We’re all constantly hearing about the value of self-care, but do you know what self-care actually looks like?
Social media will have you believe that self-care means buying yourself a latte every day, splurging on Instagram-worthy brunch outings, and enrolling in expensive retreats. Does doing something as essential as caring for yourself really involve a major financial investment? Is self-care on a budget even possible?
The truth is, self-care is about more than treating yourself to tangible indulgences. Self-care is a mindful, therapeutic practice that contributes to a positive mental state. There are plenty of incredible free or low-cost ways for Canadians to put their wellness first and embrace mindfulness and peace.
At 24Cash.ca, we understand that every penny counts when it comes to living well. We’ve collected a few ideas that can help you to relax, decompress, and choose happiness, even when money is tight. Keep reading to discover your next self-care outlet and make 2022 the year in which you put yourself first!
Defining Self Care
What could meditation and latte art possibly have in common? They both get looped in under the heading of “self-care practices,” and that’s not necessarily incorrect. Even so, it’s important to begin by letting you know what self-care isn’t.
Self-care is not the same as self-indulgence. It’s different from the popular “treat yourself” philosophy, in which you simply buy yourself things that you think you deserve.
In reality, self-care is any practice that provides you with the energy and mental resources you need to care for others. Caring for others doesn’t have to mean raising children or working with the public, however. Creating art and contributing to the service industry are equally valid ways to add value to the community around you.
Think about what you need to return to your work and your tasks of daily living with a sense of purpose and joy. Some people might believe that their fancy latte is the thing that keeps them positive and provides them with that energy. In reality, it may be the walk to the coffee shop, taking the moment to smell the aroma, or having the time to sit alone to enjoy the beverage in peace.
In a world in which anxiety and depression are epidemic, self-care isn’t a matter of selfishness. It’s about helping you cope with the stressors you encounter every day. Employing self-care practices that serve your needs can have a major impact on your long-term health and happiness.
In essence, self-care is a proactive approach to avoiding burnout by identifying and addressing your social and emotional needs.
Self Care Can Start at Home
Why not save up your cash for years in anticipation of going on that tropical getaway you’ve always dreamed about? We all know that personal financial circumstances can change quickly. An unexpected home or car repair could mean dipping into that vacation budget and depleting your dream.
Burnout is likely to set in long before you make it to Cancun or Hawai’i. Your foray into self-care doesn’t need to happen all at once. Making small changes to the way you engage with your home environment can make a huge difference over time.
Make Time to Tidy
Often, our outer landscape reflects our inner landscape. Take a moment and look around your space. Have you gone blind to the clutter around you?
We don’t always notice when the spaces where we live, work and relax begin to grow chaotic because the clutter builds up a little bit at a time. We become used to the piles of clothing, the disorganized desk, or the overflowing trash pail. While this may not be bothering you on a conscious level, there is evidence that it could be contributing to your clarity of thought, your peace, and your purpose.
Is there one small task that you can complete right now that would make your space a more pleasant place to be? It could be as simple as wiping down your countertop with a wet cloth or putting a stack of books back on the shelf. Sometimes quickly vacuuming just one room can create a sense of cleanliness and order.
As a bonus, accomplishing a small task will activate the reward centers in your brain. You’ll feel like you got something done, and that will provide you with the energy to do more!
What do you do as soon as you wake up in the morning? How about as soon as you arrive home after work?
If you pick up your phone and fall into a black hole of doom scrolling, you’re not alone. It’s easier to shut off and shut down than to choose to be present. Make yourself aware of this tendency and find small ways to incorporate mindful rituals into your daily routines.
You might try one of the following small rituals to break you out of your rut:
- Start the day by drinking a glass of water
- Turn your morning cup of coffee into screen-free time
- Light a scented candle as soon as you get home from work
- Listen to 15-minutes of an audiobook or podcast while doing your dishes
- Prioritize making your bed neatly every single morning
- Write in a journal or doodle in a sketchbook for a few minutes upon waking
Building these opportunities to relax and unplug into your day can help free you from screen addiction. They will add a sense of calm and routine into an otherwise chaotic day. If you can accomplish a few simple tasks in the process, even better!
Taking Self Care to the Park
If you work from home, the best route toward self-care might be taking a step away from your home. Even if you work outside of the home, nature is a source of revitalizing energy that you can harness all year long. Sometimes energy comes from taking an action as small as moving yourself from the living room to the front porch.
Walk It Off
Researchers have found multiple links between movement and positive mood. You don’t need an expensive gym membership to take advantage of these benefits, either. A daily walk around the block is enough to offset a sedentary lifestyle and keep your neurons firing happily!
A daily walk is also linked to an increase in creativity and artistic output. Whether you’re a professional creative or use a creative hobby to unwind, adding movement to your routine can work wonders. It’s one of the core tenants of the famous Artist’s Way philosophy!
The best part is that nature is almost always free. Take advantage of local parks, easy hiking trails, or the streets in your neighborhood. You can use this time to process the thoughts and problems you’ve collected during the day.
A little bit of active time outside is enough to inspire you and improve your mood. If it helps, choose a destination such as a lake or garden to add a sense of purpose to this routine.
The Magic of Mindfulness
Sometimes self-care is about what you do. Sometimes it’s about what you don’t do. Slowing down and taking stock of the thoughts and sensations that you’re already experiencing is one key to reducing anxiety.
We call the practice of actively noticing your internal and external world mindfulness. When you are mindful, you make the deliberate choice to pay attention.
Take Yourself on a Lunch Date
You can practice mindfulness throughout the day, often without changing your normal routine. This can even begin during your lunch break today.
Make the decision to put your phone away, or allow yourself five minutes to tie up loose ends so you can enjoy your lunch without thinking about texts or emails. When you sit down, allow setting out your meal to be a deliberate ritual.
As you eat, pay attention to the flavors and the textures. Chew thoughtfully and notice when you feel full. Take note of how the food is giving you energy.
You don’t need to be at a fancy restaurant to go through these steps. Your bagged lunch will do just fine!
The Present of Presence
If you need a little bit of help with your mindfulness practice, there are dozens of free meditation and mindfulness apps that you can download for free. These include guided meditations, food journals, yoga video apps, and mood trackers. Find the tool that will make the biggest impact on your life and you will gradually learn to pay attention to your body’s needs and sensations.
If you’re committed to putting the phone down, keeping a daily journal or diary is another way to prioritize metacognition. Giving yourself the time and space to reflect on your thoughts is another kind of mindfulness. You’ll love having the ability to return to those thoughts later as you begin to notice growth!
Invest in Self Care on a Budget
If you’re investigating loans through 24Cash.ca, then you already believe that you deserve more from life. The harder you work to improve your situation, the more deserving you are of stress relief and mental clarity. When things are tight, remember how many options you have for quality self-care on a budget and put your mental wellbeing first.
The only thing that will bring you more peace of mind is knowing that you have the funds that you need to pursue your dreams. Visit 24Cash.ca to learn how you can get a fast, paperless online loan in minutes.