This is a crazy time in the world! Our general daily circumstances are fraught with an unseen danger, our health is of utmost importance, and for most of us, money is tight.

Take care of yourself and your future self by using one of these ideas or coming up with some of your own replacements for shopping online and ordering in!

Often, the idea of self care gets reduced to shopping, spa treatments, and vacations. Is it possible to practice self care without the price tag?

Get Away

Vacations and spa trips can really help you reset, but if you can't make it happen right now, here are some cheap/free ways to access the same benefits.

Repetitive Work As Meditation

Meditating is free. Oh wait, no it's not, because time equals money.

Dishes. Laundry. Scouring. Vacuuming. These tasks hardly feel like they should go on the same list as a trip to the spa, but if you can get your head in the right space, the payoff is multiplied.

While doing a mindless task, practice being...well, mindless. Lose yourself in the simple integrity of the work and it becomes a valuable ritual of respect for yourself, your environment, and those around you—and the particular satisfaction of humble physical actions with noticeable, immediate results is impossible to get any other way.

The most attractive benefit? Instead of trying to make time for both meditation and chores, you wrap both concepts into one and don't have to think excessively about either.

Take care of your setting and mindset! It will make everything else feel better too.

Let Nature Nurture

Uninterrupted stretches of trees and meadows and hills and mountains. Rivers, ponds, lakes. The ocean. Grass beneath your bare feet. Views. Insects and birds and burrowing things. Stars and sunsets. Near silence.

All of these are free, with borderline unlimited access, and genuinely healing to all but the most ardent haters of the outdoors.

Sunshine and fresh air have a proven track record in fighting viruses. Gardening was recently shown to be one of the best possible activities for maintaining peace of mind and contentedness. Probably because it combines two ideas on this list.


At minimum you can find a patch of grass to stand in. Many people believe that just connecting skin to bare earth allows us to discharge built up positive ions and encourages better health in a variety of areas, from fatigue to inflammation.

Get out there and let this beautiful planet do the rest.

Breathing Deeply

For real though. This is an excellent quick fix. Four deep breaths: in...out. In...out. In...out. In...out. That's enough to make a difference in your day.

Enjoy Art

Make Something

Do you ever let yourself create without agenda? How long has it been since you shaped clay? Sketched a self portrait? Wrote down a meandering free flow of thoughts?

Do you sing in the shower? The car? Have you ever tried sorting your books by color? What about creating your own land art?

There are so many kinds of art that don't require special materials. But if you do decide to splurge for some art supplies, it's still a pretty reasonable investment in contrast to other forms of therapy.

Go on a Tour

Museums and galleries often have days or times when it's free to attend. And while they might not be open, many are offering free virtual tours right now. Take advantage!

Food Is an Art

Learn to cook! We've already explored this as a budget saver. It can also be extremely therapeutic. It mostly depends on your approach.

Learn a prep hack online and then try it out. Pick up some produce you don't recognize and make a meal around it. Attempt a new cuisine.

The Power of Touch

This is one of the hardest right now since we're all distancing but we stay healthiest with a LOT of physical touch. If you're sheltering with people, it's a good idea to try and hug each other more to make up for the reduction in outside hugs! We need anywhere from four to twelve per day to thrive!

If you've got time and a relationship that allows for it, right now is an ideal opportunity to learn some basic massage skills on one other!

If you're sheltering alone, a weighted blanket and/or a pet could be one of the most significant investments you could make right now.


Time with friends and family has always been high on my self care list, and I'm not a huge fan of FaceTime or Zoom.

See Your Friends, at Your Leisure

If you're like me, you might find an app like Marco Polo helpful. It lets you record short videos to whoever you want, whenever you want. They respond with their own videos whenever they want. It's a cross between FaceTime and texting.

Help the Post Office

Another wonderful and affordable way to connect during these tough times: handwritten letters and postcards! Super cheap, deeply appreciated, and as an added bonus, you can help this important public service.

Take care of yourself and your future self by using one of these ideas or coming up with some of your own replacements for shopping online and ordering in!