Self-care: 100 Free or Low-cost Ideas

November 3, 2017

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33 Comments
  • Reading that list was a fabulous way to start the day. Thank you!

  • Excellent! I’m printing this off for easy referral. Thank you, Max.

  • What a great list! I also schedule myself- when I leave the chiropractor I schedule an appointment for next month, when I leave the hair salon- I make an appointment for 6 weeks later, etc. Taking care of myself has been made a priority. I also try to identify the stressors and find a way to deal- I have a master grocery list on the refrigerator and I check off what’s needed as I go. I make a menu plan for the week and stick to it, no standing at the pantry wondering what to cook! I also keep a notebook and pen on my nightstand- if I cant sleep I write what is keeping me up, then I know I won’t forget.

  • Thank you Max! I spend so much of my day taking care of others that I forget to take care of myself. And when I do take care of me, I sometimes feel a little guilt. I’ve printed this list and am planning on starting something new for me every week. Thank you for reminding me to take care of me!

  • I want to add ‘to get over the fear of starting’. I put off projects I think I would enjoy or places I would like to go.And it’s stupid! I don’t have that much to lose.

  • Omg, Home Comforts!!! I just started a re-re-RE-read of it, after 15 years of not properly keeping house. I used to re-read it constantly. Thank you so much for calling out Cheryl Mendelson and what a lifeline she is. ❤️

    • Have you read her novels, Lynn? SO FUN.

  • Loved this list. Saving it.

  • What a gift.

  • A great list – there were several that really struck me: one was “I’m not obliged to teach people how to treat me”. YES to that! I feel like it’s enough for me to treat myself respectfully, and if/when someone else does not treat me with respect, then I already know what I need to know about them. My time is too precious to spend on trying to teach or change them; I will just not allow them in my personal space/thoughts/feelings. (For sure this can include family.) As I’ve aged, I’ve actually found it easier to cut out toxic people – I think on my younger self, and shake my head at efforts I made to ‘understand them and help them understand me’. No more. Granted, if it’s someone I am forced to deal with (like, a boss), it’s trickier – with one terrible boss I had, I simply avoided them as much as possible during work and then made huge efforts to not allow them space in my head when the workday was done. I meditated and did fun activities (like knitting :)) in my efforts to not ruminate about them in my free time – it was a challenge, but well worth my effort towards self-caring. I have developed ways to be courteous to toxic people I cannot avoid, but to not actually give them the gift of my true self – and it feels so healthy.

  • Dearest EVERYONE – save this list and read it often. I need to add a changed me forever book to your Resources list: The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. Quiet that inner critic and see who you really are; thank you Max and MDK – you’ve added more than wonderful yarns and knit wisdom to my life.

    • Bunne, I cannot count the number of people who have told me to read this book. I think the timing wasn’t right when I tried it, but it’s clearly time to pick it up again.

  • Find the people who make you laugh! Yes.

  • This list is on my bookmarks bar now!

    Some of my extended family/holiday-related self-care tips:
    – Go for a walk if a gathering is too much to handle. (It’s a bit of a tradition now that the calmer family members take a walk together when things are getting crazy.)
    – If you live far away from you family and the holidays stress you out, visit some time other than the holidays.

    Some other stuff:
    – If you have makeup you’re afraid of but want to wear, just start wearing it as often as possible. It gets really fun and it’s nice to get use out of the neon pink lipstick you loved enough to buy. I’ve been focusing on different types of makeup that I own but do not wear for about a year each, and it’s been really fantastic. I don’t feel like I need to wear it, but it’s a lot of fun to play around and get dramatic. It’s also made me realize that no one is paying that much attention to my face (in a good way).

    • Finger snaps for this makeup tip! YES to everything here.

    • Yes, walk!

  • I am going to have to google “bougie lunch” 🙂

  • If you’re an introvert, build in a buffer day BEFORE having house guests. Otherwise, you won’t enjoy their company.
    If you need to remember something, put it on your calendar. Check the calendar last thing at night, first thing in the morning, to avoid nasty surprises.
    Put things you need to take with you tomorrow in the car or by the door NOW (except perishables).
    Leave yourself reminder notes where you will see them (like DENT APPT by the coffee maker).
    Leave yourself self care notes (like NOURISH YOURSELF on the microwave).
    Work SMARTER not harder.
    Take a day off each week from as many screens as you can.
    Check social media only once a day.
    Limit TV watching to 1 hour a day (or less).
    Don’t watch or listen to the news, read it instead, so you can filter what you are exposed to.
    Don’t answer the phone unless you recognize the number/caller ID.
    Opt outside.

    Wow. That’s another dozen. Hope they help someone – they help me a LOT!

    • Yep, helped me. Especially agree with all the abstinence or breaks from social media, including emails.

  • oh wow, oh wow! Thank you!

    Quinn, I had to look up “bougie” too!

  • I read all of them, I keep reminding myself about #28 and 89, though every suggestion is excellent. Thanks for compiling the list.

  • The comment about envy was great. When I have a wave of it, I’ve learned to ask myself what’s missing for me, why am I envious? And I often find there’s something I can do for me to right the balance. Not shopping, I mean some action, ranging from writing it out, looking at other ways I’m lucky, that kind of thing. Works much better!

  • the match of underwear – delightful. love this Max!!

  • Thanks for this great list. I’d like to second a couple that have been especially helpful for me recently.
    Music: when my dad passed away earlier this year, I found music very helpful as a mood-lifter. More recently, I live in fire-ravaged Sonoma County and even though I’m one of the lucky ones, it’s been a heartbreaking and horrible experience. When I sink into gloom, a good playlist can pull me right out. Spotify has turned out to be a great investment.
    Exercise: As a very reluctant exerciser my whole life, I was surprised to find a short routine on television that has transformed my attitude and boosted my sense of well-being. It’s called Classical Stretch, and is 23 minutes of daily flexibility and strengthening. I like it so much that I subscribed to the streaming version, so I’m not tied to the TV schedule. No affiliation, etc. I just have a feeling that there are others like me who will find this a life-changer.

    • Omigosh! I’m glad to hear you were among the lucky…

  • Love No. 89. At some point we have to stop following other people’s rules and templates and tyrannical..er, strong-minded tendencies.and be able to live with the consequences. That can take mucho practice. Just looked up bougie. It is NOT the French word for candle. Chloe

  • Drink enough water, divide the number of your weight by 2, and that is the number of ounces of water for you to drink (or aim for) AND drink your water out of a crystal goblet or pretty glass!
    I fill a pitcher with how much water I want to drink daily, then i don’t have
    to keep track as the day goes by.
    Thanks for the suggestions! from June

  • Thank you Max & MDK !! I am printing the list out too. Mwah and take good care !

  • Get a dog—they are allot of work, but they’re also an instant, built-in best friend.

  • I am in love with this list.

  • Thanks for the nudge to return to morning pages and artist’s dates. My life always went better when I did those and I haven’t in some time. Another thing I do is send myself gift notes when ordering things online or from catalogs. It’s fun to get those shoes with a note on the shipping slip that says, “You’re the greatest!”.

  • What a fantastic list — thank you. Recently I switched up my daily routine: after a lifetime of showering in the morning and rushing out to work, I’ve started to shower at night before bed. The extra few minutes this gives me in the morning has made a huge difference in my daily outlook. I love being able to give myself a slightly slower start in the mornings.

  • One thing that has helped me A LOT and dovetails with many of these, is using a planner. An actual paper planner with pens and stuff. And stickers! My gratitude list, reminders to workout, do yoga, not spend too much, hydrate, etc. All go in there, as do the usual appointments (and reminders to schedule my next whatever it is) and to dos.

    Being able to download all that in one place helps me stick to routines (super important as I have depression and anxiety) and eliminated the fear/frustration cycle I had about forgetting things.