Your Beautiful Mind

8 Easy Ways to Take Care of Yourself that Are *Almost* Free

Don't forget to just breathe.

Work and school can be demanding, and caring for yourself can fall to the wayside in the face of high pressure. What many fail to realize is that by neglecting your own self care, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Here are eight easy, almost free self care steps to help you take better care of yourself while chaos is raining down.

Enjoy Essential Oils

Essential oils are a powerful tool to have in your self care arsenal. There are dozens of oils to choose from, and each one has its purpose. Lavender essential oil is one of my favorite relaxation and stress relief tools. Not only is it inexpensive, it’s also very easy to find. It will fit in your purse or backpack, so you can keep a bottle of it with you and keep one at your bedside.

If you have an essential oil diffuser, you can enjoy the scent of lavender all through your home or bedroom. If not, don’t worry – lavender oil is safe to use directly on your skin. You can dab a bit on your neck, temples, and/or wrists to get a whiff here and there.

Trying to be productive, and the last thing on your mind is broccoli.

Prioritize Healthy Eating

Believe me, I know this can be so challenging when you’re stressed or busy with school or work. You’re running around, trying to be productive, and the last thing on your mind is broccoli. You’re focused on the goal, and food is just a speed bump on the way. WAIT. Stop! Please take a precious moment to realize that food is your fuel. As with fancy cars, the better the fuel you use, the more efficient you’ll be. And if you use cheap fuel, you’ll cease to function all together.

The easiest way around this is to take time each week to meal prep. I like to prepare a few vegetables, 1-2 types of protein, a whole grain, and a snack. I also prep smoothie ingredients so I can enjoy a healthy breakfast on the run. Pack your lunches (and snacks if need be) in advance so you can grab and go. Your body (and mind) will thank you.

almost free self care
Find 5 Minutes of Stillness

Meditating every day can sound like an overwhelming feat, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to sit upright for an hour, or even 30 minutes. Starting and/or ending your day with 5 minutes of stillness can make a huge impact in your stress levels as well as your happiness. If you’re new to meditation, here are a few quick tips: Try your best to keep your mind clear, and withhold judgement of your thoughts. Rather than focusing on your thoughts, focus on your breath, and acknowledge each thought and let it fade away.

Take a Bath

Draw a hot bath. Light some candles. Sprinkle essential oils in the water. You can use your favorite soaps, or drop a bath bomb in. This is a simple yet effective way to unwind. If your body is sore from working out, you can add Epsom salts to your bath.

You can make your soothing bath into an at-home spa session by doing a deep conditioning treatment on your hair, a nourishing face mask, and body scrub. Indulge and treat yourself, and let the stress fade away.

Make a Gratitude List

Expressing gratitude is one of the most powerful tools available to you. It has been shown that counting your blessings boosts your physical, emotional, and psychological health. I like to start each day by writing down three things I am grateful for. You can take it one step further by expressing gratitude for the blessings you’d like to bring into your life.

Check your Yes List

It’s easy to fall into the habit of saying yes to everything. Coffee date with an old friend? Yes! Five events with a club you participate in? Why not! Dinner here, coffee there, and plans in between can become overwhelming. Cancel unnecessary plans and reschedule what you can until life calms down a bit. You’ll relish in your newfound free time, and you may even be able to cross some things off your list so you can feel a new sense of calm. That’s something we can all say yes to.

Stay Hydrated

If you’re stressed, the last thing you need is to be dehydrated as well. Many people are chronically dehydrated and they don’t even know it. Dehydration can easily affect anyone, and the effects are numerous (and serious). While you could feel tired or experience brain fog during short-term dehydration, staying dehydrated long enough can lead to serious health issues. Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces per day, and more if you’re working out.

Breathe

If all else fails, just breathe. Find a quiet place, even if that quiet place is at your desk with your headphones in. Or in your car. Or in bed. Close your eyes. Take a big, deep, hearty inhale, followed by a huge, cleansing exhale. Repeat. You can incorporate a mantra if you’d like, such as Inhale Calm, Exhale Peace. Deep breathing has a remarkable ability to soothe nerves and calm stress, and the best part is that you can do it anywhere.

Nicole Small is a food and lifestyle blogger at