This post includes a selection of products we think you’ll love. When you make a purchase, Patch may earn a small commission.
Self-care is having a moment, and for good reason. Finding ways to relax and de-stress can be beneficial to your emotional and psychological health. Even just taking a few minutes to unplug and make a conscious effort not to think about your to-do list can be a huge mood booster.
There’s a whole wellness industry that wants you to believe self-care only comes in the form of extravagant vacations, fancy spa days and overpriced oils and gadgets. But we’re going to let you in on a little secret: Self-care doesn’t need to be expensive. Here are five ways you can practice self-care that won’t break the bank.
1. Take a nap.
If you already have a bed, a couch or any comfy spot where you can lie down, this won’t cost you a thing. Getting a short, 20-to-30-minute nap in can help improve your mood and performance — but as the National Sleep Foundation notes, naps don’t necessarily make up for inadequate or poor-quality nighttime sleep.
If you do have trouble falling asleep (and staying asleep), you might want to consider a weighted blanket such as the Gravity Blanket.
These types of blankets use deep-touch pressure stimulation to create the feeling of being lightly hugged or held. This stimulates your body to produce serotonin and melatonin and decreases the production of cortisol — improving your mood and promoting restful sleep at the same time.
Meditation is a simple (and free) practice you can do in almost any space. According to WebMD, meditating for as little as 10 minutes a day can help control stress, decrease anxiety and allow you to achieve a greater capacity for relaxation.
You can meditate in virtually any quiet space. Some people prefer sitting directly on the ground, while others prefer sitting on a yoga mat or a meditation cushion. The REEHUT meditation cushion (pictured above) is available multiple sizes and colors to suit your needs and personal preferences.
You hear a lot about rest and relaxation, but physical activity is also a great way to blow off steam. As Harvard Men’s Health Watch points out, exercising is good for your heart and your head, and regular aerobic activity can improve your mind, body and spirits.
You don’t need a pricy gym membership to get that heart rate up, either. Taking a walk outside is free, and many parks have great hiking trails that are open to the public. Running, cycling and yoga can also be excellent, fresh-air activities that help you burn off steam in a positive way.
Activity trackers (such as this FitBit Charge 3 fitness tracker) make it easy to count your steps. Being mindful of your activity also encourages you to stay moving and avoid falling into a sedentary lifestyle.
When the weather isn’t amenable to an outdoor workout, there are plenty of ways to get moving indoors. There are thousands of free workouts available on YouTube; and if you’re worried about getting your steps in during inclement weather, you can buy a portable cardio machine such as the Stamina InMotion Compact Strider for less than $100.
This durable, versatile piece of equipment simulates the motions experienced through walking, stepping, cycling and skiing for an effective, adjustable and low-impact workout.
4. Read a book.
Reading is relaxing, and if you have a local library, you can do it for free. The best book to read is one you’ll enjoy, so try a few different genres and don’t be afraid to switch things up.
Self-help books aren’t for everyone, but if you’re open to new ideas, they can provide a wealth of information. If you’re looking for a book with concrete ideas on how to live your best life, we recommend “Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything” by BJ Fogg, Ph.D.
“Tiny Changes” is filled with simple, practical ways for you to achieve your goals. It’s based on the idea that the tiny, day-to-day changes are the ones that result in big transformations.
Related: 10 Books To Read In February
5. Have a spa day right at home.
The best spa in town is right under your roof. Play your favorite music, light some candles and enjoy a restful, restorative night in. If you have a tub, you can get a lot of bang for your buck with bath bombs (this set of 12 from LifeAround2Angels costs less than $27).
Only have a shower? Not to worry. These VieBeauti tablets are just what you’ve been looking for. Just place a single, unwrapped tablet in the shower and turn on the hot water to activate it. Allow the aromatic steam to rise, then step inside to enjoy a wholly therapeutic shower!
An entire pack costs less than $25 and includes a selection of different scents. When you’re done, slip into some comfy PJs and pat yourself on the back: You’ve successfully mastered the art of self-care on a budget.