12 Totally Free Ways to Practice Self-Care
Is it just us or has life been absolutely crazy lately? Between deadlines at work and trying (and mostly failing) to keep up with our social life, it feels like we’re constantly running around. And while a relaxing getaway or even an hour-long massage sounds heavenly, it’s another thing to plan and pay for. Which is why we’ve rounded up 12 super-easy (and completely free) ways to slow down and take care of yourself right now.
Do a Social Media Cleanse
You know your former intern who posts one too many selfies on Instagram? Or your high school acquaintance who gets a little too political on your Facebook feed? Feel free to unfollow them (or at the very least, hide their status updates).
Unplug from Your Phone for an Hour
On that note, give yourself an hour a day to completely unplug from your phone. Work emails and people’s InstaStories about their dogs can wait. Read a book, draw a bath or, better yet—draw a bath and read in the tub in that time.
Take a Power Nap
Remember how it used to be a daily requirement for us as kids? Well, we might not have a full hour to lie down in the middle of the day, but a quick 15-minute nap can do wonders.
Ask for Help
You pride yourself on being self-sufficient (and super efficient at that), but it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to keep up. Whether it’s at work or at home, don’t be afraid to ask for help so you don’t get overwhelmed or bogged down by all of the tasks at hand. (This will free up more time for you to actually take that power nap.)
Pet a Dog (or Cat)
If you don’t have one, visit a friend who does. Don’t feel like making plans? Go on a leisurely stroll around your block and you’ll likely run into a neighbor or passerby taking their dog for a walk. Comment on how cute they are and politely ask if you can pet them.
...Or coloring. You don’t have to be particularly artistic or good at it, either. It’s more about creative expression and turning off the other (constantly whirring), analytical side of your brain than the finished project itself.
Cooking can have a calming effect as well because it’s easy to lose yourself in the process—especially if there are no time constraints on the meal. Plus, there’s a tasty reward at the end.
Immerse Yourself in Nature
Chirping birds, crashing waves, crisp air and warm sunshine: Any of these things can stimulate your senses and have a restorative effect on your mind and mood. You don’t even have to go very far. A local park (or any place with ample greenery) will do the trick.
Clean Your Room
Who knew that your most hated chore as a kid would turn into something so relaxing as an adult? But we’re not talking about a full-on spring cleaning. We’re talking about a little tidying—at most. Just enough to visually decrease the clutter around you.
Take Another Route to Work
Mixing up your daily routine—even with something as small as taking the scenic way to work—shakes things up and gives your brain a sense of novelty (which can sometimes be all you need to gain new perspective on whatever it is that’s stumping you).
Have a Moment to Yourself in the Morning
Set a ritual so you have something to look forward to the moment you wake up—like making yourself a cup of coffee or sitting in bed for a few extra minutes before hurtling yourself out the door. This can help set the tone for the rest of the day.
...And Take Another to Yourself at Night
Go ahead and enjoy a long shower or, again, sit in bed for a few extra minutes and just focus on breathing. Take three deep breaths in and three out, then repeat at needed. This will signal your brain to slow down, which will help you sleep better.