20 Inexpensive Self-Care Ideas

Inexpensive self-care ideas
Image via The Creative Library

I’d be a total quack if I told you I am some expert wellness guru. I mean, that’s totally laughable. Sure, I indulge in self-care every once in a while but having a regular exercise routine is something I’ve struggled with. So really, I am not some expert, but just a regular person, trying to figure out this wellness shizzzzz, and learning to live a better life through it all.

As far as wellness habits go, self-care is one aspect where I’ve made some good progress in the last year or so. Many a Friday night has found me chilling at home, mask on, and some serious cleaning underway in the name of taking better care of myself.

I think in today’s day and age, with the million and one distractions that we have + the mostly busy lives that we lead + the gazillion roles that we take on, a little bit of intentional self-care is critical to living a peaceful life.

My form of self-care could be different from day to day, but I try to carve out some time on the daily to indulge myself a little. Sometimes, all I can manage in a day is a couple of minutes (I’m looking at you, my hot cup of green tea before I start work), and on some days when I can swing it, it could be a long massage.

It’s easy to believe that self-care is all about expensive indulgences, but I really don’t think that has to be the case. To me, self-care is about nurturing yourself – physically, mentally, emotionally – to be able to have the energy for your loved ones, your work, your passions, and your various obligations in life.


While I am sure we’d all love to have a personal masseuse at our disposal, sometimes it’s just not feasible to either spend a lot of money or take out a lot of time to take care of ourselves.

So I wanted to share some inexpensive self-care ideas about how you can indulge your mind and soul a bit, without blowing up your bank account or having to take a day off work (but if that’s what you end up doing, you go, girl (or guy!)!!! :)).

1| Read a book

Fiction, non-fiction, whatever floats your boat. There’s nothing like the feeling of getting completely engrossed in another world, another place, without even leaving the comfort of your chair/room. Reading is one of my most preferred ways to unwind.

2| Take a long, long shower

This is by far one of my favourite-st things to do at least once over the weekend. Sometimes I just lounge under the shower and let the water wash away all my anxiety, all my frustrations. And then there are the other times when I take out a whole lot of my beauty arsenal (dry brush, body oil, body scrub, face mask, hair mask) and just go to town with them. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love my long showers.

3| Say no more often

Boundaries are important. I’m not suggest you become a hermit or that you stop challenging yourself, but you’re going to be better off for saying no to things and people that mentally and emotionally distress you.

4| Say yes to more things that excite you

Because really, life is about enjoyment and doing things that charge you up.

5| Drink more water

Seriously you guys, it’s such a basic thing. On days when I consciously chug about 3 litres of water, I find myself more alert and just making better life (read: food) choices. Also, hello, better skin. I know it’s rather un-fancy, but I’ve realised that even something as simple as drinking enough water could have such a profound effect on your overall wellness.

6| Drink something warm

I can’t believe I’m actually saying this. I am such a late, late convert into the world of green teas. I still can’t drink coffee or milk tea or hot chocolate, but I try and get at least one cup of green tea a day, especially on working days. That little cup of warmth somehow feels so centering.

7| Clear your space

It’s a little weird how decluttering brings me some serious peace of mind (apart from the million times that I ask myself “why on earth did I ever buy this?” or “how on earth do I have so much shit?”). Giving away a few bags of stuff, throwing out spoiled things, all of that makes me feel so good.

8| Put on a face mask

And do just that. Don’t feel the need to multi-task. Let the mask work its goodness on your skin and just bask in the after-mask glow.

9| Unfollow toxic people on social media

Social media is such a double-edged sword. It can fill you up with inspiration and a lot of fire, or it completely overwhelm you with all that endless noise. If you can’t/don’t want to give up on social media completely, at least give up on the people who make you unhappy. And never forget, what you’re seeing is only a slice of someone else’s reality, not their whole life.

10| Sleep in

Or take an afternoon nap. Oh, the heaven that is an afternoon nap! Bonus points if you don’t set an alarm to wake you up.

11| Stretch it out

You know, cats and dogs know a thing or two about living a good life. Have you seen the look of pure contentment on their faces when they stretch it out??? Why not indulge in a little bit of that bliss yourself. You don’t even need to look up some fancy videos. Just stand on the tip of your toes and stretch upwards. Or, bend down from the hip, relax your shoulders and let your hands fall freely. Or, if you’re sitting, twist and stretch each side. Or, reach overhead and stretch your arms out.

12| Use aromatherapy

I’ve been really getting into aromatherapy in the last couple of months or so and I love how it makes my room or bathroom feel like an oasis of calm. This Muji electric aroma diffuser was a gift from the husband and I am so in love with it.

13| Get out of your pajamas

Sometimes when I’ve been lounging around the house wearing my loose pajamas, I end up feeling like such a sloth. I’ve found that changing into something with even a teeny tiny bit more structure, like a simple pair of leggings, makes me feel somehow a lot more productive and efficient.

14| Send a surprise package to someone you care about

Most people love surprises. Especially surprises that come in the mail. It could be simple note, or you could go all fancy with gifts – that’s up to you. Doing something good for others usually has a rub-off feel good effect on yourself too.

15| Do something creative with your hands

Doodle. Paint. Write. Create a collage. Cook, even! Do anything creative that will engage you. You don’t have to be good at it. This is about letting the right side of your brain take over for just a while and cut out the digital distractions.

16| Get a blow dry

Sometimes getting a haircut can feel like too much commitment and pressure. Instead opt for the fuss free option of getting a blow dry at a salon. You’ll feel like a million bucks after that.

17| Make a gratitude list

Better yet, try and do this on the daily. The Five Minute Journal is a recent favourite of mine. The app is great too. We have much to be grateful for and often when we’re feeling down, it’s so easy to forget that. Cultivating a mindful gratitude habit is a super positive thing you can do for yourself.

18| Listen to an album that you loved from when you were younger

Oh my God, sometimes those retro hits are all I need to put myself into a better mood.

19| Make a conscious decision to not spend anything for a day (or longer)

Money can be a major source of anxiety for many people. All the endless options of online shopping obviously do not help. Sometimes, it would be good to take a conscious break from spending anything. I know I feel so much better when I make myself go through a shopping ban.

20| Do nothing

Seriously. We deal with enough stimulation in our day-to-day lives. Give yourself the luxury of doing nothing, absolutely nothing, every once in a while. Stare into space. Stare outside your window. Stare up at the sky/ceiling. Just indulge in the luxury of the nothingness of it all.

I hope this has given you some self-care ideas that you can incorporate into your daily life. Like I said earlier, self-care does not have to be expensive or time consuming to be effective. Just remember that even the smallest of things done mindfully can make a significant difference to your day.

Let me know if you have any more suggestions – I am all ears for more self-care ideas! What’s your favourite form for self-care?


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