(Guest article by Hazel Bridges)
According to a report, many Americans spend upwards of $500 per month on products and services related to their physical and mental health – that’s a significant amount of money, whichever way you look at it. As someone who’s looking for more self-care and healing you may not have that kind of money to spend on yourself, even if you want to. Fortunately, you don’t need to – you could look after yourself on a limited budget, without cutting any corners. This article shares some tips on how you can take care of yourself – inside and out – while working with a small budget.
Look to save money while engaging in popular self-care activities
When you pursue a health-focused lifestyle or wish to heal yourself, you can expect to spend money on some things – your food, a fitness program, mental wellness, and wellness products. If you’re clever about your spending, you could shave off a significant portion of your expenses without reducing the quality of care you give to yourself. Here are some suggestions:
- Eating healthy: You could plan out your meals in advance and never go hungry to a grocery store to avoid impulse spending on junk. Purchasing non-perishables in bulk, eating in-season food, and favoring B brands can help you save too. Finally, growing your own food and favoring cheap recipes will allow you to eat healthily on a budget.
- Exercising: Gym memberships, yoga classes, and group sports are expensive activities to pursue, regardless of their effectiveness. You can save money by exercising by yourself at home and still derive the same benefits. You can use health apps, online tutorials, and read fitness books to create a personalized fitness routine for yourself for free.
- Therapy: Your mental well-being is important – but you can expect to spend $287 per month on average on therapy. While you should always seek professional help if you need it, there are other ways to shore up your mental health that cost next to nothing – meditation, spending time with family, listening to music, reading, breathing deeply, and participating in support groups.
- Wellness products: You may spend a great deal of money on wellness products like supplements, essential oils, workout clothes, natural beauty products, anti-aging products, and wellness gadgets (like air purifiers). If you research, you can find natural alternatives that cost less and are just as effective.
Opt for inexpensive or free self-care activities
You don’t need to spend money on self-care. There are plenty of things you can do for free or next to nothing to give yourself a physical, mental, or emotional boost. Below are some fun suggestions:
1. Having a staycation
A staycation is having a vacation without leaving home (or your home country). It’s a cost-effective alternative to going to an exotic location. You can visit a local attraction or town for the day, pretending you’re a tourist who’s never visited before. You’ll be surprised at how much fun it can be, and there’s always something new to discover.
2. Going out in nature
Being out in nature consistently is one of the best things you can do for your health. It’s known to promote healing, reduce blood pressure, and make you happier. You could visit a local garden, park, or forest a few times a week for some exercise and to bust some stress.
Writing down your thoughts about what transpired during the day and expressing yourself is good for your mental health. It brings you peace of mind by helping you get rid of negative emotions and stress. If you create an achievements journal, you can keep track of everything you accomplished, big and small, and gain a self-esteem boost.
4. Getting better quality of sleep
News Medical recommends 7-10 hours of sleep every night. But just filling in your sleep quota isn’t enough – the quality of sleep you receive matters too. You should, ideally, feel well-rested and full of energy when you get out of bed in the morning. Some ways to improve your sleep are getting a better mattress or pillow, creating a sleep routine, turning off screens before bedtime, and meditating or reading to calm your mind before you sleep.
5. Gaining support for your healing and self-care journey
You don’t need to look after yourself alone – other people can help with your journey, and you can help with theirs. Join a support group – such as our very own Thrivers Inspire Healing – for support, educational tips, and just to talk to like-minded people.
Reducing spending is a form of financial self-care
Reining in your spending impulses is essential for your financial health, which directly impacts your overall well-being. You can gain financial security by budgeting, cutting back on non-essential expenses, shopping smarter, doing away with credit cards, and looking for cheaper alternatives for essential expenses. Refinancing your home is one of the best ways to reduce your monthly spending. By doing everything you can to save, you can reduce the stress around your financial health.
Many of the best things in life are free – including self-care. Focus on saving as much money as possible and you will. Keep in mind that self-care is a mixture of physical, mental, and emotional well-being, among other things. Make sure any self-care lifestyle you devise addresses all these aspects for the best results.
Ms. Bridges is the creator of AgingWellness.org, a website that aims to provide health and wellness resources for aging seniors. She’s a breast cancer survivor. She challenges herself to live life to the fullest and inspire others to do so as well.