Self-care has become a bit of a buzzword on thousands of Pinterest images, but it’s no joking matter. Taking good care of yourself is not only good for you, but good for the people around you.
When most people hear the term “self-care,” they probably think of people with way more money than them taking lavish vacations in Maui. But that doesn’t have to be true—in fact, the best ways to practice self-care are completely free.
Here are a few free or low-cost tips for great self-care:
1.) Go for a run or hit the gym. One of the best ways to find the motivation to exercise is to remind yourself that you’re giving your body something good, not taking something away from it. Download a free Couch to 5K app and start training, or hit up a friend to go lift weights over your lunch break. It’s okay to start small—even once a week! Soon, you’ll find your routine and start feeling healthy again.
2.) Ask a friend out to lunch. Let’s be real: sometimes the reason we feel like we don’t have enough friends is because we don’t enjoy time with the ones we already have. Take the initiative and send a text to the BFF you’ve been missing. Catching up over lunch at your fave spot is good for the soul.
3.) Spend some time in nature. One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to get time away from artificial lighting (especially if you work in an office with no windows) and spend some time in nature. Eat your lunch in the park, bike to work one day, or go for a run at sunrise.
4.) Keep a journal. Regularly jotting down your thoughts has been shown to reduce stress and improve your mood. Whether it’s a sentence a day or a few paragraphs, it’s easy to get started. Pen and paper are great, but if that’s not your vibe, check out apps like Day One or Five Minute Journal.
5.) Schedule a date night. It might not seem as spontaneously romantic, but find a night to go out with your sweetie and put it on the calendar. Pro tip: look for deals on non-peak days, like BOGO tacos on Tuesdays or free museum admission on Thursdays.