The year might be winding down, but it’s not too late to start thinking about yourself for a change. Giving yourself a gift might seem like a pipe dream — but it doesn’t have to. Here are five wallet-friendly gifts that you can give yourself that will improve your mental and physical health, not just for the year, but always.The Gift of Time
The most precious gift you can give to yourself is that of time — time to reflect on the day, time for a nice meal together, and time to simply unwind. Teresa Ho of Tiny Buddha explains that you need time to learn about yourself and to recharge your proverbial batteries. This could mean something as seemingly insignificant as taking a long bath each night, going for a drive, or retreating to bed with a good book.
Unfortunately, between work, kids, and other obligations, time is a precious commodity. Consider setting aside a few dollars each paycheck to treat yourself to an afternoon “off” every once in a while. This could be hiring a housekeeper for a day; getting a manicure, pedicure, and massage; or trading childcare with friends once a month. Many housekeeping services and day spas offer first-time customer discounts — don’t be afraid to ask for an introductory offer.
The Gift of Wellness
Wellness is comprised of many things, but exercise is one of the best ways to ensure overall health. Gym memberships are, unfortunately, expensive. When you’re on a budget, you’ll have to get creative and look for low- and no-cost opportunities to improve your physical fitness. The Penny Hoarder’s Jen Hayes suggests looking for free yoga classes at local churches, colleges, and health stores. You may have to make a small investment in gear or apparel, and Amazon has you covered with an unending selection of budget-friendly items. Look for Amazon coupons online to save up to 50 percent off your wellness gear; you may even find cashback deals.
If you’re not interested in group classes or would prefer to exercise in the outdoors, remember that hiking is free and there are trails everywhere.
The Gift of Self-Care
Contrary to popular belief, self-care doesn’t have to be a splurge. Sure, a day at the spa, a tropical vacation, or a shopping spree can help you relax, but there are plenty of other ways to release stress, ease anxiety, and take better care of yourself without breaking the bank. Bring your spa day home with DIY epsom salt and essential oil foot soaks. Use a vacation day, and plan a staycation where you lounge at home. Invite some friends to clean out their closets and come over for a clothes swap.
In addition to the occasional low-cost treat, you should also build a daily routine that includes more basic self-care tasks: getting enough sleep, managing pain, and reducing anxiety. More and more people are turning to products that include cannabinoid oil (CBD) because it addresses all of these things without the side effects of pharmaceuticals. To make sure you’re getting the best value, divide the price you are paying by the milligrams of CBD in the bottle. Then, compare it to other brands. Be sure to do your research and check with your doctor before adding any supplement to your regimen.
The Gift of Friendship
In life, people come and go. However, true friendships are rare. Let go of the notion that you have to go on expensive outings or even more expensive shopping trips to spend time with people who make you feel happy. Craft stores, such as Michael’s, usually offer a rotating calendar of dirt-cheap classes for kids and adults that can easily take up an entire afternoon.
When you’d rather share a good meal, consider turning an outing into an evening at home cooking and catching up. Even if you’re not currently handy in the kitchen, there are plenty of cookbooks that can help you get the most out of your food budget. You can save even more by downloading the ebook versions, which are usually less than half the cost of printed books.
The Gift of Letting Go
Finally, learn to let go of the stress that keeps you up at night. Remember, you can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control how you react. Pay attention to what Joseph Cardilla, Ph.D. calls “phantom stress,” which are those things that give you anxiety but are unlikely to happen, such as being in a plane crash or getting eaten by an anaconda. Consider adding aromatherapy to your daily activities, such as your bath and your bedtime routine. MindBodyGreen.com lists the best affordable essential oils manufacturers.
Just because you’re on a shoestring budget doesn’t mean that you can’t give yourself a platinum-level gift. Sometimes, it’s the things money can’t buy, such as time alone and friendship, that make the most difference. However, for the things you have to spend money on, there are almost always ways to get around paying full price.
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