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Relaxing can sometimes feel like a beautiful far off dream with no way to get to it, especially when you get on your favorite social media and see people putting $1k gold flake face masks on, and spending their Tuesday’s in the spa (when do these people work?!). Let me say this once and for all. Relaxing does not have to be expensive. Relaxing does not have to be time-consuming. In fact, in my opinion, it shouldn’t be. Have you ever gone on vacation and when you come back had the distinct feeling that you need a vacation to recover from the last one? Truth is, relaxing is something we forget to do so often, that when we actually do it, we OVER do it and that stresses us out, and defeats the purpose of trying to relax in the first place. In fact, I strongly believe in these self care ideas that DON’T COST ANYTHING AT ALL.
So what’s a broke time-constrained gal to do? It’s easy, take 5 minutes EVERY DAY. I know what you’re thinking, “WHOA, EVERY DAY? Ain’t nobody got time for that”. I get it. I work, I blog, I have a household and a baby and dogs and husband andandand…” we all have our situations. But if we build relaxing into our daily schedule, we don’t have to worry as much about fitting in large-scale vacations, or over-indulging when opportunities to relax actually do come up. Having a list of self care ideas at your fingertips can help you be better prepared. And more inspired. Being relaxed actually makes us calmer, more focused on the necessities in our daily schedule and ready for the curve balls that life throws at us. So here are a few self care ideas to build relaxation into your daily schedule:
1 | Read a book
There are two problems with reading a book for relaxation. A) Stopping after five minutes can be downright impossible sometimes, and B) books are addictive (and can get expensive!) So here are my suggestions for these issues:
A) try to find time to read a chapter every day. Studies show it helps with intelligence as well. If you can’t manage a whole chapter, try setting your alarm five minutes earlier to read a few pages before the baby gets up. Or try reading a few pages while eating your lunch at work. Or finally make reading for a few minutes the last thing you do before bed every night (instead of Facebook)!
B) Depending on the services you have, there are lots of places to get free books to download! Check out iBooks, B&N Nook, Bookbub, Amazon Kindle, Open Library, and so much more, they all have ‘free’ book sections! I personally love Amazon Kindle since my husband and I have this device, and if you want to “splurge”, the Kindle Unlimited service is amazing!
2 | Take hot bath
Is there anything more easy or relaxing than taking a hot bath? Hot tubs are up there, and I would never turn down a hot shower either. Talk about easy. Lock the door, light a candle if you have one (no, it doesn’t have to be fancy aromatherapy, and no you don’t need essential oils, or soap bombs. Just light a tea light if that’s all you have, its about the ambiance. Dim lights (or not), candle flickering, and warm water. Yes a 30 minute soak would be lovely, realistic? Probably not. Especially if you have kids. 5 minutes. Turn it on while you’re doing something else, jump in when its filled. Close your eyes, and jump back out long before it ever gets cold. Heck you could even grab a book to read WHILE you’re soaking (multitasking for the win)! No bath or hot tub? A shower will definitely do the trick. Just make sure you lock the door to limit the interruptions, light some candles, and crank up the heat for some renewing steam.
3 | Go on a walk
Sometimes the more stressed you feel, the less you want to do anything active. Forcing yourself to walk away from the situation can do you incredible good both physically and mentally though. It doesn’t have to be long or intense, and you don’t even have to change your shoes (although possible, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend stilettos). Just get up and walk somewhere. Walk to the corner store, walk the perimeter of your backyard, walk up and down the block, or around your cubicle farm if that’s where you are. Can’t leave the kids? Take the stroller. Raining or on a conference call? Walk in place! Do some jumping jacks. I know it sounds insane, but that’s part of the process. Just do something, and you’ll either feel better after, or you’ll stop from laughing and either way you’ve relaxed in less than five minutes right?
4 | Sing
Blast your favorite Disney song, or Eminem or Pink Floyd, (or whatever makes you happy), and sing your lungs out for a couple songs. It doesn’t have to be good, in fact it shouldn’t be. Sing in different pitches, sing purposely off-key, sing like no one is listening. People around? Sing in the shower. At work? Sit in your car. Family home? Have a family karaoke in the living room! Have a cold and sore throat with no voice? Well, I can’t help there, I recommend extra doses of Vitamin C and rest and save your singing for another day.
5 | Find a hobby
This one probably sounds intimidating, but if you have a hobby – then do it! If your hobby takes place away from home (IE: skydiving), or is far too expensive to maintain daily (IE: yachting), could you find another, similar hobby? For example if you enjoy skydiving, is there a video game you could play that could give a similar adrenaline rush? If you are an avid sailor but can’t make it out every day, could you buy a small boat to race in your pool? Or a drone to play with in the backyard? Hobbies can be expensive, but the sense of rush and excitement and PASSION you feel when you do them can be worth the stress relief. Find something you can start incorporating into your daily routine. Get up a little earlier to enjoy before work, or stay up a little later to fit in. It doesn’t have to be expensive, look around your house – what do you ENJOY doing, what brings a smile to your face or a sense of relief when you do it? Find it, and do it. Everyday.
6 | Be creative
Artsy hobbies such as painting and drawing can be started with a pencil and paper. Draw your cat! Look up YouTube drawing videos. Want to paint? Does your kid have any paints? Look up tutorials on how to MAKE paint on Pinterest, use interesting things around the house to ‘paint’ with – potatoes, tin foil, tissues etc. So maybe they won’t be archival and around in 10 years. So what? Experiment! Have fun! Play with crayons! Write a poem! Baking, cooking, cookie decorating are tasty creative hobbies and can be mostly done with things around the house – look on Pinterest for more inspiration and try to find five minutes to make one simple picture every single day.
7 | Laugh
Seems like an overly simple thing right? Turn on YouTube, search for comedians and LAUGH. Five minutes, every day. It’s not hard! Find a video before you even roll out of bed. Listen to a hilarious podcast while you are in the shower or driving to work. Laughing literally relaxes your face muscles and de-stresses you, no excuses – go find something to laugh at right now!
8 | Have a DIY spa day
Sure a day at the spa and $1k face-masks would be fun, but if you don’t have the time or the money for it (and who does??), there are always home remedies. Let me preface this by saying, if you don’t know what you’re doing try to get your information from licensed aesthetician blogs not your everyday pinteresters. But homemade exfoliaters, mani/pedi’s, and DIY hair treatments are all easy to do with ingredients in your home and don’t take much time to leave you feeling refreshed and feeling great!
9 | Exercise
Contrary to popular belief, you DON’T need a gym membership, $100 yoga pants, or the newest trendy machine to exercise. You need something to wear (whatever in your closet that is easy to move in), somewhere to work out (I workout in the tiny 4 foot gap between my coffee table and TV), and something to do. Yoga, Pilates, running, and circuit training are all amazing. I’ve been doing the FREE workout challenges from Idealfit lately- I LOVE them and they are only about 20 minutes long! Bikini Body Mommy has FREE 90 day workout challenges that are really short – like closer to 10 minutes a day! I’ve used the Nike Training Club app for years – it’s free, fantastic workouts and videos that vary from 5 minutes to an hour and no equipment required!
Have a workout that requires equipment you don’t have? Use a towel instead of a yoga mat, use water-bottles instead of dumbbells, and use books or a chair instead of a step block. Be creative and resourceful, staying in shape doesn’t have to be expensive or even time consuming. Just need to be consistent. And ANY amount of time spent exercising is good for your mental health so don’t focus on the time!
10 | Be thankful
Being thankful might not sound like much, but think about when YOU receive a genuine sense of appreciation – it feels great! So take a moment every day to give an authentic and genuine ‘thank you’ to someone. Bonus points if you write it in a card. Don’t just say ‘thank you’ to someone who held the door open (although you should do that as well), seriously contemplate how someone has helped, supported or changed a situation for you recently and show appreciation for that. You’ll feel better, they will feel better and they may even pass that on!
11 | Have a power nap
Ah the old power nap. I don’t recommend this one in a five minute span, that can sometimes make things worse, but 15-30 minutes a day can revitalize you, refresh your mind and give you a second wind that will encourage even more productivity! Fit it in during lunch by napping in your car, or right after work (maybe before picking up the kids from daycare?)!
12 | Get your drink on
Whatever you enjoy, sip accordingly. A steaming cup of tea, a bold cup of coffee, a creamy cup of hot chocolate, even an iced water if that’s your ideal. But take a few minutes to just sit and drink. Nothing else. No Facebook, no Pinterest or YouTube. Maybe read a book but that’s it! Just take a moment to enjoy your favorite beverage. Sit on a comfy chair, or watch the sunrise, listen to the rain, close your eyes, whatever you can do to not multitask!
13 | Meditate on that
Meditation is one of the easiest ways to take a moment, reflect on yourself, and be fully present in your life. It’s also entirely free. Grab a pillow, hide in the closet for a bit of quiet, close your eyes and stop thinking.
Have more than 5 minutes but still limited cash?
Take a daycation
Nope, doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Drive to the next town and pretend you are tourists who have never been there. Have a picnic in the park, explore hole in the wall shops you’ve never seen before and go to all the museums and art galleries you can find. Most have free or cheap entry and you can learn about local history and meet new people!
If you’ve got all day, a couch and a device to watch movies on – you are all set. Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu will allow you to stream movies all day long. Don’t have an account? Invite over someone who does and use their account. No one you know has one? Have a potluck style movie marathon, dig out your old DVDs and have everyone bring an option or two to choose from. Make the food potluck as well, everyone brings a different snack and just be lazy!
BONUS! Self Care Ideas for Minimal Investment
All that being said, it’s okay to splurge on yourself a little bit as well! Afterall, refusing to invest in yourself sends dangerous signals to the brain that you aren’t worth it! It’s more than okay to spend money once-in-a-while, but it still doesn’t have to be much to make a difference! Here are 3 more self care ideas for minimal investment!
1 | Drink Up
We talked about taking a moment to drink a cup of coffee (or tea or iced water, etc. whatever your cup of tea) and simply enjoy the moment. A small investment can one-up this moment, whether it is by indulging in your favorite Starbucks beverage (instead of home-brewed coffee), enjoying a glass of your favorite wine, or stopping by your favorite diner for a premium milkshake! Remember to sip slowly and savor the flavor as you live in the moment!
2 | Meditate
Of course meditating can be free, absolutely no reason to spend money if you don’t need to. However, if you want to get a little more out of your meditation session, try this incredible meditation assistant. It’s like having a mediation coach in your ear with tips, calming sounds, oh and it measures your brain activity so it can respond accordingly to help you relax more effectively. Now, before you point out the not so minimal cost, I can appreciate that – unfortunately, there is nothing else similar on the market! That said, as someone who has personally borrowed one (and tried to permanently borrow it), I can promise you it’s worth its weight in gold!
3 | Beautify
To be honest, I’m not usually one for vanity, however, there is something to be said about the way you feel about yourself when you look good! Whether it’s indulging in your favorite perfume, splurging on your favorite skincare product, even investing in a fun subscription service, or “treat-yo-self” to a new piece to for your wardrobe. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, and it certainly doesn’t have to be something you do often. But every-once-in-a-while, splurging on yourself when you can, is a fantastic confidence booster.
Your turn! Share below which of these self care ideas you’re going to try to incorporate into your day and what other ones you would add to this list! There is no excuse to not build relaxation into your day with these great self care ideas, it’s often just a matter of moving Facebook a little lower on the priority list!
Welcome! I live in Northern California with my husband, our toddler, and two dogs. I’m a writer, illustrator, and personal development consultant.
I’m on a mission to create a culture of happier, thriving mamas! I help calm the chaos so they can reclaim their happiness, rediscover their identity, and reach new levels of success in their endeavors.
This site is a place to find value in your voice and strength to become the best version of yourself so you can go from simply existing day-to-day to LIVING ON PURPOSE.