Self-care is defined as an activity that is meant to improve or take care of your mental, physical, or emotional health.
Doing this can not only improve your happiness, but can improve your relationships, career, family, and everyday life.
I struggle with my mental and physical health at times, so self-care is a big part of my life. I used to completely neglect myself, and now I’m a priority. Your self-care will be different from someone else’s. Get started by finding out what relieves your stress and makes you happy by starting with some of the tips below!
Below are 25 ways to practice self-care for free or cheap.
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1. Find a job that makes you happy
We spend the majority of our lives working, which is why it’s crucial to spend time at a job that gives you happiness.
You could try becoming a:
2. Read these 2 books
You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero was the first personal development book I’ve ever read and it is i n c r e d i b l e.
If you think personal development and self-care is a bunch of woo-woo crap, this is the first book you need to read.
You will eventually fall in love with self-help and self-care.
Aside from eating healthy and exercising, skincare is another great way to take care of your body.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so it’s especially important to take care of.
To best take care of your skin, dermatologists recommend:
- use a daily cleanser in the morning and evening
- daily serum in the morning
- daily moisturizer
- apply sunscreen (at least 30SPF) 30 minutes before heading outdoors
To save money on skincare, cosmetics, groceries (and many other things) I recommend using Ibotta, a cashback app that actually works. You even get $10 in your account by signing up here.
4. Time management
Creating good time management practices doesn’t mean filling your day with more tasks, but instead limiting what you do to certain things to simplify your life.
Instead of working hard, you can work smarter.
Here are tips for better time management:
- time blocking
- creating a calendar ahead of time of your day, week, and month
- answer emails only once a day
- use social media only at night for a limited amount of time
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5. Design Your Dream Life
Are you a fan of personal development? Do you enjoy bettering yourself and constantly improving?
I recommend Grow You, a life coaching membership with Natalie Bacon. It’s a personal development membership for your brain. Life coaching helped me take my business to a whole new level, and more importantly, helped me realize how much control I have in my life and I can say I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for life coaching.
Grow You goes over topics like processing emotions, physical health and eating habits, decluttering, self-confidence, anxiety, money, goals, productivity, and relationships. Life coaching is actually a lot of fun (especially if you love personal development) and the best gift you can give yourself.
6. Find a new favorite hobby
Do you find yourself just going to work and then coming home to watch television until you fall asleep?
Or maybe it’s the exact opposite, you have little to no time at all for yourself and you’re constantly spending time taking care of your family.
Even just 30 minutes a day focusing on you time can make a huge impact on your happiness.
Some great hobbies are:
- learning a new language
- cooking ($5 Meal Plan is perfect for people who want to eat healthy, save time and money, and get meal plans straight to you)
Becoming proficient at a new skill can boost your confidence and overall happiness.
7. Ditch guilt
Do you feel guilty about certain things?
Maybe it’s a purchase you enjoy every day, such as a $6 Starbucks Peppermint Mocha.
Think about why you feel guilty and change your thoughts around that guilt.
Does that drink give you happiness? Improve your overall day? Then spend that $6 on the Peppermint Mocha.
It’s worth it to you which is enough reason to make that purchase.
8. Eat a meal by yourself
There’s something so incredible about eating a meal by yourself.
I remember one day I really wanted to go to this restaurant and all my friends were at work or busy.
So I just went!
I’m not going to lie, I was really scared and kept wondering what people were going to think about me.
The experience was freeing, made me more independent, and now one of my favorite things to do is spend time by myself, eating my favorite meal at a restaurant.
9. Become generous without expecting anything in return
Do you feel that you are generous, but feel like you have to tell someone about your generosity or expect something in return?
If so, this isn’t necessarily the way you should go about being generous.
Give without expecting anything in return and you will feel even better than if you were to expect something back. This is one my favorite things I learned in Design Your Dream Life.
P.S. Sign up below for the FREE ultimate financial planner that includes printables like: debt tracker, income tracker, annual budget summary, savings challenges, financial goals, and debt thermometers!
10. Learn to say no
This is another important strategy I learned in Design Your Dream Life.
Do you feel obligated to say yes to everything?
Any time someone asks you out for a drink, dinner, or some other event?
Even if you don’t want to?
Learning to say no is a huge way to better your self-care because you’re focusong on more time for you and the things that matter to you.
11. Self-care Instagrammers
I’ve found your new favorite Instagram: @positivelypresent
All of her artwork is created by her and is insanely a m a z i n g.
Follow her on IG and wake up to daily feel-good messages.
Positively Present also has her own website where you can buy her art prints. They are incredible.
12. Spend more time with family
Growing up I took advantage of family time. And then I had the brutal realization that a family member can leave or pass away at any moment.
Because of this, I believe family time is incredibly valuable.
Make time for vacations, family dinners, and any other special events.
And if you don’t have much family (like me) develop a family in a community you are passionate about.
This could be your church, volunteer group, work, and many other things.
13. Keep a clean house
Do you wake up to a messy house every day? This can lead to a lot of stress and cause you to become overwhelmed.
There are even studies that say making your bed every day and can lead to a feeling of accomplishment at the very beginning of the day.
An organized environment can help you feel positive and your mental state can benefit from that.
Less clutter = more room to focus on things that matter.
This book will help you simplify your life, your house, and only keeping things that spark joy in your life.
14. Eat more plant-based foods
Plant-based foods generally have more fruits and veggies in the recipes, which is what we need more of.
These foods are filled with vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients we need in our every day lives.
But I Could Never Go Vegan was my first vegan cookbook and it’s filled with delicious recipes!
My favorite recipe in the book is a peanut butter cup recipe (that is SO easy to make).
If you aren’t a fan of cookbooks, there are thousands of plant-based recipes on Pinterest.
15. Get your money right
Managing your finances and getting organized can be tremendous for your self-care.
Read the following:
- 31 Days To Transform Your Money Challenge
- Download the free printables in the free printable library
I love to make money because it gives me the kind of lifestyle I want to live.
16. Walk outside & listen to a podcast simultaneously
One of my favorite things to do in my free time is listening to a personal development podcast and walk outside.
My top personal development podcasts are:
If you walk your dogs and while you go for a walk with your dog, listen to coaches who will help you grow your mind, business, relationships, and money.
17. Have more sex
It’s natural, good for your body, and a great way to connect with the one you love.
Having more sex can boost your immune system, improve your relationship, reduce stress, and has many other health benefits as well.
18. Shut off your phone and read a book
Do you go to bed staring at your phone until you eventually fall asleep?
Me too. And it doesn’t feel good.
This is why I recommend finding a great book (whether it be fiction or non-fiction) and relaxing your mind.
I’m personally on a Harry Potter kick at the moment (I just bought the Harry Potter series) and I love falling asleep to this.
Plus, the light from your phone keeps you awake longer and makes it even harder to fall asleep, disrupting your sleep patterns.
19. Set sleep patterns
Speaking of sleep, make sure to prioritize your sleep time by getting 8 hours of sleep each night.
If you need to be up at 6AM, you should be asleep by 10PM.
iPhones have a free sleep timer in the clock app under “Bedtime”.
There’s also free Android apps that do the same.
With this free service, you can set bedtime and wake hours each day, giving you a reminder when to be in bed and when to wake up.
Whenever I have trouble sleeping, I drink a “Bedtime Tea” with natural ingredients like organic Chamomile Flower and Cinnamon.
20. Take a bath in the evening
Light a candle, dim the lights and throw in some bath bombs.
When I don’t have a bath bomb, I sprinkle in Dr. Teals bath salts (usually the lavender aroma) which helps soothe my sore muscles from working out.
21. Take a short nap
A 20-minute nap is the perfect amount of sleep in the middle of the day. Your body and mind will be reset.
Any longer and you’ll wake up feeling groggy and even more tired than you were to begin with.
I recommend setting an alarm once you lay down for 30 minutes later.
Even if you don’t fall asleep, at least you’ll close your eyes and get some rest in.
22. Watch a hilarious movie or documentary
Some of my go-to feel good and hilarious movies are:
An easy way to find places in need of volunteers is by:
Usually, any animal shelter is in need of volunteers, as well as homeless shelters, clean-up crews, and more.
Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and also makes you feel good that you are contributing in a positive way to the world.
24. Create a schedule
To save time and have a more structured and organized day, plan your schedule in advance.
Creating a schedule or “time blocking” allows you to get the most done in your day.
Time blocking is essentially setting out a certain amount of time for 1 task and moving onto another task once the time block ends.
I recommend using Google Calendar (free) or you can use a planner.
I’ve been using the Productivity Planner in conjunction with Google Calendar and it’s been a gamechanger.
25. Clean out your Facebook and Instagram
Scrolling through social media is generally a time suck.
You can waste hours throughout each day just by scrolling through Facebook and Instagram.
To get away from this, I recommend muting profiles on Instagram.
You can do this by clicking on someone’s profile, pressing the 3 dots on the top right-hand corner, and muting them. You even have the option to mute both stories and photos.
For Facebook, you can unfollow people and still be friends with them.
➡️ What to read next: 10 Personal Development Books That Can Change Your Life
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What’s your go-to self-care tip?
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