6 Low-Cost Self Care Activities

With the cost of living steadily on the rise, it’s important to take a step back and remember that practicing self-care, or having a wellness routine, doesn’t need to involve regular reformer pilates classes or $50 greens powders. Despite what you may see on social media, the majority of people aren’t able to fit these things into their budget, and you shouldn’t feel bad if you can’t either. When it comes to creating a wellness routine on a budget, there are so many workarounds for low cost or no cost alternatives to the expensive side of wellness.

👩‍💻 Stick to (mostly) TikTok / YouTube workouts

While a one-off yoga or pilates class might run you upwards of $20 (or even more), YouTube and TikTok are two great resources for finding free workouts. A few of my personal favorites are Yoga With Bird, MadFit, Sami Clarke, Bailey Brown, and Margaret Elizabeth. Between these, I can find everything I need, from weightlifting to cardio to restorative yoga. Most of these creators also post short workouts on TikTok and Instagram as well. I used to believe that it would be impossible for me to see any changes in my body or my strength without an expensive fitness membership, but aside from the benefit of saving money, I’ve also had the opportunity to explore what types of movements feel good to me in the comfort of my own home.

🪷 Take a walk in nature

Taking a nature walk is one of my absolute favorite forms of self care, and it is completely free! Beyond the fact that it’s finally nice out (thank goodness), taking a walk in nature has been shown to offer significant mental health benefits, such as improved attention and lower stress levels. Listening to music or a podcast is a great addition to any nature walk (my personal favorites are Goes Without Saying and Anything Goes), but more often than not I try to leave my headphones at home and focus on what’s going on around me. Stopping to notice a beautiful plant or a smile from a stranger helps me get off on the right foot when I’m starting my day, as opposed to having my headphones in and my head down.

🧖‍♀️ Make a DIY skin or hair mask

Skincare and haircare are two major areas where I’ve tried to cut back on my spending, as difficult as that may be! One way I’ve done this is by trying to use things I already have around the house for my skin and hair. A hair mask that has absolutely transformed my generally hard to manage thick, wavy hair involves mixing together 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of honey, and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. I let that sit in my hair for about 20 minutes and then rinse it out when I get in the shower. Much cheaper than Olaplex, and it’s made my curls more shiny, soft, and manageable!

🌵 Nurture an easy-to-grow plant

One of my goals for 2023 was, genuinely, to get a plant and not kill it almost immediately. So far so good, as I’ve been able to successfully nurture the two succulents I have on the windowsill in my bedroom. There are a handful of basically impossible to kill house plants out there, but succulents are some of the least expensive ones on the list. Succulents generally love a lot of direct sunlight (hence why mine live on my windowsill), and only need to be watered roughly every 7 to 10 days. Just be sure to avoid watering the leaves, and choose a pot with good drainage, such as a terracotta pot. Having a plant (or two, or three… or many more) thriving in your home also has a surprising host of benefits that are very conducive to self-care; increased productivity, boosted creativity, reduced fatigue, and lowering anxiety, just to name a few.

🧺 Do some spring cleaning

Clearing out your physical space can be incredibly beneficial when you are also trying to clear out your mental space. Going through your things, whether it be clothes, makeup, books, or anything you have laying around that you’ve been avoiding sorting out, can help you free up space and energy within your home. One thing I love to do when spring cleaning season rolls around for me is get together with a group of friends and have a swap—everyone has the opportunity to find some new things that they need or want. Bonus points if you add some background music and snacks from Trader Joe’s.

🛁 Take a bath

If you’re lucky enough to have access to a bathtub, it’s one of the most classic forms of self care to utilize it once in a while. I try to take a bath at least once a week if I have the time, and I also try to leave my phone outside the bathroom when I do. It can be nice to take a bath where I just turn off my brain and scroll on Instagram or TikTok, but similarly to my nature walks, I often feel like I’m getting more mental benefits when I take the time to notice what’s going on around me. I’ll light candles or incense if I have any laying around, make a cup of tea or pour myself an Olipop over ice, and bring a book in case my mind starts to wander and I want a non-phone distraction.

Avery Thomas, girl with flowers, author of the article

Avery Thomas

Avery Thomas is a freelance journalist and student of veterinary medicine. Outside of work and writing, Avery enjoys reading, hiking, cooking, and hanging out with her pet rats. You can find her on Instagram @averyjlaurel.

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