Self-care is a trendy topic these days, but it shouldn’t be a trend you buy into. Instead, self-care should have a bonafide place is your life. Nonetheless, we all get very good at procrastinating and making excuses for why we can’t take better care of ourselves. We say we’re too busy, it’s too expensive, or that we don’t have time.

But self-care doesn’t have to be costly or Instagram-worthy. In fact, most of it can be either completely free or budget-friendly.

What is self-care?

You might be under the misconception that self-care is all about salt baths and essential oils. Or, lighting Anthropologie candles while you sip your favorite herbal tea.

But self-care isn’t about recreating marketing campaigns or imitating social media. And as Brianna Wiest wisely points out, self-care has become a way to escape everyday life. So, why not create a life you don’t have to escape from in the first place?

It’s not that self-care can’t include salt baths and Anthropologie. It’s just that self-care can be so much more than any of these things.

How to really take care of yourself

It’s time to ask yourself what you can do to really relieve stress, create mental space and help you feel good. In fact, when you identify areas of your life that overwhelm you, and create action plans to cope with them, you’re really taking care of yourself.

These self-care ideas should give you some food for thought:

  • Go to bed early instead of watching your favorite series. You’ll help your body regulate important hormones, like melatonin. Plus, you’ll feel restored and ready for the following day.
  • Say no and keep yourself from over-committing to work projects, social events and even leisure activities. Too much of anything is too much, and it’s okay to say no.
  • Make your own lunches to avoid unhealthy meals. This way you can keep your body free of unnecessary toxins, fillers and sugars. Over time, they take their toll on you and your mental clarity. Taking care of yourself means cooking homemade meals sometimes.
  • Do finances stress you out? Self-care can mean prioritizing your saving goals. It can mean working with an accountant. You might feel like you “need” something since everyone is buying into this or that trend. But ask yourself what will really give you a feeling of calm and serenity. Sometimes, saving your money will.
  • Shave (even in the winter!). And before you go to bed, apply a moisturizing body cream. Come summer, your skin will thank you!
  • Even if you’re not religious, give your spiritual life a boost. This could mean journaling more, or adding meditation to your morning routine. If you’re religious, dedicate more time to your practices.
  • Don’t forget to sweat! You might not want to do yoga or cardio, but ten-to-one, your body and mind will thank you when you do! Plus, exercise can reduce stress, increase feel-good hormones and help your body detox, too.
  • Get to know your cycle. When you’re aware of your body’s natural processes, especially your menstrual cycle, you can give yourself greater compassion as you move through each stage. Apps and charts can help you get to know your body and it’s intricate, inner workings.

Self-care can look like hot tubs, essential oils and chai lattes. But before you do these things, ensure that you live with less stress, more mental clarity as well as self-acceptance. This way, self-care isn’t an escape from a hectic life. Instead, self-care is an integral part of your every day.

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