Self-Care on a budget

Self-care is critical to your well-being!  Just ask any Health & Wellness Coach.

If you’re not caring for yourself, it will eventually become impossible for you to care for those you love because you can’t fill someone’s coffee cup if your coffee pot is empty.

But what is self-care, and how can I do it when I’m barely making ends meet?

Many people think self-care means expensive and luxurious spa treatments or memberships.  Those things definitely fall into the category of self-care, but there is more.  

Healing with Essential Oils with Aromatherapist, Melissa Holman
What is Self-Care Anyway?

According to, self-care is the act of attending to one’s physical or mental health, generally without medical or other professional consultation.

I would add that taking part in the things that give you energy, joy, and spark is also a key part of self-care.

My Self-Care Journey

Yes, I consider self-care a journey…not a destination.  Figuring out the things you enjoy can take time and experimentation, and what fills you up can change as you move through the phases of life.

Something I’ve realized recently about myself (I may be a little slow sometimes): Here I am in my 50s, and I’m just now learning what I enjoy, what gives me energy and joy.

Most people spend their 20s experimenting and figuring out who they are and what they enjoy.  I was just 23 when our fourth child was born, so I spent those experimental years parenting and focused on my kids instead of learning about me. 

Another thing that held me back in my 20s and 30s was our budget.  We had four kids and lived on a single income.  Not because my hubs was a big earner, but because we made the hard choice for me to stay home and raise our kids. There wasn’t any extra room in our budget for me to do the things I mentioned at the beginning.

So, here I am now, learning what I like, what fills me up, and implementing self-care into my life.

Your Self-Care Journey

As I said before, self-care is a journey.  What feeds your soul today may not be the same thing that worked before or will work in the future.  Being open to the shift will ensure your self-care journey remains fun and sustainable.

There’s nothing worse than getting bored with your self-care.

Maybe today is the first day you’ve considered adding Self-Care into your routine.

Maybe you know self-care is important, and you’re trying to figure out how to adjust your schedule so you have time for it.

Or maybe you are living paycheck to paycheck and wondering if you can fit it into your already strapped budget.

Regardless of where you are in your journey, here are some tips to get started.

Maybe you have no idea what self-care even looks like!

Here’s a list of some things to consider and inspire you:

  • Pampering yourself (like already mentioned) with massages, manicures/pedicures, facial treatments
  • Going out to lunch by yourself or with a friend
  • Going for a leisurely drive in the country
  • Take a yoga class
  • Crossfit
  • Painting
  • Get a new tattoo

But what if your budget is limited?  Don’t worry; many things are free that can offer self-care

  • Take a hike
  • Go for a walk by yourself, with a friend, or with your dogs
  • Cook a nice meal and eat by candlelight
  • Take an Aromatherapy bath by candlelight
  • Turn off the screens and enjoy a board game or a good book
  • Enjoy yoga on Youtube
  • Move the living room furniture, turn on some dance music, and have a dance party at home
What if You’re Strapped for Time?

I would be curious to know if you’re truly strapped or just not prioritizing.  

Consider the amount of time you spend scrolling on your phone.

Consider how much time you spend in front of the TV.

Many times we truly aren’t strapped; we’re just not using our time wisely.

However, If you really don’t see how you could fit any more into your day and if you are truly running from one commitment to the next, the first step in your self-care journey might be to reevaluate your commitments. 

Is there something you could let go to free up some time for self-care?

If you don’t see any way to free up time, if every single commitment is necessary, it might be beneficial to look into the cracks!

Block Time vs. Crack Time

Many time-management experts encourage their clients to block time in their schedules to accomplish big tasks.  This is a valuable time management technique if you have the blocks available.

But what if all of the blocks are already full?  Then what?

Take a look at your day.  If you really look at how things are scheduled, you will find cracks of time. Maybe you have 15 minutes between cooking dinner and actually sitting down to eat.  Maybe you have 10 minutes in the school line waiting to pick up the kids. That’s the crack time! 

In those small minutes of time, you might be able to fit something that feeds your soul: listening to your favorite music, reading, praying, or going for a walk, whatever you love doing that feeds your mental or physical health.

Look to the cracks if you really are truly strapped for time, and find something that feeds your self-care that fits into that crack.

Your Intention matters

Regardless of what you choose to implement into your self-care routine, HOW you do it matters.

You could take your dogs for a walk and do it so that it depletes you instead of filling you up.  

You could have a dance party in your living room, but instead of doing it from a place of joy and fun, you do it out of obligation.

If you enter your self-care full of stress and self-judgment, your outcome may not be what you desire.  Instead, before you step into the bath or turn on the music, stop, take a deep breath, and offer a word of gratitude for being able to do the thing you’re about to do.

Your motivation for engaging in self-care is just as important as the self-care option you choose.