The challenges of recent years have led to an increase in mental health concerns for many people. A 2021 study on well-being and work culture by Mind Share Partners revealed that a significant number of workers in the United States, across different levels of seniority, have experienced mental health difficulties for extended periods of time.1
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to prioritize your psychological health. Here are five budget-friendly ways to help you practice self-care:
Many people perceive self-care to be expensive. In reality, the most accessible self-care is often the simplest.
1. Get enough sleep
It may sound simple, but getting enough sleep can be challenging. Even if you’re exhausted at the end of the day, late-night activities such as binge-watching shows and scrolling social media can keep you awake. These activities take away essential minutes or hours of sleep that can make a difference in how you feel the next day. Remember that sleep is a critical part of restoring your mind and body. Set a bedtime that works with your schedule and stick to it to give your mind a restful night.
2. Get moving
You don’t have to spend money to get moving. There’s no need for extravagant equipment or pricey gym memberships to stay active. If you don’t have time for a full workout, even a brief 15-minute walk can alleviate stress and enhance your overall mental health. Basic exercises like crunches, squats and push-ups can also be effective. Take advantage of public spaces and the outdoors to get physical without spending a penny.
3. Balance your information intake
The continuous flow of information in today’s fast-paced world can be overwhelming. While staying informed is important, excessive exposure to news and information can contribute to stress. Making the choice to unplug periodically and engage in activities that uplift and relax you can contribute to a more positive mindset. You'll feel better as a result.
4. Eat smarter
Saving money is a great way to reduce stress, and cooking at home can be a cheaper and healthier alternative to dining out. You can generally feed a family of four at home for the same price as one or two at a restaurant. To make the best of your time and money, plan your weekly meals in advance, purchase only what you plan to use—and remember to look at the items you currently have in your pantry to avoid unnecessary purchases. Don’t shop when you’re hungry, when you might be tempted to stray from your list and resort to impulse-buying that won’t help your budget. These small adjustments will make a difference in the type of meals you eat and the money you spend.
5. Practice grounding
Grounding refers to techniques that can ease stress and anxiety by directing your focus to the present moment and noticing what’s happening within and around you. This can be challenging in a digital-driven, fast-moving world, but you can start by engaging your senses. For example, ask yourself questions such as, “What are five things I can see?” Look for small details or patterns. “What are three things I can hear?”
Pay attention to sounds your mind has tuned out, such as a ticking clock, distant traffic or trees blowing in the wind. By shifting your attention from overwhelming thoughts to your immediate surroundings, you can redirect your attention and put your mind at ease.
Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive
Adapting self-care practices to suit your budget is entirely possible. Remember that health is wealth, and the consequences of overlooking your well-being can be more costly in the long term. Even small changes can have a significant effect on your life—so make self-care a priority.