10 Self-Care Ideas That Aren’t Exxy AF

Talking openly about mental health is the wave for 2020.

Young people, in particular, are normalising being candid about mental health (and candid on social media. I’m tired of seeing shitty filters fr), which is pretty fkn great to see. In particular, more and more people are starting to wake up to the importance of self-care.

But not everyone has the bread to splash out on meditation retreats, those fancy ass stress balls or a getaway to the Whitsundays. Literally. I just spent my last $7 on Maccas (I can’t budget).

With that in mind, we’ve got some hot tips for doing self-care on the cheap, so that you can be a cheap queen too. A cheap, un-stressed queen.

Meditate

It’s easy, free, and can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Once you get past that initial awkward feeling of sitting alone with your thoughts, it can be a really helpful exercise in combating eco- and other anxieties. Check out this helpful guide.

Being mindful and prioritising self-reflection is a powerful and useful discipline. Make sure to set aside some time so you won’t be disturbed and remember, meditation is something you have to work at, so keep it up.

Unplug

One of the easiest ways to make you feel better is to cut down on screen time. 1) Blue light is harsh on your eyes and 2) endlessly scrolling IG feeds or TikTok can really make you feel shit after a while, particularly if you’re experiencing FOMO or reading worrying shit about climate change.

Make a pledge to spend an hour or two a day away from your devices. Or, if you really can’t give up your phone (like me lol), consider using an app like Moodrise which charts your mood and helps give you a positive reminder of how you’re tracking emotionally.

Go for a walk

Getting physical releases feel-good endorphins, helps you stay fit and guess what? Walking doesn’t cost a thing and it’s not as hectic as hitting the gym. Plus, getting outside and getting some Vitamin D is super good for you, too. The sun’s giving that shit away for free. Snap it up, honey.

If you’ve got a pet, it’s also important to make sure they get walks, so take them with you! Spending time with pets is some of the best self-care you can do.

Distract yourself

If you find yourself fixated on negative stuff, try distracting yourself with something productive that makes you feel good. Nailing small, achievable tasks when you feel like the whole world’s out of control is a great way of restoring order.

Doesn’t matter what you’re in to – gardening, cooking… Hear me out but knitting is super relaxing. Just being able to disengage and focus on a simple task or activity, no matter what it is, is an incredibly valid and valuable form of self-care.

Relax

If you really aren’t up to doing anything, then rather than fretting, just relax. Don’t feel guilty for watching a few episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine if you’re feeling down.

There’s a big difference between being self-indulgent and making sure you take the time to look after yourself, whatever that means.

DIY a face mask

Do you have an avocado? Do you have some honey? You have a face mask.

Mix together ½ an avo, a tablespoon of that sweet, sweet bee juice and a handful of oats (if you are literally… feeling your oats, lol) and apply to the face. Wash off with a cloth after 15 minutes. Relaxing and taking care of your skin is a simple, quick way to unwind… And again, it’s productive! Multitasking babyyy!

Start journaling

In case you haven’t seen or followed 15 journal-specific Instagrams like I have, journaling (as in, writing down plans and thoughts or doodling) is great for relaxing.

Whether you’re an artsy person who just wants to scribble and use coffee to paint, a list-maker who wants to create detailed to-do lists or just someone who needs to jot down thoughts, grab a plain journal and get going. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy either. Moleskines might look aesthetic but they’re expensive.

Practice saying no

Although there are heaps of stressful things in our lives we can’t control (like the country being on fire! Fun!!!), sometimes a lot of our stress can come from saying ‘yes’ to things we don’t really want to do.

Whether that’s agreeing to plans when your emotional energy is all spent, saying yes to donating your time when you don’t have any, or even just agreeing to work another shift or take on another project, these things can pile up. Practice becoming more comfortable with telling people ‘Thank you but no.’ Reclaiming my time, reclaiming my time…

Spring clean

We know, we know. ‘Cleaning’ does not count as self-care, but hear us out: it does. Cleaning out your closet, de-cluttering your desk, or throwing out those boxes/bags/receipts you’ve been clinging onto can help us feel a little more de-cluttered ourselves. (AKA throw me in the trash (this is not a joke)).

Call on a friend

Sometimes we’re so caught up with the stress and pace of life – homework / shifts / relationship shit / simply existing / etc – that we forget how good it feels to just hang out with your friends and do fuck all.

Go for a long drive, binge watch an entire Netflix series, head to a park and laze around, play a boardgame! (Y’all ever played Scrabble? That shit is tight.)

Doing a simple activity with someone you vibe with and who gets you is a v legit way to unwind.

Lead images via Laurence Philomene.

Jamie is a journalist, radio presenter, music nerd and shameless sneakerhead. When he's not writing, he's obsessing over the latest hip-hop and Nike releases. Is also baby.

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