15 Totally FREE Ways to Practice Self-Care

“To have the capacity to really love and care for others, we’ve got to take the time to show love and care for ourselves.”Pin

“To have the capacity to really love and care for others, we’ve got to take the time to show love and care for ourselves.”

Contrary to what the market might lead you to believe, self care is not boujee! Self-care is a necessity for ALL of us. Don’t get it twisted, I love pampering and luxuriating as much as anyone (I don’t DO it as much as anyone, but I LOVE it just the same) but Friend, the danger in labeling high-end luxuries as #selfcare is that it perpetuates a myth that self-care is self-indulgent and that mindset leads many of the people who need care the MOST to reject the notion entirely. It’s harmful to  believe that self-care isn’t accessible to us during times of LACK (financial or time lack) and that it’s not accessible to or necessary for everyone- because it is and it must be. The truth is you can’t fill from an empty cup. If you’re not taking care of yourself you won’t have the capacity to care for others the way that you want to, or are required to (I’m talking to you, mamas, caregivers, service-industry providers). So here’s a list of totally (or mostly) FREE ways that you can care for yourself TODAY, or tomorrow, but please sometime soon,  because YOU matter and the world needs you, and when you’re running and doing, and showing up for everyone but yourself, you’re in danger of burning out, and we just can’t have that! 

  1. Set that boundary that you KNOW needs to be set. Something flashed into your mind right now. A commitment you said yes to when you should have said no, a person who makes you feel small whenever you spend time with them, a work project that needs a new deadline because it’s ruling your time and peaceful headspace but you’re afraid what people will think if you admit you need more time…whatever it was that flashed across your mind just now, make a boundary to protect your time and energy and then stick to it like you’ve never stuck to anything before. You deserve peace and space and margin and you are worthy of the right to reclaim your time from people, things, and obligations that suck your joy and threaten your physical, mental or emotional well-being. 

  2. Start a gratitude journal. I got to hear Jon Acuff speak last weekend and he poked fun at how our society thinks everything can be fixed with enough gratitude and enough water. It’s true, I get it. We put too much pressure on things that really DO make a difference to be super-healers, when really, the difference that they make is small and mighty, but not going to fix all of the things. It’s still worth doing. I’ve seen this practice change (in small but impactful ways) the way my own family interacts with each other and the world. So try it, at the very least it’s going to cause you less stress and more joy than writing another task list! 

  3. Carve out time to MAKE and CREATE: This one is hard for a lot of us. We tell ourselves that we aren’t creative or artsy or don’t have anything to contribute, but that’s utter nonsense. Friend, we are born to leave a mark, to make and innovate and change the world in big and small ways. When you make something that wasn’t there before, when you innovate, imagine, create something new, you are sending a message to you from YOU that you are a worthy, purposeful and passionate contributor in this wild and precious life of yours. Creating and making takes so many forms, maybe you already feel called to make one kind of art in particular, or maybe this is your time to explore and investigate what kind of making and creating feeds your soul in this moment. Write a poem or a blog post, take photographs, put paint to canvas, make something delicious to eat or beautiful to wear or soft to touch. You can mold clay, draw or sketch, plant flowers, redecorate a room, collage, craft a cocktail, make music, make art, make food, make love, make noise, make change, because all of this making makes a difference, to your own soul and the ones you share your making with too. 

  4. Make time for YOU. Carve out time in your schedule that is just yours. Take yourself on a date to an art gallery or the local bookstore or your favorite sun-drenched reading spot in your own house. Make it an appointment that you will not break and ask the people who love you to hold you accountable to keep that time sacred. Don’t invite anyone to join you. Don’t multi-task. Allow yourself the space and time to just BE and to appreciate how lovely YOU are to spend time with. 

  5. Move your body. Take a walk, stretch, do a daily squat or plank challenge, try a youtube yoga session or boxing video. Get outside. Bring your kids or the dog along if you want to. Whatever you choose, get your heart rate up enough to feel the endorphin surge. Be careful not to berate or criticize yourself. Pay attention to your body and how it holds and supports you as you make your way through the world. Thank it for that. Love it for that.

  6. Unfollow Social Media Accounts that make you feel meh. If you don’t think the people and accounts you follow are a HUGE factor in how you care for or abuse yourself, take a look at your usage. If you are looking at social even half as much as most of us are, then whomever you follow has a regular pipeline to your psyche multiple times a day. Make sure those follows spark joy or creativity or encouragement or inspiration. If they don’t spark joy, mute or unfollow and move on, no hard feelings. 

  7. Unplug for a bit. Put your phone away for a set amount of time each day. Maybe it’s during dinner, or for the last hour before bed. Adjust your settings and set an alarm to get yourself into the habit. Look at your day objectively and look for one or two times each day that you could choose to reach for something else instead of your phone. I started placing my phone out of reach in the morning and a glass of water sits closest to me on my nightstand now. When I wake up and reach over, I’m reminded to start my day by hydrating my body and taking a moment to pray and set my intentions instead of getting sucked into headlines or emails before my feet even hit the floor. I’m late less often (the interweb vortex is no joke) and I feel more alert and motivated as I move through my morning routine. 

  8. Do something kind for someone else. What kind of kindness sparks the most joy for you? Is it random acts of kindness? Buy a cup of coffee for whoever is behind you in line or pay genuine compliments to the most tired and stressed looking people in the grocery store. Look for three ways to be helpful through the course of your day and play a game with yourself to see how many small gestures you can rack up before your lunch break. These little connective moments help us to remember that we’re not alone, that we belong to each other, and that even with the tiniest, intentionally kind deviations from our daily routines, we have the power to create positive change..big and small. 

  9. Do something nostalgic that reignites your most child-like joy. Dust off your bike, toss ET in the basket and go for a ride! Fingerpaint. Use the janitor’s dolly in the hallway as a scooter to your next destination (This one is risky. Try at your own peril. Trust me.) Sing Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of your lungs. Color. Roller Skate. Shoot Hoops. Wish on stars. Laugh till your sides hurt. Reclaim your video game system from your kids, play your old favorites till sun-up. Pass a note to a friend, fold it like origami or seal it with a smelly sticker. Make breakfast for dinner. Teach your kids how to play with a hacky sack or ride a skateboard or play stuck in the mud in the backyard. 

  10. Nourish Your Spirit. Pray. Meditate. Get to Church or download a book or podcast that speaks to your faith and hope in something greater than yourself. For me, it’s often this: “Draw near to me. I am gentle and my ways are light. You will find rest for your weary soul.” Matthew 11:28

  11. Nourish Your Body. Make a homemade vegetable soup or vitamin-packed smoothie. Try eating Whole, in-season foods when they’re available. Pay attention to what looks, smells and feels good to you and choose to eat those things. I always feel like I’m caring for myself when I meal prep, try new recipes, and fill my plate with vibrant colors and fresh produce.

  12. Slow Down. Try this. Look at your day and choose two parts of it to intentionally slow down and be good to yourself. Maybe you’re going to turn your shower into a nice long bath. Add some epsom salts and essential oils if you have them for a spa-like experience that detoxes at the same time. Maybe you’ll go to bed ten minutes earlier so you can take intentional time settling in for the night. Maybe you’ll get up a few minutes earlier to enjoy the quiet of the house before everyone else. Maybe you’ll park a little further from the office so you can stroll into work and feel the sun on your shoulders. We spend so much of our lives rushing around and trying to catch up, building some margin into your day will help you feel settled and empowered and restored.

  13. Create a vision board: There are tons of resources of how to do this online. You can use Pinterest or Pages or Adobe to make one digitally. I recently made a physical board as well. There’s something that feels so nourishing about taking the time and space to think about what it is you really aspire to, and then making a physical representation of that. My kids made them this year too, and I loved the insight their boards give me into who they are and who they aspire to be as well. Take time to really think about and enjoy the process. It doesn’t have to happen all at once, what matters is that you’re creating a vision for your life with the understanding that you are worthy of the time it takes to dream and plan and believe in what’s possible for YOU. 

  14. Just say no. You know the thing I’m talking about. You would only be doing it out of obligation or guilt. It will drain you. You won’t be able to bring your best self to it because you don’t want to be there. Say no. Someone else can step up for that thing. There are other things calling you. Say no to the ones that don’t.

  15. Just say yes. Every yes to one thing is a no to something else. The reverse is true too. By saying NO to the things that don’t excite your spirit, there’s room for you to say YES to the call that does. Here’s the thing though, sometimes that yes is hard. You know you’ll regret it later, but saying no feels safer, easier, more sure. The thing you want to do but are scared to do, but you know is gonna eat at you if you don’t…say yes to that thing. Saying no is brave. Saying yes is brave. Knowing when to say each of them is part of human becoming. Say yes, Friend. You know the thing. Say, YES. 

Bonus: Make some time each Wednesday morning to be curious with US and start your day with a moment of WONDER. Get intentional about getting to know yourself and others by taking time to contemplate and wonder in the middle of the week! #WonderWednesday Subscribe and click the bell for weekly notifications on YOUTUBE.

Follow our #SelfCare Pinterest Board, for more ideas!

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Christine & Joel

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Wild Precious Now is all about making the most of your one wild and precious life. We’re passionate about travel,  visual story telling and spreading positivity on the internet. We highlight the places we visit, the people we meet, and the parts of each journey that leave us wonderstruck! If you love to see the world with your eyes wide open, are looking for inspiration to quench your weekend wanderlust, come travel with us! 

Christine & Joel

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