The stresses of the last few years have resulted in increased mental health issues for many people. Anxiety about COVID-19 can be overwhelming, and social distancing, while necessary, can make coping even more challenging. A recent Mind Share Partners study on mental well-being and work culture found that “mental health challenges are impacting a majority of U.S. workers at all levels of seniority for significant periods of time.”1 This is why it’s more important than ever to practice self-care.

Unfortunately, many people perceive self-care to be expensive. But you don’t have to spend money on gym fees, massages and expensive vacations. In reality, the most accessible self-care is often the simplest. Here are five key ways to practice self-care on a budget:


Many people perceive self-care to be expensive. In reality, the most accessible self-care is often the simplest.


1. Prioritize sleep

It may sound simple, but getting enough sleep to get through the day can be challenging. Even when you’re exhausted, you might be staying up late binging shows or scrolling social media. While downtime is important, it can take away essential minutes or hours of sleep that can make a difference the next day. Remember that sleep is a critical part of restoring your mind and body, so set a bedtime that works with your schedule and stick to it. Make every effort to go to bed early, or at least on time, and put your electronics down even earlier to give your mind a restful night.

2. Get moving

You don’t have to spend a lot to get moving. In fact, you can save money by forgetting about fancy equipment and expensive gym fees. Workout space and accessories can be found right in your home. Even if you don’t have time for a full workout, 15 minutes of physical activity can help you reduce stress and improve your health. Instead of gym classes, tone your body with simple crunches, squats and push-ups. All you need are workout clothes and a clean towel! Public spaces and the great outdoors are also great options to move it without spending a penny.

3. Balance your mental intake

A lot is happening in the world, and it's easy to feel like you need to be constantly connected to know what’s going on. No matter what topic you’re interested in, more information is released every day than one person can consume. While staying informed is important, also take time to unplug and focus on things that are uplifting, positive and soothing. Resist the urge to stay connected all day long. 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 cheaper and healthier than 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 meals for the upcoming week, then purchase only what you plan to use—and be sure to take stock of what you already have so you don’t buy more than you need. Also, don’t shop when you’re hungry. If you’re hungry, you’re more likely to stray from your list and fall prey 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 concentrating on the present moment—noticing what is happening within and around you. Ask yourself questions such as, what are five things you can see? (Look for small details or patterns.) What are three things you 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 focus from what may be overwhelming you to what's happening around you, you can redirect your attention and put your mind at ease.

The definition of self-care can vary depending on your lifestyle and situation. But however you go about it, 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.