11 Ways to Treat Yourself (That don’t involve money or food)
It’s not hard to think up great ways to treat yourself. We’d all love a spa day topped off with a meal prepared and served by someone else. Maybe a sitter for the night, so the little angels are asleep when we get home. Or just a morning where the cat doesn't wake you up by sitting on your windpipe. But for every article I see about self care, I get frustrated and think "Who can afford that?" Yes, I could goof off for an afternoon with a sack of potato chips and a tub of ice cream chaser, but that's not particularly healthy.
I'm a fan of realistic self-care. That is, activities that aren't expensive, don't involve food, and will make you feel good about how you spent that time. Here's a list of my favorites Meditate, the easy way If you're the kind of person who can't sleep during the day, napping can be more like torture. But guided meditation is a whole other story. It gives your mind something (easy) to do so the rest of you can relax a bit. There are plenty of free guided meditations online, my favorites are at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center website.
Walk and a picnic Okay, this one involves food, or just a beverage. Pack a little bag with a snack and a drink and go for a walk. Doesn't need to be far, doesn't need to be fancy. Just get outside, find a rock or a glade or a bench, settle in and sip your beverage. Listen to the quiet, or people-watch. Even better, bring a little trash bag and pick up litter along your route. You've just added in a random act of kindness to your personal time. Go, you! Read a book (or have one read to you) When was the last time you read for pleasure? Even if you can't get to your library, there are plenty of Free ebooks on Amazon, and your local library may have a free online borrowing program. The Yavapai Library network (if you're in northern Arizona) has Overdrive, accessible online for both ebooks and audiobooks. Or reread some of your favorite books from childhood if you have them hanging around. Learn something If you choose the topic right, learning is great self-care. Pick a topic for FUN. Don't feel like you need to learn something pertinent to your work or a current hobby. Check out Coursera, MIT or Harvard to start. (But there are PLENTY of sources for free online classes, do your own searching, too!) Draw Bust out a piece for paper and draw something. Even if you don't have fancy pencils or crayons or markers, you can play with shading and pressure and make something cool. There are plenty of free coloring pages you can download and print out. Write a letter (this one will cost you the price of a stamp) Remember letters? On real paper? It's becoming a lost art, which is kind of sad. it used to be so exciting to get a real letter in the mail. Not a bill, not an advertisement, but a real letter, with news, from someone you love. It was downright magical. If you feel totally lost and don't know where to start, here's a site to help you out.
Geocaching! (Pre-PokemonGo-Style) Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. There are plenty of free apps to help you learn geocaching and get started. My favorite is Geocaching.com.
YouTube Karaoke For nearly every song out there, there's a karaoke accompaniment on YouTube. Really. Crank it up and let it rip. You’re a stress-free superstar now! Play cards Get a kid and play Uno, or find an old deck of real cards and fall into a game of solitaire. Foot bath You can go nuts and find a whole bunch of fancy recipes on the internet, or just throw some salt into big bowl of warm water. Put a foot in there. Scrub it a bit with a washcloth. It feels good, the warmth is calming (or use cool water if it's a zillion degrees where you're at), and your feet will be all soft and good-smelling when you take ‘em out. Got a teabag? Throw it in. Got an essential oil you like? A few drops will do. When you're ready, dry that foot off and slather with some lotion. Or coconut oil. Or olive oil. Whatever you have is just fine. (Put some socks on to really make it last, and so you don't slip, ok?) And when all else fails: Nap Put your jammies on and take a nap. In your bed. Not all jammed up on the couch with the TV on. Close the shades in your bedroom and hunker down for a proper sleep.
There. You don’t have to spend money or fill your belly to feel great and treat yourself well!