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Three Inexpensive Forms of Self-Care

Self-care doesn’t always have to cost the same price as a mortgage or a new Louis Vuitton bag. Here are some cost-effective ways to prioritize self-care.


Self-Reflection Wins Again This Week

During my second week in New York City I found myself in more meetings and more opportunities to maximize my time here. While many of these meetings left me feeling excited about both the possibilities of and my future in research, I found myself overwhelmed by the weekend, to the point where I did something I said I would leave in 2022. I took work home to complete over the weekend.


I’ve been working on boundaries with this new job, trying to make myself understand that no job is worth every minute of my time. I learned this week that I can only do so much. So, I started a prioritization list; if I could complete three things on my priority list then I was free to do as much as or as little work I was wanted for the rest of the day. I gained some clarity from this technique I'm determined to master. The bottom line, the world won’t stop if I don’t tackle it all in one day.


How to Practice Self-Care Without Breaking the Bank

A three week vacation around the world sounds like a great way to practice self-care. But what if time or money is an issue? Here are three inexpensive ways to exercise self-care this week.


1. Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness is about centering your mind and allowing your entire body to reset, focusing on what matters. This week I intentionally paid more attention to the mindfulness alerts the Apple Watch sends me. While I wasn’t perfect by taking the opportunity to utilize this technique every day, I still completed more days with a mindfulness activity than the previous week. And that should be the goal: to be a better version of yourself than before. Try some deep breathing exercise for one minute (or longer if you’ve been at this a while). If you do not have an Apple Watch, consider using a timer or phone application to do this.


2. Walking in your Neighborhood

You don’t need to be a gym rat to have good exercise practices. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of physical activity each week. That is about 30 minutes per day, five days per week. If 30 minutes a day is too much too soon, try 20 minutes and build on this each week. Physical activity includes any activity which increases your heart rate. Consider jogging, hiking, biking, dancing, swimming, boxing, and tennis as a few recommendations. If none of these work for you, consider starting out with some brisk walking.


3. Start a garden

Gardening is thought to be therapeutic during times of stress, likely due to the combination of physical activity with social interaction and exposure to sunlight. According to the Home Garden Seed Association cucumbers, kale, and squash are some of the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden. You can grow plants too if you desire. Gardening takes time, but is a cost-effective opportunity to do something that is enjoyable.




Photo credit: Markus Spiske on Unsplash



Self-Care Priorities

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 8 dimensions of wellness describes the need for creating balance, including making sure we have time to do the things that make us feel happy and fulfilled. The forms of self-care provided in this blog are not meant to be exhaustive. Self-care will look differently for everyone. Take some time this week to reflect on activities which make you happy and fulfilled, and then incorporate those activities into your weekly routine.



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References:


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 2). How much physical activity do adults need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm


Home Garden Seed Association. (n.d). Easy from seed vegetables. Home Garden Association. https://homegardenseedassociation.com/easy-from-seed-vegetables

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2016. Creating a healthier life: a step-by-step guide to wellness. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma16-4958.pdf

Thompson, R. (2018). Gardening for health: a regular dose of gardening. Clinical Medicine, 18(3), 201.


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