Every now and then, it’s so important to step away from your laptop, close your textbook, and let yourself relax. Here are the best ways to give yourself some time without spending a fortune.
We all feel a little overwhelmed by our work and our schedules every now and then. Whether you’re writing essays, reviewing exams, or doing a part-time juggling job, sometimes it feels like you don’t have much time to think, let alone relax.
However, working at full speed with no downtime will only make you less productive and can even lead to burnout. And now, more than ever, given the added pressures of the pandemic, taking care of yourself is very important.
No matter how busy you are always Take the time to be self-sufficient. Here are some free and cheap activities that can help you de-stress, relax, and feel at home again. 💜
These are the most effective ways to relax and take care of yourself on a budget:
When your mind is busy, writing your thoughts in a notebook can make a world of difference.
Journaling helps you understand everything on your mind, and it’s so relaxing to sit down with a cup of tea and write.
If you don’t already have a blank notebook, we recommend purchasing one Use as a diary only. That way you can completely separate it from your university work and it becomes a dedicated space for you and how you are feeling.
It is a good idea to get used to writing in a journal regularly, about 10 minutes at the end of each day. This will help you process no matter how you felt that day, good or bad, and gives you time to switch off before bed.
Take a long walk
Breaking up the day with a long walk will have a wonderful effect on your mental wellbeing. This makes it one of the best free things you can do to improve your mood.
Staying in your room too long (especially if you work from home a lot) can easily make you feel drained and cooped up.
Every day, try to plan a walk around your surroundings in good time. The fresh air will help clear your mind and the change of scenery means you can return home refreshed.
Do you have problems motivating yourself to go for a walk? A good self-care technique is to face a challenge before each walk to look for a specific color.
For example, you might decide to look for yellow things, which will make you notice gold leaves on the trees, or a mustard-colored sweater, or a dog with yellow lead. Then the next day you could look for blue things, then pink things, and so on.
Call friends or family
Sometimes a call to your nearest and dearest is just what you need.
Read up on your activities, share your thoughts, and have some good old gossip.
If there are friends who you haven’t spoken to in a while, give them a call and see how they’re doing. We’re sure they will appreciate the chat and it can be a great feeling to revive an old friendship.
Try a free meditation or mindfulness app
There are so many free apps out there that offer guided meditation and mindfulness tips.
They can talk you through through breathing exercises and help you take some time to take a proper break and ground yourself. If you’ve been feeling a bit stressed and overworked lately, mindfulness apps can really help.
If you have an American Express card, you can get a free annual subscription to Calm Premium. In addition, all students with Spotify Premium can get full access to Headspace for free. But if you don’t have Amex or Spotify, don’t worry – both Calm and Headspace have free versions too.
Bath or shower
There’s something about a long bath or a hot shower in order to relaxing.
It’s a part of the day that you don’t have to study – you actually don’t have to do anything. You can just relax.
If you have fragrant toiletries, a self-care bath or shower is the perfect time to use them. You will feel good (and smell).
Watch your favorite movie
If there’s one movie that you keep coming back to when you need a pick-me-up, this is perfect for a self-care movie night.
We have some guides that will help you save money on Netflix and find cheaper ways to stream TV shows and movies on different platforms.
Make yourself comfortable on the sofa, grab your blanket or duvet and treat yourself to a quiet night – you deserve it.
Do a yoga challenge
Yoga is an amazing way to relax after a long day. And the best part about it? You can do it at home for free.
YouTube is full of great yoga tutorials.
We recommend ‘Yoga with Adriene’. The channel is hosted by someone named Adriene (as you might have guessed) who is full of energy and enthusiasm, and their yoga classes are suitable for both beginners and experienced yogis.
Your 30-day challenges are especially worth trying as they will help you get used to doing yoga every day. But be warned, they’re heavier than they look …
Make your own face mask
For an affordable day of pampering at home, try creating your own face mask – it’s that easy when you know how.
We have a guide to homemade beauty treatments that includes some lovely face masks like a strawberry and honey mask, and an avocado and pineapple mask.
Cut a few cucumber slices into pieces, put on some ambient tunes and you basically have the full spa experience.
Start drawing or painting
If you’ve ever felt like “you can’t draw” we promise you can – it just takes practice, patience, and a little bit of confidence.
So worth it if you try. Maybe light a scented candle, play chilled music, and start drawing or painting. Try not to overthink what you are doing and you will soon be completely absorbed in it.
Remember, you don’t have to create a masterpiece. Nobody needs to see your art unless they want you to draw, paint, or paint it and enjoy it.
A blank page can be daunting. If you’re not sure where to start, check out art tutorials online or take an online drawing class (there are some great ones at Meetup).
Listen to a relaxing playlist
Music platforms like Spotify and Apple Music offer a variety of ready-made playlists for almost every mood. For a relaxed playlist, try acoustic songs or classical music if you want to hear something finer and more instrumental.
Or sometimes creating your own playlist can be very relaxing in itself. If there are specific songs or artists that you listen to on self-care days, collect them all and create your own collection of feel-good music.
As a self-care activity, you can then just sit back and relax while listening to the playlist – maybe you can grab some snacks, make a hot drink, and snuggle up in a blanket with nothing to think about but the music.
Eat good food
Food is really good for the soul.
Warming dishes like homemade soup are great for self-care – they’re calming, tasty, cheap, and easy.
You could also think about if there is a meal that will remind you of home and try to prepare it. This is perfect if you are a little homesick and miss home cooked food.
Or, if you want to bake something sweet, you have the added benefit of being able to eat freshly baked cakes, brownies, or whatever you want afterwards. This chocolate fondant cupcake recipe is definitely worth trying.
If you want great food but are not in the mood to cook, you can always treat yourself to a take away meal. First, read our tips on how to save money first.
Lose yourself in a good book
At university, you may feel like spending your life reading. But how often do you read just for the joy of it?
Every now and then it can make so much difference to put down the academic papers and journals and pick up a book to really get lost in.
This is a great self-care activity if you already have a book at home that you want to read. You can also see if any of your friends are interested in a book swap if you both have similar reading tastes.
If your decision to buy a book is to look for used ones on sites like AbeBooks as they should be cheaper.
Do a home workout
General exercise has been shown to be very good for mental health and wellbeing.
Not only can you go for a walk and do yoga, as mentioned earlier, but you can also try a little more intense home workout.
There are tons of videos on YouTube with HIIT workouts (High-Intensity Interval Training).
As the name suggests, HIIT training can be pretty intense, but one of the best things about working from home is that you can pause or stop the workout at any time.
Not only is it cheaper (even free!), It can also feel like there is less pressure when you work out at home than in a fitness class since you don’t have to worry about what others are thinking.
If you think HIIT workouts are not for you, check out YouTube and try different exercise tutorials until you find the perfect one for you.
Learn a new trade or hobby
If you find that you spend most of your time thinking about something other than your major, it may be beneficial to try a new craft or hobby.
It would be a huge distraction, and you might end up discovering something that is fun, productive, and good for your wellbeing.
For self-care activities, we recommend trying things that have the right balance of being challenging enough to keep your mind occupied, but also simple enough not to feel like work. Maybe try a cross stitch kit, an adult coloring book, or even a soap making kit.
Got an eviction
When you’re stressed out, cleaning up your room might sound like this latest what you want to do, but having a split can be really super therapeutic.
Your bedroom should be in a place where you feel most calm. If it’s cluttered, it can affect your mood and make it harder for you to turn the device off completely.
You could be inspired by Marie Kondo and find out which of your things no longer give you pleasure. Get rid of everything you no longer need or want and leave more space for the things that are really important to you.
Once you’ve selected the items you want to remove, you can donate them to a charity shop or even sell them online.
Turn off your phone notifications for an hour
For many of us, our phones basically live in our hands. Without thinking about it, we look and react when it hums and lights up. Being connected all the time can be great, but it can also be exhausting.
Sometimes the best thing you can do to feel better is to pause your phone’s notifications for about an hour.
During this time, it doesn’t matter who said what on social media, what meme your friend sent you, or who you match up with on Tinder – those things can wait. What matters is that you have time to yourself to rest.
If you’re really struggling to ignore your phone for a long time, try an app like Hold. It will reward you for not holding your phone for certain periods of time by receiving freebies like Costa Coffee and popcorn at the cinema.
Try a new podcast
There are in order to Lots of podcasts to choose from, and if you find a new one to get stuck on, this is a real treat.
Many podcasts focus on self-care and self-love to help you feel better, calmer, and happier with yourself. Maybe you listen to them while traveling, cleaning or just in bed with a cup of coffee.
If you haven’t already, you can give it a try Happy place Podcast by Fearne Cotton, Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, How to fail with Elizabeth Day and so many more.
Do something for others
Doing kind act for someone else is good for many reasons.
You have no idea what others are going through. Even if you do something that seems small to you, it can mean the world to you. Sometimes it is enough just to show someone that you care and are there for them.
For example, if you know that someone in the halls or in your class is very shy, you can open a conversation with them and see how they’re doing. You will no doubt appreciate your effort and it could be the start of a lovely friendship.
Helping others has the added benefit of giving you a little boost too, improving your self-esteem and general mood. It feels good to be kind to others – and also to keep an eye on the next point …
Be nice to yourself
One of the most important self-care tips on this list is easy to forget: be kind to yourself.
We can all be a little tough on ourselves at times. It can feel like there’s a lot of pressure to always do well in college and always say the right thing and do the right thing, but the truth is, we all make mistakes – and that’s fine.
Try not to compare yourself to other people who you think have cleared everything up to make you feel happier and better.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s impossible to know what others are going through – and they may even compare themselves to you and feel the same way!
Just try to be as kind and forgiving to yourself as you would to those around you and you won’t go much wrong. Watch out. 🤗
Did you know that spending time with dogs can improve your mood and your college work? What wonderful animals.