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If you stop to think about self-care, you might conjure up images of expensive manicures and pricy mid-week massages. While these luxuries may be part of some people’s self-care routines, they don’t fit into everyone’s budget. Fortunately, real self-care — the act of providing for your mental, emotional, and physical needs — does not have to set your wallet to empty, and it does not have to mean taking two weeks off for a long vacation.
What Is Self-Care, Really?
According to the International Self-Care Foundation, self-care is essentially the things you do for yourself that maintain your health and prevent illnesses. It’s comprised of things like hygiene, lifestyle, socialization, and nutrition. In other words, everything you eat and do each and every day can be considered self-care.
The Big Stuff
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to get away from your daily obligations. This is partially why most companies offer vacation time. Unfortunately, Americans woefully under-utilize their paid time off, resulting in everything from job burnout to decreased productivity, according to Lynn Perkins, CEO of UrbanSitter.
If long-distance traveling isn’t in your budget, you could rent a vacation home within driving distance from your town instead. Before you head out, call any attractions that you would like to visit to ask if they offer discount days or can provide special pricing for a group.
Closer to Home
If an honest to goodness vacation is out of the question, there are still many ways to break out of your routine and reset your mind and body.
You can, for instance, spend a Saturday afternoon scouting out hiking trails available in your area. You might be surprised at just how much of the landscape you’re missing by sticking to your work commute day in and day out. More than that, however, spending time in nature has proven benefits. CNN’s Maureen O’Hare asserts that being outdoors means being more physically active. Further, research in England found a high correlation between time spent in nature and overall happiness.
You might also consider joining a fitness club so that you will have access to both health-related activities and socialization opportunities. Another idea is to create a more positive and less stressful space at home. By simply decluttering, cleaning, and allowing more natural light in, you can elevate your mood.
A Little Luxury
You owe it to yourself to do things that make you happy and feel good. This should, of course, include getting plenty of sleep and eating well, but you should not feel guilty about the occasional indulgence.
There are plenty of ways to treat yourself without breaking your budget. A few ideas are to visit a beauty college for hair and nails instead of an established salon, cook a gourmet meal at home with your significant other instead of dining out, and watch a movie at home with snacks and popcorn instead of dropping $50 to $100 at the theater. Even something as simple as spending a few dollars on high-end bath salts and candles and taking an hour-long bath in the evening can give you an emotional boost.
As you can see, self-care doesn’t have to overextend your dollars. Whether you choose to vacation with friends, hit the hiking trails, or indulge within budget-friendly parameters, the way you treat yourself is crucial to your well-being, and you deserve to be treated with love and care.
Here, we’ve suggested some bath salts for you:
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Emma Grace Brown
Emma Grace Brown lives her life by her rules, and it works! When she's not snuggling puppies, Emma promotes female empowerment through her website. Her mission is to help those who live with self-doubt to realize they don't have to mold themselves to conventionality.