Self-care has become one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, promising a year full of health, well-being, and self-love. However, the problem with self-care as a concept is that it is extremely vague. What does promising to take care of yourself actually entail? Is it possible to invest in self-care without spending a fortune on exclusive treatments and high-tech gadgets?
According to INC (1), the most popular New Year’s resolution for 2019 is to eat better or diet. Now, with increasing evidence showing that dieting is both ineffective and bad for your overall health, your focus should definitely be on simply improving your diet rather than drastically restricting it.
There are a few items that can help you do that. A slow cooker is a great way to eat healthier and save money, and some models cost under $50. A juice blender is great for people who want a way to have a healthy breakfast on the go, with cheaper models costing as little as $20.
Self-care for mental health can mean different things for different people. If you need to reduce stress, meditation is an excellent tool with loads of free options — try an app such as Insight Timer to help get you started. Journaling is another great budget-friendly, stress-busting habit, which can give you a sense of order and control.
It is also crucial that you take care of any unresolved or undiagnosed mental health disorders you may be suffering from, so go see a medical professional if you suspect you may have depression, anxiety, seasonal affective disorder, or any other issue.
Don’t forget that your mental health is strongly connected to your physical well-being, so regular check-ups are in order. One area people tend to neglect is dental care. Poor dental hygiene can be both a result of and a contributing factor to depression, not to mention affecting your physical wellbeing. This guide to affordable health insurance can help you keep these costs under check.
Exercise doesn’t have to cost you anything. For example, jogging, walking, and hiking are all great forms of exercise that can be done for free, and there are some excellent free YouTube channels for workouts from yoga to Pilates.
If you do want to invest in your fitness, go for some new exercise gear that gets you excited for your workouts. Health.com has a great guide to buying budget-friendly workout clothes without sacrificing quality. Alternatively, you could spring for that gym membership — just make sure you make it worth your money by going regularly.
Sleep is often neglected as a health habit, especially compared to diet and exercise, but it is just as important as everything else. One of your main resolutions for the year should be to sleep better, and there are a few simple ways to achieve this.
Firstly, create a consistent sleep routine and stick to it. This means going to sleep at the same time every night to wake up energized and refreshed in the morning. This is free, and it’s possibly the most important part. However, you can enhance your sleep with small, affordable luxuries such as high-quality bedding or a soothing pillow mist spray.
Self-care is often used as an advertising tool to sell luxury and expensive wellness items. However, the truth is that true self-care is available to everyone and can actually cost very little (even nothing at all). The items you purchase for self-care should be tools to support lifestyle improvements, not the improvements themselves. The most important thing is your attitude and commitment to taking better care of your mind and body — the stuff is just there to help.
(1) editor’s note: Inc. is an American weekly magazine which publishes about small businesses and startups (Wikipedia)