by Rebekah Gamble
Self-care is essential to living a healthy, happy, and satisfying life. But that life isn’t always accessible. Growing up low-income meant that I was exposed to daily sacrifices, stress from working an unpleasant job, and an unsettling lack of financial security. In turn, it wasn’t until I began college, that I realized the key to being happy comes from taking care of yourself.
Having the ability to practice self-care, and understand its role in shaping good mental and physical health, changed my life. Now, I wake up and practice five different ways of self-care.
- Physical self-care
- Emotional self-care
- Mental health self-care
- Social self-care
- Financial self-care
By practicing self-care, I react less to stressors from work, my financial anxiety has decreased, and my ability to think clearly has made my money moves 10x more impactful. Keep reading to find out 20 ways to practice the five methods of self-care outlined above for FREE.
Why is self care important
Keeps you going during tough times
Practicing self-care is a great way to check-in with yourself and build resilience to the hardships of life. Constantly pouring from your cup means the people around you enjoy what you have to offer more than you do. Without self-care, we fall prey to burnout and lack the motivation to get out of bed and tend to daily tasks.
Without self-care: work becomes a form of physical and mental labor, the habits of your family and friends start to annoy you, and the future starts to look bland because you lack a positive mindset.
Gives life purpose
Self-care is essential to leading a healthy, well-balanced life. It’s a way to prioritize your own needs so that you can be there, physically, mentally, and emotionally, for the people you care about most.
What is physical self-care?
Physical self-care is any form of taking care of yourself that involves your body. This can look like grooming yourself, exercising, resting, or even dressing up.
Physical self-care improves personal growth
When your outside looks nice, it can boost your confidence and help you feel ready to show up as your authentic self. Finding new ways to practice physical self-care on a budget can not only make your wallet happy but can help you grow as an individual.
Physical self-care increases financial growth
Taking care of your finances and personal/physical growth are not as different as they may initially seem. Instead, they go together. The more you believe in yourself because you show yourself kindness, liking the person you see in the mirror, the more likely you are to make money moves that count.
This can look like reevaluating your need for a sweet treat to celebrate or coffee to pick you up in the morning. Or better yet, letting go of the belief that buying a morning coffee is making you broke. It allows you to focus on the truth. Your daily habits (or monthly income) might need to change.
The question is then reframed from: how do I avoid spending money on myself? And becomes: So how can we engage in physical self-care without breaking the bank?
Ways to practice physical self-care
Get some fresh air
Fresh air not only gets you standing and moving but also usually means you’ve stepped away from your work long enough to clear your head. Plus, the boost of dopamine and serotonin from walking outside helps stave off feelings of depression and anxiety.
At Home Exercise
Have you ever gone on Youtube and looked up 5-minute workouts? Not only can they make you sweat, but they can help lift your mood, build muscle, and increase your overall physical health.
Cutting your nails
Grooming is a great way to take care of yourself. As the saying goes, “When you look good, you feel good.” Grab an old file or clippers and take the rough edges off of your hard-working hands and feet.
Men and women should feel comfortable looking after their nails, and better yet, it’s free.
Grooming is a great example of 5 minute or less self-care.
Yoga is a great way to get your blood pumping and relax your mind. Studies show that your flexibility, balance, heart health, and sleep have all been improved by practicing yoga. Best of all, you will only need an internet connection to watch guided Youtube videos.
Dance for two minutes as a way to decrease anxiety, wake yourself up, or simply express emotion. Taking care of yourself through physical self-care is easy once you realize it doesn’t have to involve entire days off work or grand gestures.
Walk into a room, close the door, and dance like no one is watching.
Practicing physical self-care at work
If your eyes ever feel dry and sandy, your neck and shoulders feel tight, or you suffer from frequent headaches, you may be working too long. Try taking a moment every half hour to look away from the computer and stand up and stretch.
What is emotional self care?
Emotional self-care involves being kind to yourself and acknowledging that feelings are a normal part of being human. It can also look like providing yourself with a stable environment and healthy lifestyle.
Below you can find 4 examples of emotional self care.
Show compassion for yourself
Often, we fall into the trap of being overly self-critical.
Soft, caring energy is completely free to give yourself as a way to practice emotional self-care. Dr. Kristin Neff has various self-compassion exercises if you feel a little rusty about how you can be kind to yourself. Here are some ways to practice emotional self-care.
Validate your feelings
Have you ever heard the news from someone and automatically thought wow why isn’t this happening to me? Has someone ever hurt your feelings or disappointed you and you felt silly for your reaction? When was the last time you felt excitement and this enthusiasm was not reciprocated?
All of these moments can be unexpected, but they involve feelings that knocked on your door and demanded that you open up to them. The next time you feel a set of emotions take a deep breath and tell yourself that feelings are normal.
Feeling jealousy does not make you a bad friend. In fact, it may push you to set more goals and make yourself a better person.
And being hurt is an example of a boundary being broken, not you being too sensitive.
Emotional self-care is putting your best interests first as you make time to take care of yourself.
But there are other ways to practice emotional self-care including:
Surround yourself with positive energy
Interact with people who encourage you and make you feel good about yourself. Practicing self-care doesn’t have to be a solo activity; you can engage with friends as well. Friends and even family can lift your spirits and make you feel lighter because socializing is good for the soul.
And if you invite them over to your place or you speak to them on the phone, it’s a free way to practice self-care.
Speak your mind
Emotional self-care looks like speaking up for yourself and being your own advocate.
No, you won’t make everyone happy with this newfound voice, but you will be taking care of yourself.
What is mental health self-care?
Mental health self-care focuses on actions you can tape to promote mental health and include paying attention to which thoughts are floating through your head. Often these activities help you declutter your mind and ultimately reduce your stress levels.
Below you’ll find 5 ways to indulge in mental health self-care.
Examples of mental health self-care
Take time to write down your thoughts, reflect over the week, or think about the future.
Journaling can be the gateway to realizing what isn’t working in your life so that you can start to make new changes, like starting a budget. From Oprah Winfrey to John D. Rockefeller, many widely famous and successful people practice this form of mental health self-care.
Take a day off
A mental health day is a day off from work so that you can sleep in, eat a nutritious breakfast, and have some me-time in the name of self-care.
Even those working for themselves or striving toward career goals, need to slow down sometimes. Taking care of yourself shouldn’t be as optional or shameful. (Looking at you, hustle culture.)
Change your environment
Changing your environment could mean switching jobs, changing your office around, sitting somewhere else in the house, or changing your social circle.
This can be something temporary, like going for a walk in the park, or permanent like moving closer to family.
Eliminate toxic people
Sometimes we outgrow friends, and certain family members no longer add value to our lives.
Taking care of yourself includes realizing who is dimming your brightness. You don’t have to continue to speak with people because you knew them for a long time.
Distancing yourself from those who aren’t adding to your vision of the future or present, is a free way to practice self-care.
Listen to inspirational talks
You can find inspirational talks on Youtube, on podcast apps, and even in songs. It’s a sure way to boost your mood and motivate you.
When you feel inspired to take charge of your budget, aim for a better life, and prioritize taking care of yourself, inspirational talks (and even music) can boost your dopamine and keep you going.
What is social self-care?
Social self-care is when you reach out to other people to boost your mood or confidence. Self-care doesn’t always have to be a way of hibernating to take care of yourself. Sometimes you just need to be surrounded by other people.
Examples of social self-care
Date night or Staycation
A staycation is when you take time off and, instead of traveling somewhere far, you stay near where you live. Some people rent an Airbnb or hotel, but you can also just stay home.
Snuggle up with your partner, pull out a vision board, and whip up a nice meal. You’ll be refreshed from this method of social self-care just in time to head back to work.
Watch a movie together
Apps like RAVE allow you to watch a movie from two separate houses at the same time. By simply logging into an account you already have, like Netflix, you can watch movies without leaving the comfort of your home.
Social self-care should always include laughs and a good time.
Do an activity you enjoy together
Any of the other listed kinds of mental health self-care or physical self-care can be done with a buddy.
Taking care of yourself while practicing self-care should always be enjoyable and leave you feeling better off than you were before.
What is financial self-care
Financial self-care is all about improving your money habits so you can reduce your financial stress. With financial self-care, you’ll manage money better and accomplish your financial goals.
A simple but effective way of reducing financial stress is by creating a budget. It helps you stay organized with all your income and expenses, increasing your mental accounting of where your money is going.
Pro-Tip: You can use the customizable and automated budgeting in the nav.it money app.
Checking your balance regularly
Money tracking involves routinely tracking your spending so you can understand where your money is going and how much you have left to spend. According to a poll from National Foundation for Credit Counseling, only 2 in 5 U.S. adults track their spending, yet most who do found that it reduced their financial anxiety.
Conclusions about self-care
Self-care is crucial to living a life where you can go with the flow and believe that things will get better.
You don’t have to book a $100 massage in order to invest in your overall well-being. You can simply call up a friend and vent about what’s been going on.
Self-care is what you make it! Get in tune with yourself.
Free Downloadable Guide to Budgeting
A List of Mental Health Resources for Treatment Online
Defining Your Relationship with Money
More about our Author: Meet Rebekah Gamble the creator of BlissfulWallet.com a blog centered on teaching basic financial literacy and self-care tips. When she’s not writing you can catch her snuggled up with a good book or connecting with other bloggers! Follow her on IG: @blissfulwallet