10 Self-Care Tips When You’re on a Budget


I’m a stickler for a good deal when it comes to spending so when it comes to self-care, I will try not to spend money on self-care unless I see it as an essential. For example, I will invest in a therapeutic massage, when needed, as I’ve seen the long term benefits massage has had on my health.

::10 Self-Care Tips::

Day to day though, self-care does not need to break the bank. Self-care is doing anything that nourishes you mind, body, and/or spirit. There are many nourishing practices that do not involve spending a lot of money. Here are a few of my favorite tips!

1.) Cook a Nourishing Meal – Invite friends over or eat alone. Whichever fills your tank more. Cooking nourishing meals at home not only are acts of physical self-care but can also positively benefit your mental self-care.

2.) Hydrate – Add lemon, mint leaves, or cucumber slices if you prefer flavored water. Making sure you stay hydrated throughout the day is essential to taking care of your body. For those who do not like drinking water, try non-caffeinated teas such as barley tea or hojicha. These two types of teas are highly popular alternatives to drinking water in South Korea and Japan.

3.) Counseling – Counseling can get costly when you pay out of pocket, however for many, counseling is an essential aspect to their mental health treatment, maintenance and mental wellness. Ask private practice counselors and group practices if they offer reduced fee, sliding scale, or pro bono counseling. You may also be able to find counselors that work with your insurance provider or provide out of network reimbursement. You can often find free support groups in your city for grief, loss, and depression. Organizations such as Postpartum Support International (PSI) offer free weekly online support groups for postpartum depression and perinatal mental health.

4.) Meditation/Mindfulness – If you’ve never tried mindfulness meditation, know that is is a fancy word for focusing on the present moment. There are many tools these days for mindfulness including free apps such as Insight Timer, Headspace, and the Stop, Breathe, and Think app. One of my favorite types of mindfulness meditation is called iRest Yoga Nidra by Richard Miller. You can find free recordings of the meditations on Insight Timer or on YouTube.

5.) Exercise – Exercise does not need to involve paying for memberships or spending a ton of money on equipment or clothing. Simple forms of exercise include walking or hiking at local parks or riding a bike. Many yoga studios offer free community yoga opportunities or free weeks of yoga. Yoga studios may also offer scholarships for memberships in exchange for service hours. No time to go to the gym or studio? Try out exercise videos online on Youtube! Yoga with Adriene videos are some of my favorite. There are videos as short as 6 minutes and as long as one hour.

6.) Turn Off Electronics – One of my favorite self-care tips is to turn off my phone on airplane mode an hour before bed. This helps me to be less tempted to look online, to scroll on social media, or to get distracted by all my notifications first thing in the morning. The practice of unplugging not only helps with sleep routines but can also help in your mindfulness practice to be more present focused.

7.) Organize Your Home – Marie Kondo and her popular Netflix series revealed the importance of how space impacts your mind, body, and spirit. Having a functional space that you can rejuvenate can be a part of your self-care. Decluttering your closet, your bedroom, or your living space can help with mental wellness and creating a space where you can feel at rest. Organizing your home can be an activity to get friends or family involved in! You don’t have to go at it alone.

8.) Visit the Library – I try not to buy books anymore as you can now find many new releases, movies, books, audiobooks, and even free passes to local museums at our local library! Self-care can include reading for fun or for personal growth. Visiting your local library can also be a fun, free outing  for the entire family.

9.) Journal & Reflect – One of my favorite simple morning self-care practices is to reflect on gratitudes and simple victories in my life  Writing down what you are thankful for can be a spiritual practice but also helps you to reflect on the simple victories in life and to pause and be present-focused.

10.) Sleep – We don’t often think of sleep as self-care. However without sleep and rest, our mind, body, and spirit are often negatively impacted. Creating a sleep routine that works for you can be a crucial part to your self-care plan. Many may find it relaxing to take a warm bath or shower before bed, to diffuse some essential oils, or to enjoy a cup of herbal tea like lavender or chamomile before bedtime. Bedtime routines can also involve practices like prayer, mindfulness, journaling or restorative/gentle yoga. If you still find yourself having difficult with sleeping after trying various self-care techniques, I’d encourage you to follow-up with your physician to see if there are any physical or mental health concerns that are impacting your sleep quality.

For more ideas on self-care, check out the book The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown.

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Hi there-I'm Jaja Chen! I'm a private practice therapist by day, Waco Cha co-owner and tea drink developer at night. Waco Cha is our boba tea company. I graduated from Baylor with both a Bachelor & Master of Social Work and eventually went on to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). I specialize in helping women, moms-to-be, moms, entrepreneurs & helping professionals heal from trauma, maternal mental health concerns (particularly birth trauma & postpartum-anxiety), and burnout & secondary trauma. While I am not yet a mom - I am a lover of all things related to women's health, pregnancy & postpartum care! In my spare time, you will find me reading, drinking boba tea, learning about herbal remedies, or practicing yoga. You can read more about Waco Cha on our site http://www.wacocha.com/ and my private practice services at http://jajachen.com