Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive

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Taking care of yourself is not a selfish thing to do. Putting yourself before others IS. But, don’t get the two confused. The latter is a habit of being self-absorbed and engaging in life only inasmuch as it is relevant to you. The former, however, means self-care. It is essential to your overall well-being. The problem is that many people automatically think that taking care of themselves has to include a day at a luxury spa or a $300 hair treatment at a trendy salon.

On the contrary, self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, there are many ways to nurture your physical, emotional, mental, intellectual and spiritual well-being while spending little to no money. It is really about finding ways to take time out for relaxation, rejuvenation, healing and nourishment (not just the food kind). With a little thinking and planning ahead, you can incorporate regular time in your life that is intended to nurture yourself.

Self-care should involve exercise, hydration and sleep

self-care, woman by river drinking water

There are certain issues that have become taboo to discuss in America. These issues not only should NOT be ignored or hidden, they should be discussed at length because they are important. Such issues include obesity and living a sedentary lifestyle. Both of these things are disastrous to human health. They have also reached crisis levels in this country. Nearly 42% of all adults in America are obese. Even more startling, is the fact that more than 60% of adults in this country do not get the recommended amount of physical activity. As many as 25% are totally inactive by choice.

Any worthwhile self-care routine, therefore, must include some type of physical exercise. It can be whatever you like to do. This might include taking a hike, dancing, riding a bike, stretching or working out. Staying hydrated is also inexpensive. ”Functional water” is a term that refers to water with added fruits or vegetables, which can boost your immune system or otherwise improve your health. If you are not a big water drinker, you might be utterly amazed at the beneficial effects that proper hydration can have on your life. Also, take care of yourself by getting adequate sleep. If you want to indulge, take a nap in a setting that makes you feel cozy and comforted. Do you like sleeping with a screen in the window or in a hammock? Try to develop good, consistent sleep habits but also give yourself a sleep treat, once in a while.

Spend the day in nature for self-care

self-care, barefeet in sand, pink nail polish

Americans act similar to toddlers on the verge of a tantrum when you suggest to them that they should disconnect from ALL electronics for a day. No matter what excuse you might want to make, there is nothing in life that is so critical that it requires you to be electronically connected all day, every day. Some of the best self-care you can give is to walk away from it all for a day! Nowadays, danger lurks around many a corner, so having a cell phone with you for emergencies only is understandable. Checking email or engaging your target audience on social media is NOT an emergency. (Sorry, but some people need to be told that.)

Find a place where you can sit by a running stream and listen to its sounds as it babbles over the rocks. Go to a quiet place in the early morning or evening where you can hear birdsong. Kick off your shoes and walk around in nature. This is called ”grounding,”  or ”earthing,” and it is really good for your health. Feel the sunlight and fresh air on your skin. Even in colder months, splash some water from a stream or river onto your face. If you like to write or draw, take a journal or sketch book along. Just take time to disconnect from electronics and RE-connect with nature.

Nurture yourself by being social

self-czare, woman in red tee shirt, curly brown hair, glasses, sitting in grass, blank man wearing glasses

In this fast-past world, everyone is coming and going, sometimes, so quickly, that there is little time to connect with others. Sure, you talk to people at work and have brief conversations with family members, as needed. To engage in self-care, try to give yourself more than that. God created us as social beings. We thrive on interaction. Even if it’s through text messaging or social media, make it a priority in your life to connect with others. Don’t become isolated. In-person connections are always best, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop friendships online.

To be fully nurtured, we, as human beings, need to interact with others outside of the workplace or family obligations. Consider writing letters for fun. Try meeting up with a friend on your lunch break to take a brisk walk and have a chat. Start a weekly or monthly tradition, like meeting friends at a local pizza shop where everyone pitches in to cover the cost. Stay after church for a few minutes to greet others. The main point here is to slow down in life and take care of yourself by allowing ample opportunities for social interaction. It’s important.

Customize your self-care to fit your needs

Perhaps you currently feel run down or like you need to lose a few pounds or could use a night out with friends. Adapt your self-care routine to fit your current needs. If you need more exercise, make sure you get it. If you feel lonely, call a friend. Showing signs of chronic dehydration? Drink more water. Whatever it is you need, make it the central focus of your self-care. Nourish yourself. Let yourself rest. Take time for fun. Provide for yourself just as you provide for the well-being of your loved ones. Self-love is not self-ish.

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