Getting some self-care on a budget
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people raised their self-care game as a way of coping with social distancing. Self-care might conjure up images of fancy beauty products or online boutique fitness classes, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money to take care of yourself.
“Self-care can be anything that helps you recharge and take care of yourself so, in turn, you’ll be well to take care of the people who count on you,” says Dr. Jennette Berry, a family medicine physician at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, IL.
Whether you’re looking to establish a self-care routine or to try some new ideas, Dr. Berry suggests these budget-friendly ways to take care of yourself:
Get moving: A regular exercise habit can help prevent or manage many health issues from high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes to depression and anxiety. Make a point to get outside for a daily walk, jog or bike ride for a change of scenery. Many online fitness programs offer a free trial with full access to their library of workouts. Or head to YouTube for free online yoga videos. You can even do a basic cardio routine in your living room such as jumping jacks, sit ups, pushups and planks.
Meditate: There are many health benefits of meditation including lower stress, control anxiety levels and improve sleep. Many meditation apps offer some free content and the LiveWell with Advocate Aurora Health app features free meditation exercises. But it’s also possible to meditate without any equipment. For example, every time your phone dings with a new message, close your eyes and take three long deep breaths.
Take a bath: Hot water from a bath can help you fall asleep at night. It also can help relief pain and lower blood pressure. You can add ambiance to the experience by lighting a candle, playing relaxing music and adding bubbles to your bath. If your budget allows, buy some fresh flowers and add essential oil to your bath to create a spa-like experience.
Write it down: Journaling is a great way to track your symptoms and moods to identify triggers. Writing about your day can help boost your memory. You also could journal the memorable things your kids said as a keepsake of their childhood.
Read a book or two: Just as physical exercise helps our body, activities like reading help exercise our mind. Not only is reading a relaxing activity, but it also can help slow down the progression of dementia. Although some libraries might be physically closed right now, many of them offer e-books that can be checked out online. If your budget allows for a splurge, consider supporting a local bookstore by ordering books for curbside pickup or delivery.
About the Author
Vicki Martinka Petersen, health enews contributor, is a digital copywriter on the content team at Advocate Aurora Health. A former newspaper reporter, she’s worked in health care communications for the last decade. In her spare time, Vicki enjoys tackling her to be read pile, trying new recipes, meditating, and planning fun activities to do in the Chicago area with her husband and son.