What do you think and feel when you hear the term ‘self-care’? Does it make you feel relaxed and zen or does it just sound like a capitalist buzzword created to sell you things? While there are infinite ways to spend your money to assist you in your self-care journey, from skincare to therapy sessions to (ahem) sex toys, we wanted to give you a list of completely free ways to ensure that you’re taking the time you need to check in with yourself and treat yourself with care and love. Here’s our favorite 35 free self-care techniques;
Masturbate without a goal. Just let yourself explore and relax.
Learn to say “no”. Learning to say no to friends and partners can be really hard, but setting boundaries for yourself is a hugely important life skill. “No” is a complete sentence.
Clean your personal space. Whether you live with roommates, a partner or have a home to yourself, set aside some time to clean up the space where you spend most of your time.
Read. If you used to read for pleasure but haven’t been prioritizing it lately, set a Goodreads goal for yourself and start by reading one hour a day until it feels natural again.
Give. Whether it’s material goods you don’t need anymore or your time to an organization, friend or help-line. Give without any expectations and you’ll be shocked how good you can feel.
Go for a walk. If walking somewhere is already part of your day, take a different route. Shockingly, this simple act is enough to stimulate your brain and inspire new thoughts.
Yoga With Adriene. The guest cameos from her cute dog help too.
Drink water. You’ve heard this a million times, but so few of us actually do it. Go do it now. Right now. We’ll wait.
If you live near a lake or ocean, go there as much as you can. Even for a few minutes.
Fold your clothes and put them away. Even better, put out your clothes for the next morning. It’s like being your own personal assistant. Having wrinkle-less pants and matching socks, with zero morning effort, will blow your mind.
Dance. In your home, down the street, wherever. Click here for a playlist.
Unfollow or block people and accounts that bum you out. Maybe it’s an ex. Maybe it’s someone who makes you feel less-than. You don’t need that shit.
Try meditating. Either on your own or with a free trial of Headspace. Start with 3 minutes. You totally have 3 minutes every day, no matter how ‘busy’ you are. Do it on the toilet, we don’t care.
Tackle a nagging ‘to-do'. We all have things we need to do in a day but we also all have things we keep meaning to do in general. Just tackle one head on. Clean out your junk drawer. Return something you borrowed a long time ago. Just pick one and get it off your mind.
Compliment people. Make sure you actually mean it and it sounds genuine, but try to give at least one compliment to each person you interact with in a day. If it’s a partner, try one sexual and one non-sexual compliment. And if they compliment you back, hear it and receive it.
Make yourself your favorite childhood snack. A big bowl of cereal. Cheese and crackers. Whatever it is, it's going to bring you comfort.
Put on your softest clothes. Something silky, something fluffy, sweatpants. Whatever feels best against your bare skin.
Moisturize yourself with massage. Whether you use a scented massage oil or simple olive oil, take the time to apply it slowly and thoughtfully. Giving extra love and attention to your ‘least favorite’ body parts. It’s hard to hate your body while you’re in the process of loving it.
Don’t bring your phone to bed. If you need it as an alarm, leave it on the other side of the room (it will help you get up anyways). Try not to look at social media for at least an hour when you first get up and stop at least an hour before bed.
Wash the day away. Water can be incredibly healing, so whether you love to take an hour long bath, with bath soaks, incense and the works or a quick 2 minute shower, let yourself reset the day with water.
Make yourself breakfast. Whether you live alone or have a whole house of hungry people to consider to, give yourself time to make yourself breakfast first.
Let it out. Scream into a pillow. Cry your eyeballs out. If there’s something bubbling under the surface, let it out, cause it’s going to come out in other ways anyhow.
Do what you can. If you suffer from chronic illness, be honest with yourself about ‘how many spoons’ you have to use that day. Don’t beat yourself up for only being able to get out of bed and eat. Sometimes that’s just what you’ve got.
Watch a good movie without multitasking. No phone, no cleaning, no Netflix and Chill. Just actually chill and watch the whole thing without distraction.
Wake up earlier. You often find ‘sleep in’ suggested as self care, but who are these people who can regularly sleep in? Gradually set your alarm earlier in 10 minute increments until you’re getting up at a time where you can get your day started with minimal chaos or stress.
Morning quickies. Whether it’s with a partner of yourself, take advantage of getting up earlier with a nice hit of feel-good brain chemicals.
Recharge the way you need to. Introverts sometimes have a harder time than extroverts expressing what they need because “Let’s go out” sounds way more fun than “I need to be alone”. But it’s not rude and it’s the right kind of selfish. So if you need to take the time, do it.
Put on your best underwear. Get rid of the rest. We all have underwear that fits badly, is scratchy, goes up our butts (or worse)...and we keep it! That’s bananas! If it makes you feel super sexy, keep it for wearing to bed if you want (it’ll only be on a few minutes anyways). But otherwise, get 👏 rid 👏 of 👏 it 👏.
Wash your bedding. The sheets, the duvet, the duvet cover, the pillows, the pillow cases. All of it. If it’s a sunny day and you have a balcony, put your pillows (and even your mattress if you can handle it) outside. UV rays kills bacteria and help get rid of musty smells.
Make a to do list before bed. It might sound stressful but it’s actually often the opposite. Sometimes it feels like we have a million things to do the next day but when we get it on paper it’s actually much more manageable. And if not, we know that we might need to ask for help and are able to prepare for that.
Consider addressing your trauma. We say consider because you’re not always ready or in the best space to do so. But if you have traumatic experiences to work through, research reviews on books that cover the topic and talk to trusted confidants about seeking help. It’s a first step of many.
Try Forest Bathing. Quite simply, this is a Japanese technique of healing yourself by being in the forest and "taking in the forest atmosphere" . No forest near you? A wooded park works too.