Have you ever indulged in any form of self-care when you couldn’t post about it on social media?

12 Ways to indulge in self-care without overspending

If you go on Instagram and type #selfcare, you’re going to see thousands of extremely aesthetic pictures of luxurious skin-care products, premium coffees, luxurious spa therapies, extravagant vacations in Bali and Hawaii, and everything else that’s anything but self-care. 

Self-care isn’t as superficial as that; it’s not about spending a fortune on luxuries to a bid to impress others. Self-care is knowing yourself and doing what is right for you – even if it’s tough, even if others don’t understand, and even if doesn’t necessarily bring any short-term joy. 

For instance, resisting the temptation to binge-watch your favourite TV series and sleeping on time because you need to be up early is self-care. Removing your make-up and brushing your teeth before bedtime – no matter how tired you are after a party – is self-care. Saying no to social plans on the weekend to catch up with yourself and do nothing but relax is self-care. 

Self-care may not always be pretty or warrant ‘Insta-worthy’ pictures, but it does involve taking a step towards your mental, physical, emotional, or financial well-being and joy – even if it’s only a baby step. Let’s look at some ways you can accomplish this.

1. Take a shower 

This requires the least effort but is certain to make you feel better. Whether it’s a hot shower or a cold one, a leisurely shower or a short one – do your thing. You can light a scented candle, put on some soothing music, and change into a comfortable robe once you’re done. Doing all this somehow makes everything seem lighter and more manageable; you feel reassured everything’s going to be okay. 

2. Make a phone call

When you find yourself going down the rabbit hole of negative thoughts, don’t sit and brood. Pick up the phone and call your BFF. If you don’t feel like talking about it, that’s okay too. Or call any friend to catch up with them, talk about the last movie you watched, share a random thought you had that day, or plan a meet-up. Discussing random things can help you feel better and prevent you from obsessively thinking about those negative thoughts. 

3. Cancel plans that don’t excite you

Don’t do this at the last minute or stand someone up, but if you don’t feel like going to that weekend party where a lot of people you don’t like are going to be present, politely inform your friend that you can’t make it. Forcing yourself to be somewhere you don’t want to be (or when you’re not feeling up to it) isn’t fun for you or for those around you. But do inform them at least the previous night. 

Related: Why women should say 'no' more often and how do to it gracefully

4. Indulge a sweet tooth

If you have a sweet tooth, there’s nothing better than knowing that you can satisfy it at any time of the day – or night! Baking is a lot easier than it seems. Look up an easy recipe online, turn on your favourite music, pour yourself a glass of wine (or any other choice of beverage) and make yourself a sweet treat. It could be a simple brownie or a three-layer cake, depending on how ambitious you feel!

5. Do things on your own

If there’s a movie you want to watch that none of your friends or family members are interested in, don’t be upset. Just go and watch it in the theatre by yourself! Don’t ever give up on the things you enjoy doing just because you can’t find company. A lot of the time, a solo experience will turn out better. This is because if someone doesn’t share the same enthusiasm for an activity as you do – say, book-shopping or trying out a new cuisine – your joy will be reduced too. 

6. Shop for ‘sensible’ clothes

When you shop next, remember to buy clothes that match your style and comfort instead of following the trend or being loyal to a particular brand. If you ask those around you, you may find that many of them have no clue what their personal style is. Clothes and fashion are another form of art and self-expression; hence your attire must be true to who you really are instead of what’s in vogue.

Related: 5 Things to remember when opting for big festive discounts online 

7. Waste time doing nothing

Today’s culture is such that people want to be productive at all times. If not, they think they’re being lazy or unambitious. But that’s unhealthy and a sure way to burn out at some point. It’s important to ‘waste’ time regularly because the time you enjoy wasting is not wasted at all. This can mean spending an hour on your bedroom floor listening to your favourite music or spending a few minutes admiring the night sky. 

8. Keep a daily journal

People say that understanding each other is the hardest thing and that often we can’t even understand ourselves. This is something everyone realises at some point after they grow up, so they start to keep to themselves thoughts and feelings they can’t articulate well or that don’t seem to make much sense. That’s exactly why you should write regularly to validate your thoughts and emotions and let it all out. It will help you be more in touch with yourself, clearer in your head, and less overwhelmed. 

9. Take time to cook and eat

Even if you’re not a brilliant cook, there may be a few things you like to prepare. Do more of that – and not when you’re in a hurry. When you cook for yourself, you’re taking time to nourish yourself, and that’s the most basic form of self-love. Also, you get to make food exactly the way you like it – with your favourite ingredients, adding the right amount of oil and salt, and other custom specifications. Eat without gazing at a TV or phone screen so you can really enjoy the flavours and indulge all your senses. 

Related: Love food? Here's how to turn your hobby into a career

10. Check in on yourself

What do your loved ones say when they talk to you? They ask you how you are, what you ate for dinner, if you’ve been sleeping well, etc. They basically check in on you about these essential things. It’s just as important for you to check in on yourself – but about deeper things that perhaps only you know about. For instance, if you’re meeting a friend from school with whom you shared a love-hate relationship, take a minute afterwards to acknowledge how you feel and how the whole thing went. 

11. Move your body

This doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym or doing yoga, though those are great options. But you can just as easily shut your bedroom door, blast your favourite tunes on the Bluetooth speaker, and have a little dance party. The best part is that you get to be the DJ and no one can judge your moves!

12. Save money 

This may be a little unconventional when it comes to self-care, but it’s crucial. When you save money, you’re either giving your future self an opportunity or saving yourself from a crisis. For instance, being able to say ‘yes’ to a Europe trip your college friends are organising, or having enough cash to cover sudden repairs to your car, respectively. 

Related: The best apps to help you track and save money

The more you indulge in these self-care activities, the more content you’ll feel over time. You’ll also enjoy spending time with yourself and understand yourself better. And what’s stopping you from the occasional premium coffee or luxurious bath bomb? You can occasionally indulge in that stuff too – as long as you focus on what’s really important. Look at these 7 Habits that stop you from building wealth.