When we think of self-care, we tend to believe it always involves “treating ourselves” to certain luxuries and pampering sessions that come with hefty price tags. Although investing in things that improve our mood is important, treating ourselves doesn’t need to cost a lot of money—sometimes it means taking small steps to enhance our mindset.
With that in mind, we’ve detailed a few ways that can help us better take care of ourselves. These may not cost us much, but they will certainly help our mental health in the long run.
Meditation offers a lot of benefits for our mind and body: the practice helps us improve awareness by training our mind to focus on the present, improve attention span and even reduce stress and improve our mood.
2. Go on a social media detox
Although social media allows us to form connections and interact with friends anytime, it doesn’t hurt to take a step back every once in a while. Signing off for a few days helps us get better sleep, be more productive and even improve our mood.
Thankfully, our phones have features that can help monitor and cut back on social media usage. iPhones have the Screen Time feature while Android devices have Digital Wellbeing tools. Switching to grayscale mode also goes a long way.
3. Clean our space
Taking time to declutter and clean out our space may seem impossible, especially in the middle of a busy lifestyle but making an effort to clean up our surroundings and keeping it that way is a pretty easy way to take care of ourselves.
Studies show that a clean space can help lower stress; people become more relaxed and even more productive. Cleaning strategies such as the 20/10 method or the Swedish death cleaning strategy can make decluttering a little less daunting.
4. Stay hydrated
One of our body’s most basic yet overlooked needs is water. Aside from the various health benefits that drinking lots of water brings, studies show that staying hydrated is associated with a lower risk of depression and an improved mood.
A few steps we can take to ensure we stay hydrated throughout the day is by investing in a water bottle that can keep our water cold (or hot if you prefer that) and setting reminders to take sips of water throughout the day.
5. Try journaling
When we feel like we’re dealing with a lot of emotions and we’re struggling to process them, journaling helps. Writing down our thoughts can help us better understand our thoughts while keeping our memory sharp.
Journaling can also become a tool to help us manage our mental health. Aside from giving us a healthy way to express ourselves, it also helps us prioritize concerns and gives us an opportunity for positive self-talk.
6. Take a walk
Going for a walk, or any form of exercise, poses a number of benefits for our physical health. Some of the benefits we can get from going on a walk include a reduced risk for heart diseases and strokes, and increased muscle strength and endurance.
Aside from physical health benefits, going for a walk can also offer benefits for our mental health. Being physically active releases endorphins, a chemical that helps lift our mood as well as hormones that can improve sleep and release muscle tension.
7. Learn to say “no”
Ultimately, one of the most important aspects of self-care that won’t cost a lot is learning how to set limits and say “no.” Although saying “yes” may open up opportunities, we also run the risk of overcommitting our time and other resources.
Learning how to turn down new commitments allows us to reclaim our time and mental well-being while being able to honor commitments that matter to us and devote high quality work towards them.
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Writer: ANGELA PATRICIA SUACILLO