BY GUEST BLOGGER EMMA GRACE BROWN
The following views expressed in this post are those of the contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of The Haute Mommy Handbook.
Plenty of professionals recommend practicing self-care, but the truth is that it can get pretty expensive. Instead of splurging on new clothes or fancy spa days, try these five self-care steps that don’t require you to sacrifice a lot of cash or time.
Don’t Skip Using Your Vacation Time
Vacations can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some time off. Don’t be like most Americans, who cumulatively wasted 768 million vacation days in 2019. After all, the potential benefits of time off are huge. Allina Health confirms that taking time off from work can improve your mental and physical health, give you a mental edge when it comes to productivity, and keep you excited about your job — and your life.
Plus, there are ways to make a vacation more affordable. Consider going in with friends or family and getting a vacation rental. Instead of everyone in the group shelling out for a hotel, you can share a comfortable home, condo, or apartment and enjoy everything your destination has to offer. You can save on your accommodations and splurge on great local restaurants, music, and water recreation, too. Choosing a rental property closest to your top attractions also cuts down on transportation costs and commute time.
Carve Out Time for Professional Help
No matter what your struggles are in daily life, speaking with a counselor can help. The University of Kansas confirms that counseling helps people identify negative patterns, make changes to take control of their lives, and discover their personal strengths.
Although therapy sessions can add up, most insurance plans cover mental health support. The American Psychological Association confirms that a 2008 law requires most insurance plans to cover mental health. Per the law, mental and behavioral health coverage must be offered at the same or better rates as medical coverage. If you have employer-sponsored healthcare, a policy through a health insurance exchange, or Medicaid, mental health is likely part of the package.
Get Better (and More) Sleep
As Harvard Health explains, a lack of sleep can affect your mental health and your overall psychological state. Sleep deprivation impacts and worsens depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety issues, and ADHD. The good news is that there are many low-cost ways you can get better rest and start reaping the benefits of sleep.
First, establishing a bedtime routine is helpful — and not just for children. Sticking with a schedule helps you decompress and prepare for quality rest. The American Heart Association recommends choosing a bedtime that allows for seven to nine hours of sleep. Journaling or meditating before bed can also put you in a sleepy mood. Also, try to keep your bedroom as neat as possible; if the place where you sleep is a disorganized mess, you may find that this level of chaos is causing a spike in your stress levels, which can disrupt your sleep.
Get a Little Exercise
You already know that exercise is great for your body. However, you don’t need a gym membership to take advantage. Plus, there are mental health benefits built into your sweat session, no matter where you have it. Mayo Clinic even says physical activity can decrease depression and anxiety. But first, you should recognize that you don’t need to pay for gym access to lift weights or use machines. Old-fashioned bodyweight workouts require minimal, if any, equipment, and it can be just as effective as hitting the gym.
Here’s a plus for seniors: If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can take advantage of the SilverSneakers program, which allows you to enjoy workouts at participating fitness facilities without having to pay any additional fees.
Step Outside a Bit More
You can achieve dual benefits by working out outdoors. Running or even walking in nature has plenty of benefits for your mental health — and it’s free. Spending time outside can reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and myriad other conditions.
No matter where you live, there’s likely a park or nature trail nearby you can take advantage of. If not, consider taking a daycation to a spot within a few hours of home. Enjoy the sunshine (or the shade), smell the flowers, and start feeling more energized without spending a dime.
Although you can spend a lot of money on self-care, it’s not necessary. With these easy ideas, you can glean all the stress-reducing benefits of self-care right away.
GUEST BLOGGER | EMMA GRACE BROWN | EMMA GRACE BROWN
Emma Grace Brown lives her life by her rules; and it works! When she’s not snuggling puppies, Emma promotes female empowerment through her website. Her mission is to help those who live with self-doubt to realize they don’t have to mold themselves to conventionality. Find more from Emma at emmagracebrown.com.
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