Oftentimes when we think of the words “self care,” the image of a decadent bath with candles and crystals and rose petals comes to mind, right? The truth is, self care doesn’t have to be an extravagant act that can only be fit in a few times a year. Nor does it have to be expensive, or inaccessible.
The truth is, some of the greatest acts of self care are actually totally free.
This post will share a round up of my favorite ways to incorporate more self care into every day moments. Not only are all of these self care tips totally free, but they’re also available to you anytime you’re in a rut.
What is Self Care?
I like to think of self care like an act of love towards myself. Self care can work to treat the physical body, the mind, and the heart.
These loving acts of kindness can show up in a variety of ways, and can easily be woven into your daily life once you get the hang of it. If you’re new to self care or mindfulness practices, check out my post on habit stacking to work on building those positive habits into your life.
Self care can be a big act, like booking a spa day with your girlfriends. Or, it can be a smaller act, like taking a few intentionally deep breaths.
Remember, true self care is designed to replenish you. This means it’s not something that’s meant to be stressful. Like…at all. That means if it’s stretching your budget, or you’re pressed for time, or your self care becomes another to-do list- then pause, and reassess. Let these acts fill up your cup, rather than drain it.
How Often Should I Do Self Care?
I’m someone who firmly believes self care should be incorporated into your every day. Look, I get it- all the new moms out there chasing a toddler and nursing a newborn are thinking that’s impossible. Or the millions of other people who are dealing with the stress of work, the busyness of homelife, practices, schedules, commuting, socializing, and just….life.
I know when you first start something, especially if that something is brand new, it might feel impossible. But it’s not. Not really.
And once you get started, then it becomes easier to incorporate it. Plus, you’ll start to crave it. More importantly, you deserve those little pockets of peace in your day that fill you back up.
8 Free Self Care Tips For Everyday Moments
The reason I love these particular self care tips is that they’re all totally free. All you need is YOU. All you need is to show up fully for yourself every day.
One of the greatest benefits of showing up in this way is that you build more confidence, self love, and inner trust. Your confidence grows when you take better care of yourself. Self love expands with these acts that serve as love notes. And inner trust is built every time you make a commitment to yourself, and you keep it.
What Is Mindfulness?
A huge component of weaving these self care tips into your life is by utilizing mindfulness. Mindfulness occurs when you observe, rather than react.
You don’t have to be seated in meditation in order to practice mindfulness, although meditation is a great way to observe your thoughts more clearly. Check out my post on different forms of moving meditation if the thought of sitting still makes your skin itch.
When you practice mindfulness, you’re able to notice yourself more clearly. You’re able to pause because you respond. And you’re able to notice patterns, behaviors, and tendencies- both the good and the bad.
Mindfulness is total neutrality. So, if you notice a thought that’s unkind, you simply notice it- rather than judge it. In this place of neutrality, you’re able to study yourself the same way you’ve studied a book or a class.
Stretch While Waiting
Okay, you probably know I’m a very body type person based on my profession of being a yoga teacher and all. This is why stretching when waiting is my number one top self care tip. This is something I do every morning when I’m waiting for the water to boil for my tea. It’s just a few minutes, but it makes me feel amazing.
I want you to notice all those in-between moments where you’re waiting for something- whether that’s at work, or at the train, or for the water to boil. Now, start to add little stretches into those moments. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate yoga class, just a few feel good movements.
Intentionally Deep Breaths
There’s a reason why breath control is one of the eight limbs of yoga: because breath can truly change the course of our day. Think about it, we’re taught how to breathe in particular ways for giving birth, taking ice baths, or navigating panic attacks. Breath alone can regulate your nervous system immensely when done correctly.
I have plenty of breathing options on my app in the Pranayama section. But if you want to start super simple right now simply close your eyes, or soften your gaze. Take a full inhale through your nose, hold your breath for just a beat at the top. Then exhale through your mouth, trying to drag out the length of the breath to be super long. Hold for a beat at the bottom. Repeat three times, and notice how you feel. Voila.
Less Screen Time
I don’t know of one person who wouldn’t benefit from less screen time. Myself included. It’s hard to break away from the screens considering we use screens for everything from work to pleasure to entertainment.
While it’s likely not reasonable for someone to give up screens altogether, we can all do better about reducing our screen time in little ways. Try to play around with a few options, cutting back where you can- even if it’s just 15 minutes less per day. Hey, you can even try to tie that in with your breathing time for a few minutes here or there.
I might just be the biggest fan of walking ever. Don’t challenge me on this, okay? It’s literally my favorite thing for every reason: starting my day, winding down before bed, working out an argument with my wife, connecting with friends, being with my own thoughts, taking work calls…the list goes on and on.
I certainly have quite a bit of flexibility considering I work remotely, which is something that I know a lot of people don’t have. In that case, try to walk somewhere you’d normally drive once in a while. Carve out that extra bit of time to enjoy the fresh air, and just be with your thoughts. Or, take the time to listen to your favorite podcast, or to call an old friend you never have time to connect with.
So many of us are walking around dehydrated, and we don’t even know it. You know they say that if you’re thirsty, then you’re already dehydrated? Which means we should be drinking water throughout the day so that we don’t even get to the point of thirst.
If you’re someone who forgets to drink water, or just struggles with that full watery belly feeling- then try using electrolytes in your water. This way, you don’t need as much liquid to satiate you. Plus, you’re able to replenish your nutrients and minerals in a really simple way. Watermelon and grapefruit are my favorite flavors by the way 🙂
The way we speak to ourselves matters. And it can be really easy to get used to the voice in your head not being the nicest to you. I like to suggest that you talk to yourself the way you’d talk to a friend. Because, chances are, you wouldn’t tell your friend they were a stupid idiot if they made a mistake- whereas you might beat yourself up for it.
Working on redirecting our inner dialogue to be kinder, loving, and more true is a great way to practice mindfulness. This is really leaning into the idea of being the observer, rather than the doer. Try to notice how you talk to yourself, and catch the words that aren’t the nicest- then readjust your thoughts to be more loving, instead.
Now that you’ve worked on your inner dialogue, you’re also able to work on your outer dialogue. Again, step into the observer seat to notice the way you’re communicating with others. Are you asking for what you need? Are you assuming people know how you feel without expressing your feelings clearly? And are you kind? Are you honest?
Try to adjust your communication to be aligned with your heart. This means you’re able to speak from the heart, while still staying grounded in the logistical reality that you’re living in. Use your words to connect with others, and to express yourself in an authentic, honest way.
We are consuming content all day every day. I’m not just talking about social media. I’m also talking about podcasts, advertisements around us, TV, movies…heck, even just using Google nowadays comes with ads and pop up articles that can steal our attention.
Self care is meant to be replenishing, whereas over consumption of content can oftentimes be pretty dang depleting. Notice how the different content you consume makes you feel, and try to cut out the stuff that drains you the most.
Self care is calling your name, and I know you’ll be able to incorporate these quick free self care tips into your daily life with the right kind of dedication.
You’ve got this, my friends.