I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care/self-love lately and what it means in our lives. As a society we have developed this idea that self-care means pampering ourselves. Pampering ourselves is definitely something we need to do. My belief is that if we don’t do it for ourselves we cannot expect someone else to do it for us. We need to treat ourselves the way we deserve to be treated. We need to set that standard for ourselves.
Our idea of pampering ourselves is often associated with experiences that have prices and/or material things. I have nothing wrong with the idea of spoiling yourself. You work hard, you’ve earned what you have, there is nothing wrong with spending it on yourself.
Money does not grow on trees though, and I think we sometimes forget that self-love and care does not have to include a monetary transaction. In the midst of our lives I think most of us have forgotten about the basic joys and care that we can provide ourselves.
This list that I am sharing includes 10 cost-free self-care ideas. These can be things you do every once in a while, but I would also encourage you to try and see if you can include these in your daily routine.
For optimal health we need to be taking care of ourselves. No one can do it for us. It needs to be a choice and a commitment that we make.
1. A full night’s rest
This is something we should be doing all the time; however, I will be the first to admit that I don’t always give myself this essential form of care. Someone recently reminded me that sleep is not a luxury, it is something we have to be doing in order to show up as our best selves. So sleep, sleep well. The world will keep spinning. In order for you to do your best you need rest.
2. A simple but fulfilling home-cooked meal
Food has always been powerful for me. There are two parts to this. First, I have always known that certain foods make me feel better from the inside out. Second, food has always been linked to a sense of family and gratitude for me. Learn what works and doesn’t work for you. Be kind to yourself where food is involved. Always remember to be grateful for what is in front of you.
3. A conversation with a friend or family member
This is another one of those things that just fills me up with gratitude. Gratitude is one of the most fulfilling feelings I know.
4. Movement. Go for a run, swim, a yoga class. Find a way to move
There is a sense of freedom that comes from moving your body that is beautiful. Then there are also so many facts about the release of positive hormones when you exercise. This is one of the most natural ways we take care of ourselves.
5. Watch the sunset/sunrise
Life doesn’t always look like a movie or an instagram feed. It can be messy. You might be dreaming of being somewhere much better than where you are right now. That is okay, dreams are good. Just remember that where you are right now can be beautiful too, you just need to be looking for it. I’m obsessed with the sky and I love that it is something I can enjoy from anywhere in the world.
6. Take a walk outside
Fresh air can be a life changer. Cold or hot it’s just a reminder to breathe in and out.
7. Take a nap
I started developing this mindset that naps were not good because they were unproductive. Then I realised that when I teach I always tell people that if they fall asleep during shavasana it is because their body needs sleep. This was one of those times I needed to start listening to myself. Naps aren’t bad, sometimes they are just what you need.
8. Read, draw, sew. Do something, anything creative that makes you happy
Doing what you love is so important and it doesn’t have to cost you anything.
Something my mum used to say is when you don’t know what to do for yourself, try doing something for someone else.
10. Listen to music and dance
This is honestly what I believe is my superpower of cost free self-care. I turn off the lights in my room, turn on my music, and just let my body flow. It’s a time when I also let myself just enjoy the lyrics and let my body move without any judgement of fear.
Self-care is so important to live a balanced life. Getting a mani-pedi or going out to a nice restaurant is all great. Trust me, I would love to be doing that all time but it is not practical for my lifestyle or finances. Sometimes I need quiet, sometimes I need simple, sometimes I need cost-free.
Not being able to afford something is not an excuse for not taking care of yourself. Every decision you make can be done from a place of love and care. It can be done with your optimal health in mind, that is self-care.
The writer is a Muscat-based student, certified yoga instructor, empowerment coach and host of the podcast ‘LIVE INSPIRED’. email@example.com