5 Free ways to Practice Self-care

The Harvard Business Review defines self-care broadly as: “your relationship and connection to self.” However, the HBR clarifies that it is more than physical health (even though it is of upmost importance) and widens the concept of self-care to “paying attention to a wider set of criteria, including care of the mind, emotions, relationships, environment, time, and resources.” In that sense, we can see that practicing self-care goes beyond bubble baths and getting enough zzzs.

This opens up a wider conversation surrounding our daily self-care routines. Here are 5 ways to practice self-care without spending a dollar:

  1. Practice saying no. This is a big one. Most of us LOVE to help our loved ones out. We think that giving of our resources (which can include money, time, and energy) for the purpose of aiding others is a worthwhile endeavor that brings great joy but what happens when we say yes too much? What happens when we only give? Our ability to openly receive becomes blocked and we become resentful and depleted. Learn to say no when it feels appropriate and say yes to things that fill you up.
  2. Set healthy boundaries. This one is closely related to saying no but it goes a step further and asks us to look at our relationships with ourselves and others. Take a close look at your relationships, are there any boundaries that need to be set? Some ideas are: limiting time spent with a toxic co-worker or family member, keeping your personal and professional lives separate, and taking time to be alone (even if you are a parent or a partner). Just because you think “should” does not mean it’s healthy or good for you.
  3. Meditate. The art of meditation has gained recent popularity in the West and for a great reason: we live extremely fast-paced lives and we often yearn for peace, quiet, and tranquility. There are some great downloadable apps (like Buddhify, Headspace, and Calm) that make learning to meditate easy and fun!
  4. Positive self-talk. We are often our worst enemies. When talking to yourself (especially in moments of difficult emotions) think: “how would my best friend talk to me in this moment?” and talk to yourself as someone who deeply loves you. Just like the quote says: “Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone’s mean to you all the time.”
  5. Process your emotions. Unprocessed negative emotions wreak havoc on the mind and body. Anger, guilt, shame, grief, sadness, and jealousy are all normal emotions we ALL feel; however, learning healthy ways to process them is an integral part of our growth process. Talk therapy with a professional, open conversations with friends and family, exercise, journaling, and creative projects are all great ways to healthily process such emotions.

You cannot drink from an empty cup. Fill yourself up. You’re worth it. Happy self-caring!