Feb 14, 2019 « Back to The Skinny
Taking time for ourselves helps us meet our vital needs. But in a world where bath bombs, face masks, and meditation app subscriptions are trendy, it can feel like practicing self-care means spending money.
Here’s the thing: you don’t need to spend money to de-stress. There are plenty of healthy, no-cost ways to rest and recharge. Here are seven of our favorite free ways to practice self-care.
1. Have a private dance party
No really, turn on your favorite music and dance like no one’s watching. Moderate to intense physical activity releases endorphins—“feel-good” chemicals in your brain that relieve stress and pain. Plus, getting your groove on is more fun than time on the treadmill.
Related Blog: Everyone Can Exercise
Go for a walk. Getting your heart rate up, even a little, helps you clear your head. Plus, spending time outdoors reduces stress and anxiety. If you don’t have outdoor access, don’t worry. Walking indoors is still beneficial. And you can always recreate that outdoorsy feeling by listening to nature sounds. (Like the ones in this video!)
3. Soak the stress away
Draw a hot bath. Immersing yourself in hot water allows tense muscles to relax and stiff joints to loosen. Add Epsom salts to boost relaxation or coconut oil to soften your skin. Or sprinkle in torn mint leaves for a refreshing feel.
4. Press snooze on a stressful day
Take a nap. Resting for 15 to 20 minutes improves your energy levels and attention span while 90-minute catnaps boost your memory and creativity. Just make sure to set your alarm. Snoozing for longer than 20 but less than 90 minutes might leave you feeling a little groggy. If you do wake up feeling a bit muddled, no worries. You’re still reaping those nap-tacular benefits.
5. Laugh it up
It’s cliché, but laughter really can be the best medicine. Laughing lowers stress hormones and helps strengthen your immune system. So, find what makes YOU laugh. Turn on some stand-up (find free comedy on YouTube), search for “funny stories” and click what tickles your fancy, or laugh out loud to this epic list of cake fails.
6. Enlist the help of furry friends
There’s a study that suggests watching cute animal videos can help you de-stress. So, type “cute animal videos” into YouTube’s search engine and let puppies, kittens, and other adorable animals whisk you off to relaxation land. And if you have a furry friend, set aside some snuggle time. Doing so will help you feel less anxious and lower your blood pressure!
7. Lose yourself in a book
Diving into a good book is like taking a trip to another world—a world without chores, bills, and looming deadlines (your own, anyway). Reading fiction reduces anxiety and increases our compassion toward others. So, check out a book at your local library or swap one with a friend or co-worker.
Effective self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Relaxing for even thirty minutes a day will do wonders for your stress level and mood.
Remember, your time is valuable. Don’t forget to save some of it for yourself!