Self-Care Can’t Take a Holiday
With inflation on the rise and gas prices causing sticker shock, many of us are looking for ways to tighten our belts. If you’re trying to figure out what in your budget is expendable, you might be tempted to cut some of your self-care expenses. Could I put a pause on my weekly yoga class? Do I really need counseling every other week? Is my healthy meal delivery service truly necessary?
We’re here to tell you that while these may seem like luxuries, extras you can do without when money is tight, they are the very things you should hold onto. Self-care during stressful times is more important than ever, and sticking with your daily habits is key to staying on track in your wellness journey.
Why is Self-Care Important?
Let’s start by talking about what self-care is and what it isn’t. Self-care isn’t extravagant vacations, mani-pedis, or a day at the spa, like social media would have you think. While for some it might include those things, self-care is simply taking the time to do the things you need to do to stay mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. It is essential for everyone, not just those who can afford a weekly massage and a yearly trip to the Bahamas.
The National Institute of Mental Health talks about the importance of self-care and lists some of the most common forms:
- Exercise regularly
Regular physical activity can do wonders for both your physical and mental health. Whether it’s working out at the gym or going on a short morning or evening walk, getting your heart pumping will boost your well-being.
- Eat smart and stay hydrated
Diet is intimately tied to the way you feel throughout the day, so eating healthy and drinking plenty of water is a great way to care for yourself.
- Make sleep a priority
Sleep can be easy to skimp on, especially if you’re busy and stressed, but regularly getting a good night’s sleep is very important for your health and your mood.
- Enjoy relaxing activities
Whether it’s getting out in nature, meditating, journaling, or even using a relaxation app, finding time to relax will help keep the stress levels from rising.
- Get your priorities straight
Know what’s important to you, what must get done, and what you can say no to. At the end of the day, look at what you have done instead of what you haven’t.
- Practice gratitude
Numerous studies have shown that taking time to think about, and even write down, what you are thankful for can actually make you happier.
- Stay positive
When negative thoughts come up, name them and intentionally replace them with positive ones.
- Stay connected
Loneliness is one of the biggest causes of stress and mental health issues. Spending time with supportive friends and family members is a great way to practice self-care.
Making time for self-care may feel challenging, but in reality, not making time for self-care will end up causing you much more trouble. Stress, anxiety, and burnout are all potential risks of not taking care of yourself on a regular basis.
Especially if you are in recovery from trauma, addiction, or other mental illnesses, the importance of self-care cannot be underestimated. Therapy is another important form of self-care that shouldn’t be put on the back burner in times of financial hardship. As you’ve probably discussed in therapy, other forms of self-care are vitally important to your recovery as well.
How to Save Money Without Losing Your Sanity
So, how can you keep up your self-care during stressful times or when money is tight? Fortunately, many of the tips listed above cost little to no money. But if you typically pay for a gym membership, you could consider putting it on pause and going on walks or hikes instead. Or you can ask if your gym offers a sliding scale for membership fees.
Therapists, too, may have a sliding scale for their fees, so it’s worth asking yours if he or she may be able to reduce their price for you. Some employers have programs that pay for therapy, and more and more insurances are beginning to cover it too. If individual therapy is too much of a stretch financially, support groups are a great alternative.
Whatever your situation, remember that regularly making time for self-care is an important aspect of staying on track with your mental and emotional health, so any money or time you spend on it is money or time well-spent.
If you’ve found yourself slipping on self-care recently or are going through a particularly hard time, Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows offers a wide range of treatments for a variety of mental health and addiction issues. If you’re in need of intentional time away to get yourself back on track, our intensive workshops, such as THRIVE and Spirit Quest, offer the perfect opportunity to experience personal growth and continued healing.