Sometimes, finding ways to take care of yourself takes a little creativity. You can always save a few bucks and drop a couple of pounds by cutting out fast-food stops and your daily vanilla latte, but there’s more to self-care than that. It also requires a broader view, a more comprehensive solution, and a thoughtful combination of physical activity and healthy eating habits. Check out these 13 self-care activities to get your self-plan started.
To start, here's how to create a self-care plan
Now, what do you include in your self-care plan?
Self Care Activity 1: Go to The Farmers Market
If you’re looking for healthier and less expensive ways to incorporate healthy foods into your diet, why not check out your local farmers market? There are websites (crowdcow.com and farmfoodsmarket.com, for example) that will connect you with sources of pasture-based, grass-fed meat and dairy products. Or, you could buy from a local farmer, support food producers in your community, and save money by buying in bulk.
Self Care Activity 2: Reject Those Gym Dues
The average cost of a gym membership is nearly $50 a month, a pretty penny when you consider there are plenty of opportunities that don’t cost a dime. Consider joining the local YMCA or working out at a local community recreation center. There are plenty of workout videos to be found on YouTube, whether you’re into Marine push-ups or gentle yoga.
Self Care Activity 3: Track Your Progress
If you’re into tracking your progress, you can download a smartphone app that’ll track the number of steps you’ve taken in a given workout or the number of calories you’ve burned. Google Fit, Runkeeper, and Walk with Map My Walk are easy ways to track your distance.
Self Care Activity 4: Up Your Garden Game
Why not expand your garden this year and add to your list of homegrown vegetables? There are a number of multi-piece gardening kits for under $50 that will increase your backyard harvest.
Self Care Activity 5: Give Yourself a Self-Massage
If that guy who gives great massages at the spa can do it, why can’t you? Massage is one of the best ways to feel better and get some deep-seated relaxation, and more affordable if you do it yourself. Use savings like Best Buy promo codes when you’re looking for a shoulder massager or exercise equipment, and make sure you save money on all that exercise by taking advantage of discounts, coupons, and cashback opportunities whenever possible.
Self Care Activity 6: Meditate for Mental Health
Are you interested in reaping the benefits of meditation but aren’t sure how to begin? Check out the seven-day free trial from the app Calm, which offers an extensive list of soundtracks aimed at focusing your concentration and helping you achieve relaxation.
Self Care Activity 7: Try Healthy Alternatives
Do you spend too much money on take-out? Why not spend that money on a healthy alternative, such as a meal plan delivery service such as Green Chef or Blue Apron? When taken on a meal-by-meal basis, it’s affordable and better for you. In addition to cutting down on food waste, someone else does the meal planning, a nice advantage for someone on a busy schedule.
Self Care Activity 8: Don’t Sacrifice the Spa
Everybody loves a relaxing spa day, but it ain’t cheap. Why not go in with a few friends on a membership deal for your favorite treatments, and don’t forget to ask about special offers.
Self Care Activity 9: Create A League of Your Own
If you enjoy competing but aren’t into things like bowling, look for an alternative like bocce ball, dodgeball, or even rugby — if you don’t mind some physical contact. With a whole team of friends, your end of the investment will be minimal.
Self Care Activity 10: Start A Food Journal
For just a few bucks, you can start a daily habit that will help you eat healthier and lose weight. Keeping a food journal is a good way to monitor what you’re eating, how much you eat, and how much you’re spending for it all.
Self Care Activity 11: Nutrition Apps
Why not combine your meal plans and grocery lists using a handy nutrition app this year? Paprika Recipe Manager, for example, will download recipes from the internet and pull ingredients from your meal plan over to your grocery list.
Self Care Activity 12: Try A Seven-Minute Workout
Download a free seven-minute workout, a compilation of short, high-intensity exercises that promote weight loss and muscle toning — all based on high-intensity circuit training.
Self Care Activity 13: Try Frozen Veggies
Don’t look down your nose at frozen vegetables. They’re generally frozen right after harvesting so they’re fresh and are often cheaper than buying fresh produce.
In sum. With some careful planning and a little research, there are lots of ways to take better care of yourself. Still need more ideas, check out these 7 types of self-care with a ton more activities or these 134 more self-care activities.
Author: Brad Krause, selfcaring.info. Self-care advocate Brad Krause is inspired to help others improve their overall well-being through self-care.
About Dr. Tchiki Davis
Dr. Davis is the founder of The Berkeley Well-Being Institute. After getting her PhD in psychology at UC Berkeley, she started building online courses, apps, and products to boost well-being—products that have reached more than a million people. Now an author at Psychology Today, The Greater Good Science Center, and Shine Text, Dr. Davis's expertise on how to boost well-being reaches people all across the world.