The 5 C's of Self-Care on a Budget
Let's be real! 2020 and its continued unpredictable events is like something out of a movie. It has turned many lives upside down, and we are all trying to keep it together. From COVID-19, continued racial injustices, financial struggles, making significant career and education decisions, hitting huge milestones like graduation in the midst of chaos and isolation... the list is endless! Fortunately, we are all in this together. And, as long as we continue to uplift each other and share helpful tips to stay sane, there's hope that we will make it through these difficult times.
That being said, here at SMMC, we are firm believers in self care and highly advocate for treating yourself without breaking the bank. So, we put together a few tips in an effort to add to your ideas and/or motivate you to start practicing self-care/self-love on a budget!
Consider your needs.
The first step to practicing self-care on a budget is knowing what you need mentally, physically and spiritually. How much is it going to cost you to get these needs? Is it sustainable? Can you afford it? These are important questions, especially because you do not want your leisure time and budget to become a stressor in the long term.
Create a "care" budget category.
Considering COVID-19 and it's effects on the economy has caused some people to take on more responsibilities in their household and or relationships, we understand that your budget has most likely changed as well.
According to Rachel Miller, a Deputy Editor of VICE, creating a care budget isn’t about ranking other people’s needs. It’s about carefully considering your own needs, values, and strengths, and being honest with yourself about how much you actually have to give to others. You shouldn't have to pour from an empty cup, so you should always take care of yourself so that you are in the best position to help your loved ones.
Like all other types of budget categories, your "care-budget" will also allow you to continue setting financial boundaries. Need help setting up a budget or "spending plan" that considers all your needs, values, and goals? Check out our Budgeting page or register for our upcoming webinar, "Budget Hacks", on October 21st!
Curate a "feel good" playlist.
Sometimes having a good time or relaxing moment doesn't cost a thing! Below are some cost-friendly and free ways to relieve stress and foster self care. Free and low-cost options for self care are more sustainable given that our finances can change at any given moment.
According to the University of Nevada Reno's Counseling Services article, Releasing Stress Through the Power of Music, music can have positive a positive impact on your mind and spirit. Specifically, faster music has the ability to make you feel more alert and allow you to focus better, Upbeat music has the ability to help you foster a positive outlook on life and lastly, slower music can ease your mind, relax your muscles and soothe you through a stressful day you might behaving. In this same article, the author(s) stressed the fact that music is effective for relaxation and stress management. That being said, consider picking music that allows you to feel whatever you need in the moment - and compile a playlist you can always add to!
Compile a hobby list.
Experts say that having a hobby can be a huge benefit to your mental health. So why not do something you love to feel good?
When picking a hobby or several-- you should try to stay within your budget and even better if you are able to engage in cost-free hobbies! For example:
- Practicing free yoga or dance sessions online or on your TV
- Drawing, painting, and other crafts (take into account the cost of supplies)
- Cooking/learning some new recipes (which allows you to save instead of ordering take out)
- Reading (many libraries are offering free online access to residents within their zip code)
- Writing or journaling as a form of expression
- Playing video games
Do not be afraid of trying something new. You might find a new favorite hobby!
Create a safe, loving environment for yourself (virtual or not).
Last but not least, it is now more important than ever to create a non-stressful environment! With everything going on in the world, it is a great idea to protect your space and continue to take care of your mental health during this pandemic. Below, we have created free vs. low-cost ideas-starter that you can use to create your own safe (physical or mental) space! For mental space, you are fostering an inward positivity and healthy mindset while for your physical space, you are making deliberate effort to control on what you want or allow around you physically.
|Clean out social media of negative messages/people
||Home facials/spa days
|Have or create a support system
||Art supplies for creative activities
||Donating to local charities (time or money)
||Supplies for hobbies like knitting, sewing, etc.
|Subscribe to social media focused on similar interests
||New skills certifications (compare costs/values/sources)
|Fill your space with affirming notes or messages