The word self-care can sometimes be associated with trips to the nail salon, shopping for a new outfit, or indulging in a deep tissue massage. Not that there is anything wrong with an occasional treat yourself moment, but there are simpler ways to practice self-care that are truly more valid to its purpose and won’t break the bank.

I once had a clinical supervisor who taught me that true self-care is planned, scheduled, and a routine. It is not running to my favorite clothing store with money in hand, making it rain bills while my inner voice yells, “I had the most horrible day today! I’m going to buy all of the things because I work hard and I deserve every single bit of it!”

My supervisor’s philosophy on self-care was that it was to be used for burn-out prevention and maintenance. Kind of like taking your vitamins in order to prevent illness or sips of water from a glass that is continuously being filled in order to prevent overflow.

In college, my scheduled and routine self-care was running. I ran every morning before class. Sometimes I ran 2 miles, other days I ran 5 miles. It varied according to my energy level but all I cared about was getting it done. This helped me de-stress from the the never ending papers and assignments. During graduate school, I picked up crocheting. I never made anything more complicated than a blanket but it was a great way to separate from writing my research papers.

Examples of no-cost/low cost self-care are:
Exercise such as hiking. walking, running, nature walks, yoga (find a Yoga channel on YouTube)
Meditation/Prayer Treat yourself with time, even if it’s 5 minutes, of being present with the moment and your spirit.
Crafting Crocheting, knitting, sewing, the creative possibilities are limitless.
Journaling Whether it’s before bed to clear your mind or in the morning to sent your intentions, journaling can help organize thoughts that can sometimes feel clouded.
Listening to a Podcast There is a wide rage of podcasts out there. Find one that speaks to your interests and subscribe!
Cook a new recipe. bon appétit and Food 52 recipes are my favorite.
Gardening You don’t need a large space for gardening. Container gardening for small spaces works just fine.
Art Drawing, painting, photography (this can also be done with a smart phone).
Reading Books or blogs; anything that keeps you engaged.
Staying Hydrated Help prevent headaches and feeling fatigued, according to Mayo Clinic.
Healthy Meals Heal your body from within.
Skin-Care Routine One of the most self-loving things you can do for yourself! A simple cleanser and moisturizer goes a long way.

Take any of the examples listed above or your own ideas for self-care and sprinkle them throughout your calendar. The challenging part is actually sticking to the schedule but they say that it takes consistency to create new habits.

Use the calendar app on your phone, computer, or if you are the type that benefits from writing things down, print a weekly and /or monthly calendar and write them in. There are fun stickers you can purchase for those of you that like the creative experience of making an agenda. The stickers help make your plans look and feel fun while motivating you to fulfill your self-care appointments.

Areas of Wellness: All of them!

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