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  • Writer's pictureLex Ellis (he/she/they)

Self-Care on a Budget

Self-care looks different for everyone. Sometimes you don't know where to start because you're already so overwhelmed. With a budget in mind, I've comprised a list of possible self-care methods.

Budget: Free

  1. Walk/get outside. It seems so simple and potentially ineffective. The truth is, being outside can put you in an entirely different mood. The sun is good for you and your body. Being outside with moving air is liberating. I love walking out while barefoot. I feel more in tune with myself and am more mindful of my physical body. I like feeling the different textures under my feet and feeling the earth beneath me.

  2. Read. Reading can be accessible at the library or a local book store. If you can get to these places, they're a great choice to "get away" to another location. Surrounded by peaceful silence, you can take yourself to a different place inside the covers of books.

  3. Natural water source. If you can find a natural water source and dip your toes in it, I swear you can feel like a different person. Every time I slip my feet into a river or lake or the ocean, I feel a rush of calm come over me and ground me again.

  4. Music/Podcasts. This is, of course, assuming you have a phone or access to a computer with internet. There are several free podcasts and music streaming options. I use Pandora personally as my free music option. I love how Pandora saves all your favorites and makes a station specifically made up of your favorite songs. There are also several free podcast platforms. I have an iPhone, so I mostly use Apple Podcasts, but others like Spotify. YouTube has some podcasts, too. You can also get digital music from your local library.

  5. Meditation. This is often brought up. I used to think this was useless advice, but I realized that I only thought that because I had no idea how to meditate. Thankfully, most of us have access to YouTube. YouTube has many free guided meditation videos. If you can spare a few moments, they have some helpful videos as short as three minutes. Do as instructed by the videos, and you can feel your body relax eventually, and you can be ready to pick back up with your day.

Budget: $1-$5

  1. Color. Color! Doodle! Sketch! With places like the dollar store and other discount stores, you can always keep some cheap coloring books, crayons, and sketch paper and pencils on hand. I have several coloring books and quite a collection of coloring mediums. I've gone beyond $5, but it's easy enough to stay at $5 or below with this.

  2. Journaling. Journaling can be highly therapeutic. You can buy guided journals at discount stores if you have problems coming up with things to write about. There are so many ways to journal, also. You can do a bullet journal, letter journal entries, or use the guided journals. And honestly, don't get me started on the writing utensils and the limitless choices you have to use. Markers, highlighters, pens, pencils! I love them all!

Budget: $10+

  1. Garden. Now, I don't mean having an entire garden you have to spend hours tending to. Sometimes, starting a simple container herb garden is enough to take your mind off what's going on in the moment and reset yourself. Starting an herb garden can also be very fulfilling. Your time and effort are going into producing something you can use. They're not difficult to maintain, and they can be very calming. Having houseplants is also a popular and relaxing hobby.

  2. Puzzles. There are plenty of puzzle books, toys, and games at discount stores. You also have the option to use apps on your phone or computer for free. Either way, puzzles are a great way to keep your cognitive function in shape and take your mind off other things.

Sometimes, we need a small break in our days to reconnect with ourselves. There are several ways, but these are just a few. You can explore beyond these things with something that fits into your schedule, budget, and needs.


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