery pickup and I’m so in love with it! It saves me an hour of my time and so much energy because I don’t have to go into the store at all to get our groceries! If you’re new to Walmart Grocery pickup, you can get $10 off your first order with this link!
8. Take Your Meds & Vitamins
It’s so simple, but in making sure Austin takes all of his meds and vitamins, there have been times when I forgot to take mine!
9. Shower & Shave
I can’t stand feeling gross and grungy, so I don’t skip showers. I feel much more able to handle each day when I’m clean!
10. Wear a Clean, Comfy Outfit
I don’t feel good about myself if I stay in my PJs all day. That doesn’t mean that I’m super dressed up though. Each day I put on a clean outfit that usually consists of leggings and a sweatshirt. It’s not fancy, but it’s clean and I feel good.
11. Chores Power Hour
A lot of self care advice tells you to let your household chores go for a while, but honestly, that just makes me feel super overwhelmed because I know it’s all going to have to get done at some point. Staying on top of housework has been an important way that I take care of myself mentally. Living in a clean, tidy, taken care of house where there are clean clothes to wear makes me feel good!
If you’re overwhelmed, do a chores power hour where you turn on a great podcast and zip through as many chores as you can in an hour.
12. Take Deep Breaths or Meditate
To take care of myself, I try to remember to take deep breaths often. It helps me relax. I also like meditating with the Headspace app to get my mind off of everything going on around me.
13. Put on Perfume
Good smells make me happy! Even if I’m just home alone, I like to put on my favorite perfume.
14. Take a Nap
Even just 30 minutes of laying down and closing my eyes can give me strength and energy for the rest of the day.
15. Put Your Phone in the Next Room
Me and my phone can each benefit from some alone time 🙂 It’s such a reflex to grab it and scroll through Instagram — I can end up wasting 20 minutes so easily! I like to leave my phone in another room for a while because I can relax a little better without my screen. I can still hear if I get a call or text, but I get a nice break.
16. Eat a Healthy Snack
Stress makes me want to eat all the donuts! And fried chicken. Take care of yourself by eating a healthy snack! My go-to healthy snack is nuts and a piece of fruit.
17. List 3 Things You’re Grateful for Today
Take care of your mind by remembering everything good in each day. Austin and I each list three things we’re grateful for at the end of each day — and they have to be specific to that day, not big general things like family or food.
Once I defined self care as doing things to take care of myself, I realized that there were a lot of free or cheap things that I could do each day.
It’s not really about spoiling or treating myself. It’s more about making sure I am as rested and healthy as possible, which sometimes means going to bed early and sometimes means I use grocery pickup so that I can conserve my time and energy for other things.
Which of these cheap self care ideas can you do today?
I’d love to know how you define self care and what free or cheap self care ideas you have! Leave a comment and let me know.