12 Free Self Care Ideas by Inspired Budget

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you don’t always put yourself first. In fact, I’m guessing you are usually last on the priority list. It’s probably been a long time since you’ve taken any time in your day for self-care.

How do I know this? Well, I think that you and I are a lot alike. We both struggle with finding the time (oh, sweet time!) to get everything done. In fact, it probably seems like you’re always taking care of everyone else! You do A LOT. You run this house, take care of your kids, pets, and maybe even your hubby. Not to mention that you’re trying to get your family’s finances and spending under control!

If you’re spending time taking care of everyone else, then who is taking care of you?! Chances are likely that you’re exhausted and fall into bed at the end of the day. Bonus points if you actually remember to take all your makeup off!

I know you’re struggling, friend. I know, because I’ve been there. And it wasn’t until I had a therapist staring me in the face and speaking wisdom into me that I realized I needed to allow myself to have a little self-care. She said, “My goodness, you have got to do something for yourself.” That was (and still is) my weekly homework from her. Every week I take at least an hour (or sometimes more!) to take care of myself! 

And I can bet that you need that hour each week too. And to help you indulge without breaking the bank, I’ve compiled a list of 12 self-care ideas that won’t cost you a penny. That’s right! I’m talking FREE ideas for you to take care of yourself again.

It’s time to put yourself first for at least an hour each week. And no one said it had to be expensive!

1. Go on a walk.

This is the top of the list because it’s my absolute favorite way to indulge in self-care. In fact, this is the exact thing that I started doing when my therapist gave me homework many months ago. I’d lace up my shoes and either head straight out my door or find a beautiful park to explore. There’s something about fresh air that helps lift your mood and clear your mind.

It doesn’t matter if you go walking early in the morning or in the evening. Heck, you could even do both! All that matters is that you’re spending time with yourself!

2. Take a nap.

One of the easiest and best ways to indulge in self-care is to get the rest that you know you are missing. If you’re not getting enough sleep each night, then a nice long nap is a great way to make sure that you are well-rested and ready to tackle everything else on your to-do list. Feeling guilty about sleeping? It’s okay! Just set an alarm for 30 minutes and close your eyes. Even if you don’t fall asleep, you’re sure to get some serious rest.

3. Call a friend.

Are you guilty of not taking the time to invest in friendships? If so, you are not alone! With pressure to do all the things and be perfect, it’s easy to let friendships slip away. I’ve noticed that I always feel better after enjoying a phone call with one of my best friends. Yes, we are both busy. Yes, we both have a lot on our plates. But you know what, we still love chatting on the phone and encouraging one another! You won’t regret taking an hour each week to call a friend, I promise!

4. Exercise or workout.

Getting in exercise is a perfect way to put yourself first! It doesn’t matter if you go on a run, or lookup a workout video on YouTube. You can find tons of absolutely free workout videos online. From yoga to high-intensity exercise, there’s something for everyone!

5. Read a book.

Sometimes self-care comes down to leaving your world behind in a good book! No matter how stressful your life is, you’ll enjoy escaping in a plot that keeps you turning the page. Head to your local library for their selection! Most libraries even allow you to check out audiobooks or eBooks online! 

6. Put your phone on “do not disturb” mode.

Let’s be honest. When was the last time you put your phone on “do not disturb” mode? And I’m not talking about when you were on the plane and couldn’t be reached. I’m talking you actually turned it off or set it to where you get ZERO notifications! I can’t remember the last time that I unplugged this way! And I know deep down that it’s something that I need to do more often. So this weekend, turn off ALL phones and computers for an hour and enjoy uninterrupted time with your favorite people.

7. Take a bath.

You can’t beat a nice, long luxurious bath. You don’t even need to buy fancy bubbles or bath bombs. Just pour your normal body wash into the water as it leaves the faucet and voila! You’ll have a free and relaxing bubble bath! Add a good book and a candle and you’ll be ready to unwind and escape your to-do list.

8. Paint your nails.

I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that you have nail polish in your house. I’m also guessing that you could use a good manicure or pedicure (I know I could!). Take time to paint your own nails while you indulge in a Netflix show that you love. Use this time to take care of yourself…even if it’s just to make sure you got a solid second coat!

9. Invite a friend over for coffee.

There’s no need to hit up Starbucks or a fancy coffee shop to spend quality time with a friend. Invite someone over for a cup of coffee and catch up without distractions. Sometimes just getting the opportunity to talk to another adult that doesn’t need you is wonderful! Enjoy it!

10. Indulge in magazines.

I used to love getting magazines in the mail! Back in middle school and high school, I’d read my favorite magazines from cover to cover. But as we began our debt free journey, I knew that we needed to cut any magazine subscriptions. That’s why I was so excited when I realized our local library had FREE magazine subscriptions online! All I had to do was sign in on my phone or computer and I could read my favorite magazines cover to cover again!

11. Spend time in nature.

When was the last time that you went outside in nature with no distractions? It doesn’t matter if you go on a walk (like I mentioned in #1) or just sit outside. The point is to get out of the house and enjoy all that nature has to offer. One of my favorite spots to spend time in nature is in my backyard hammock. It hangs between two large oak trees and sways in the wind. Sometimes I read a book in my hammock and other times I just listen to the leaves blow in the wind while my kids play nearby. Find your spot. Maybe it’s a local park that you enjoy. Maybe it’s your front yard. But whatever you do, turn off the tv and enjoy time in nature.

12. Go to a free museum.

Chances are likely that your city (or a nearby city) has a free museum that you can explore. It’s a perfect way to escape the thoughts that are clouding your mind and focus on something else entirely. Simply open up your phone and type in “free museums near me” in the search bar. You’ll be surprised how many will pop up! Visit a new one each month as a way to pour back into yourself!

I’m happy to say that after sitting in that therapist’s office, I’ve made self care a part of my weekly routine. And I hope that you can do the same! Choose a few of these ideas and make a promise to yourself that you’ll try them out. And I want to know what else you enjoy doing for self-care! Let me know in the comments!