10 cheap or free self-care ideas that you can do today | spoiler alert: journaling is one of my favourite!

10 Inexpensive Self-Care Activities You Can Try Today

10 free self-care activities you can try today | #selfcare #journaling #lookingafteryourself #destress #beauty #lifestyle #selfcareblogpost

Despite awareness of self-care increasing online in recent years, how many of us can say we take it seriously? Up until a few months ago, I definitely didn’t.

Trying to dedicate time to yourself when life demands are piling up isn’t easy, but so necessary. It’s the perfect way to de-stress and remind yourself of what’s important. I’m not saying you should put your life aside for weeks at a time, don’t get me wrong. Try finding a few minutes, or hours, within a day where you can really sit down and focus on yourself. It’ll be worth it; trust me.

Admittedly, self-care can seem like an expensive way to take care of yourself, but it doesn’t have to be. While applying an expensive facemask or treating yourself are valid ways of self-care, there are cheaper ways to look after yourself. To demonstrate just how inexpensive this habit can be, I thought I’d create a list of the cheap-or-free self-care activities I take part in on a regular basis.

Binge Watch a Series

As much as we like to pretend we’re not obsessed with binge watching series, there’s nothing wrong with indulging occasionally. As a society, we’re obsessed with pushing ourselves to do more, even when our motivation’s running low. Even if we’ve just got home from a long day of work, we convince ourselves we need to do more. Why not try winding down with a few hours of a TV show instead? Here’s a list of my favourite series on Netflix from a couple of years ago if you need some recommendations to get you started.

journaling self-care ritual; here's what i made earlier...

Journaling

This is probably my all time favourite form of self-care. It gives me an opportunity to be creative, and also vent about things that are worrying me. I stop thinking about what’s going on around me and take some time to focus on me. We all need to do that every now and again, don’t we? Better yet, a lot of the things I use in my journal are picked up cheaply, or even free. You don’t need money to be creative, after all.

Perhaps the best thing about a journal is that you can do whatever you want with it. Want to fill it completely with photos? You can do that. Are you one of those people who like to write out your frustrations until you stop thinking about them? You can do this to. You don’t have to show your journal to anyone, so go crazy, and do what feels right in the moment.

Take a Long Bath

If you’re stressed, or struggling with a mental health problem, maintaining good personal hygiene is difficult. It’s still just as important, though, and by turning it into a treat, the chances of completing it increase. You could even listen to music or light some candles if they’d help you to relax. My favourite is to combine two self-care activities into one, and binge watch a TV show or movie at the same time.

adult colouring is the perfect way to self-care and destress | image of a colouring book with an adult colouring print on one side and calendar on the other, alongside silver pencils with coloured tips

Colouring

Does anyone else remember when adult colouring books were everywhere a few years ago? Although this self-care activity might not be as trendy as it one was, it’s still just as therapeutic. It’s also extremely affordable, as there’s nothing to say you can’t print adult colouring pages off the internet. Old pens will work just as well as new pens, too, if you can’t afford new ones.

Experiment With Makeup

If you wear makeup and you’re anything like me, you probably stick to the same few styles. It’s easy, and you know what you’re doing—both perfect for busy mornings before work or school. What about evenings, when you have a little more time to pamper yourself? Wearing makeup when you want to relax isn’t for everyone, but for those that do enjoy it, mix it up a bit. Try out a new eyeshadow palette, or a daring lipstick colour. What are you waiting for?

Declutter

It’s amazing how a little bit of mess can bring your mood down and your stress levels up. When self-care is all about de-stressing, choosing to organise or declutter an area of your room can, therefore, make all the difference. Not everyone will have the time to clear their whole room, but even clearing off your desk, or the boxes of washing you’ve had piling up for weeks on end will work. You might even choose to organise an area of your life, decluttering anything unnecessary so you can focus on the things you enjoy. This activity may also go on to earn you money, which you can then use to treat yourself, or pay bills you’ve been stressing about!

reading is one of my favourite self-care activities; with an ice-cold drink in summer, and a hot drink in winter. You can't go wrong.

Reading

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw this one coming. It’s fair to say I am book-obsessed. Even if you’re not that kind of person, though, reading a book can feel incredibly rewarding. Having the opportunity to escape into the life of your favourite character can give you a break from the stress in your own life. It may also offer you an alternative point of view and allow you to deal with your own problems more effectively.

If you want some advice about reading more—or fitting it into your busy schedule—I have just the blog post for you. You can view it here.

Learn Something New

If you’re currently reading this while in education, you might think I’m crazy. Who wants to learn something new and call it self-care? Trust me, it’s not what you think. I’m not talking about learning something you don’t want to learn. It might just be reading a blog post about a topic you’re interested in or taking a free online course. I’ve been learning Spanish on Duolingo sporadically, and the sense of pride I get when I realise how far I’ve come makes it all worth it.

Social Media Detox

As much as social media can be helpful, there are aspects to it we’d all rather do without. Comparing ourselves to celebrities and engaging in Twitter drama seems normal, but have you taken a moment to think about how much more relaxed you’d feel without it? Why not turn your phone off to destress and engage in some of the other self-care activities listed occasionally? It doesn’t have to be long periods of time, but a couple hours here and there can make a world of difference!

Walking

On a fundamental level, walking is a form of exercise, which will increase the production of endorphins, the happy hormone. Otherwise, though, walking gives you the chance to be at peace with yourself and the environment around you. It can give you time to think about your stresses in a self-care sense, as well as offering you an opportunity to process things. If you have one, taking a pet with you might offer you an opportunity to get to know other pet-owners in your local area.

What do you do for self-care? Have you tried any of the suggestions above? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading, and until next time,

Goodbye.

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37 thoughts on “10 Inexpensive Self-Care Activities You Can Try Today

  1. Great tips, in fact you covered a lot of my favourite ways to destress like walking (a great one I’ve adapted); journalling has done wonders for my well-being; and being creative or learning something new. In fact, while feeling stuck last year I enrolled in an online course to help me get out of that rut, I’ve also completed two online courses last Fall. Anyways, a few more I do is something I’ll bake something when feeling down or pick-up my knitting. Listening to music is also a favourite thing of mine, and helps me feel better.

    1. Thank you! It’s cool to hear that we share a look of the same ways of de-stressing, and you have a few more of your own, too. I contemplated adding baking to this list but it’s not really something I do anymore; I used to love it when I did, though! Music is a big one, too! Thanks for your comment.

      1. You’re welcome. Yes, in all honestly I don’t bake as much as I used to but still enjoy it. I’ve somehow transitioned over mainly to knitting, and recently photography. Though it’s more of a creative interest than self care. Nothing like the right music to set the mood.

        1. Aw, I’m glad it’s a hobby that you still enjoy. Knitting sounds great! Creativity can still be self-care as it’s time you’re taking to look after yourself.

  2. Great post! I’ve been trying to make an effort to practise self care more often too! I’ve really gotten into colouring lately. I signed up to Duolingo too! Congrats on doing so well with Spanish. I did Spanish at school so I’m giving French a try on Duolingo.

    1. I’m glad you’ve gotten more into self-care. I think it’s something we could all do more of.
      That’s really interesting. Good luck with French! I did French and Spanish in school, but I never really learnt much until I started using Duolingo. I hope it works for you!

  3. Another great post, Rebecca, and some great suggestions! 🙂 i need to make more time to do things like this but I just kind of… forget haha. Might have to make it a late New Year’s resolution.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ruth | http://www.ruthinrevolt.com

      1. It is! Definitely good as a way to relax before bed as you just lie there and your brain can’t come up with a to do list for tomorrow as it’s distracted 😂

  4. Omg I love Duolingo too! Before I started my blog I was really into learning Spanish but then I gave it up because coming home from work mentally tired ,all I wanted to do is chill on socials and maybe watch some episodes. I really have to get back some motivation to exercise self-care. Unfortunately I am in the trap of doing it only on the weekends…

    1. That’s really cool! I’ve not met many people who also use it. It’s definitely difficult to keep up with it when other things are going on; it’s something I’ve let slide massively with college. I’m trying to start it up again, though! I think a lot of people think the weekend is the only time we can look after ourselves, because it’s when we have the most time. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, though, doing something for yourself is extremely important. I hope you manage to find a way of implementing it into your everyday life.

    1. They’re great, aren’t they? There’s no money-associated guilt, either, which is always a bonus! Netflix is definitely one of my favourite things to do! I love TV.

  5. What a great list – so many great tips! I love going for walks, I find that really clears my head! Also, I’m not sure you can beat binge watching a show, haha. I don’t even mean to do it, it just happens sometimes 😂 tidying my room and decluttering really seem to help too, just seeing the tidy place and it looking good really helps!

    Amy,
    https://creativenails.uk

    1. Thank you so much! Yeah, I love walking. I don’t do it nearly enough because anxiety often stops me from leaving my house, but when I do manage it (alongside someone else) it’s such a therapeutic thing for me! Oh, I know that feeling well, haha! Nothing wrong with binge-watching every now and again, is there? Hah! I’m glad you can relate to some of the tips I shared.

  6. binge watching netflix, getting stuck in a good book and dropping a lush bathbomb! Love these self-care tips – self care is soooooo important! x

    abbiejadewanders.co.uk

  7. Ah these tips are amazing! I find journaling and drawing so therapeutic and a perfect way to unwind. I’m also book-obsessed so reading is definitely my go-to when it comes to relaxing and having a bit of me-time. I do need to have more digital detoxes and breaks from social media though! It can sometimes be full of so much negativity and I can easily spend hoursss online. Loved this post! x

    1. Thank you so much! I’m definitely guilty of spending time online when I should be/could be looking after myself more, but I’m trying to fix that. The first step of changing habits of a lifetime is to recognise them!

    1. Yeah, that’s a big one for me too. I struggle to be productive at times, but when I do gather the energy to clear things out, I feel so much better for it.

  8. I love this post! My favourite way to relax is to have a long hot bath in the evening with bubbles and music. I agree, colouring and journaling are such creative and therapeutic ways to practise self-care. Fab post Rebekah 💖 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    1. Thank you Bexa! A hot bath with bubbles and music sounds like the perfect way to relax. It’s one of my favourite ways to relax, too, though I must admit I don’t do it as much as I’d like.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with that! Taking some time to relax and recuperate can do wonders for our productivity the rest of the time. Maybe you could try some of the ideas I’ve suggested to switch things up a little bit, and maybe find a new hobby you enjoy?

  9. Decluttering is probably one of my biggest and main forms of self-care. I hate clutter and “stuff” and I’d love to live a more minimalist life than I do now – and even now, I don’t have THAT MUCH stuff! (Since my boyfriend moved in to my parents house, my room has more of his stuff in than my own haha!). It’s so therapeutic and I love the whole “out with the old” concept. But I know a lot of people find decluttering harder, if they’re more sentimental with “things”, which thankfully, I’m not! I also love a long bath but that’s a bit difficult at the moment with how warm it is!xxx

    1. I’ve heard a lot of people say they love to declutter as a form of self-care, which I totally wasn’t expecting, but now I think about it, the whole “out with the old” attitude makes complete sense. I’d love to be more minimalistic, too, but I seem to use all the things I own so it’d be a waste to get rid of them for the sake of it. I mean, I do own a lot of books, but we all have our vice, right? I’m with you on the bath one, though! The thought of having one at the moment fills me with dread. I think it’s great that we’re finally experiencing a proper summer (even if I don’t fully embrace it), but I can’t wait for Autumn/Winter, when having a warm bath will feel like heaven again!

  10. Some great tips in here. This is such an important topic and something I think we all need to find out with the amount of time we are “plugged in” in our busy lives. Thanks for sharing
    Mike

    1. Thank you. I completely agree; this is a topic that we definitely need to talk about more than we do at the moment. There’s such a fascination in society to appear busy constantly, when in reality, we all need to relax sometimes!

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