Self-care is an important practice to improve and maintain health and well-being. This includes healthy day-to-day activities and lifestyle choices and the self-management of any new problems.
Although self-care is often thought of as treating ourselves for reasons of health and happiness, definition-wise, it can really be approached from two angles.
The first is from a public health perspective: In this context, self-care centres on a population’s ability to maintain their health with limited intervention from formal medical services. For example, if a person can self-diagnose and treat minor conditions like a headache or sprained ankle without a doctor’s appointment, they are demonstrating self-care.
The second approach takes a more personal context. It is our ability to take care of ourselves physically and mentally, and positively address causes of stress and harm around us.
Amid coronavirus and other harsh global news, it is particularly important that we use self-care as a tool to recognise and protect ourselves from health risks, and take action should we suspect a problem.
Self-care practices can be done on a tight budget
Taking care of yourself and practising self-care is something we can all do from anyplace at any time. And in most cases you don’t need to break the bank to do them.
Here are four budget-friendly self-care practices you can start to do today:
Take time for yourself. Simple habits like drinking water and staying hydrated, getting a full night’s rest, turning off your phone, and going outside for some fresh air are all free examples of self care. So is running a hot bath and reading a good book, especially if you want to step away from life’s chaos and are in need of quiet time to recharge.
Eat well. A healthy body equals a healthy mind. Eating well does not mean eating fancy or expensive foods. Healthy eating centres on eating a lot of whole, single-ingredient foods and fresh fruit and vegetables. These are available at most shops, on any budget. Read some of our tips on eating healthy on a budget here.
Exercise. Physical activities are good for both physical and mental health. And best of all, it’s almost all free, although you may sometimes need to pay for any gear or membership fees. There are also many free exercise apps and YouTube channels available, so you can try different programs until you find a routine you enjoy
Take care of your financial health. Financial stress and anxiety can take a toll on your health. One of the best ways to tackle financial health problems is to track your spending, develop a budget and stick to it. Free apps like Money Dashboard make it easy to manage your financial well-being. And budgeting can help you set aside money to treat yourself occasionally to things you enjoy, such as movies, holidays, spas or nice meals out.