5 self-care practices that are completely free

Mind

Practising self-care needn’t involve splashing the cash on luxury products. As the old adage goes, “the best things in life are free”…

Self-care is serious business. Bloggers promoting the best beauty products to boost skin before bedtime and Youtubers taking us along daytime activities from massages to full-fledged spa treatments, self-care is now seen as an expensive luxury that seems impossible to implement in average lives. Newsflash: the best self-care practices are completely free and simple. In fact, you might already be doing these to some extent already, just not mindfully every day or week – make a promise to yourself, forget the £400 superhuman skin-care product for now and get back to basics with our top tips.

Practice gratitude

The Five-Minute Journal shows how just a few moments can shift your mind. Grab a pen and piece of paper, and start your day by writing down three things you’re grateful for, three things that would be great to do, and a mantra that aligns with how you want to feel (for example: I am confident and capable of tackling today’s to-do list). This sets you up for a positive day, while at night, think of three moments that made the day great – especially on days that seemed the worst – which forces you to focus on the good. The smell of coffee in the morning, sending a message to your mum or smiling to a stranger (warning: might spark confusion in big cities), it’s the littlest things that make you feel grateful, not the grand, life-changing moments.

Exercise intuitively

We don’t need to tell you exercise gets happy hormones firing, but how many times are you doing the same-old workout because it’s set in your weekly schedule, not because you actually want to go but because you think you must? Thanks diet culture.

Intuitive fitness is all about approaching exercise as a form of self-care. It allows for flexibility and promotes the enjoyment of exercise as a motivational factor to move your body. It builds a strong connection to trust your body so you know when you need to slow down and when you have the energy to move more”, Tally Rye says. Her book, Train Happy, challenges you to ask yourself which form of exercise feels best for you today, whether dropping the dumbbells for a walk in the park or simply giving it a miss, it puts you back in charge and makes you feel good. Thanks Tally.

Turn tasks into rituals

If sitting on a yoga mat still scares the hell out of you (with your own thoughts in a weird, impossible-to-achieve position that everyone else seems to master), taking a moment while going by your day-to-day tasks has a big impact too. Next time you’re making coffee or cooking dinner, connect with your senses and pay attention to what you see, smell, hear or taste, which can make you feel calm even when life seems chaotic. This is mindfulness at its core, quieting the brain and being fully present.

Tidy

Tidying your home can de-clutter your mind, it’s why Marie Kondo has sold more than 11 million books about cleaning and organizing your way to a tranquil life. “As a young girl fascinated with tidying, I thought the goal was to get rid of as many things as possible. This single-minded focus on discarding had a negative impact on my health – one day I actually fainted from all the stress!”, Marie Kondo states. The KonMari Method focuses on sorting by category, not rooms, and instead of getting rid of many things as possible, keep the things that spark joy.

You don’t need to fully KonMari your home at once to feel more peaceful, simply start with a bookshelf or bedside table, keep what you cherish and discard items that no longer bring happiness, but don’t forget to thank them for their service before they the bin. We learned that in self-care step one: practice gratitude.

Do a social media detox

“Comparison is the thief of joy”, Theodore Roosevelt, and social media is a slippery slope when it comes to self-comparison. Scrolling down and seeing your colleague get promoted, a long-lost friend travelling through Thailand and couples buying houses together, it’s all a highlight reel, and the only person you should be comparing yourself to, is the one you were yesterday. Put your phone on airplane mode 30 min before bedtime to drown out the noise, before committing to whole social media free days on Sunday. Baby steps, you’ll get there.

By Siobhan

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