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25 Ways To Practice Self-Care That Don’t Cost A Dime

By Whitney Blakeslee

What is self-care? A lot of people think about bubble baths, shopping, or manicures, but that doesn’t always fit into the cards. Self-care is about intentionally creating the time and space in your life to truly take care of yourself – and to make sure you have the energy to take care of everyone else, too. It will vary from person to person, but think less about pretty nails and more about being a parent to yourself. You know that you won’t feel your best if you are running on no sleep, too much coffee, and cookies for breakfast. What do you need to change to feel rested, fulfilled, and healthy? Here are a few ideas.

1. Schedule that dentist appointment. I promise you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders when you cross that item off your to-do list!

2. Go for a walk outside.

3. Put on your headphones and listen to your favorite podcast. You can block the child chaos out for a bit while still watching them.

4. Crank your favorite music and have a dance party!

5. Grab a pen and paper. Write in your journal for five minutes.

6. Read a book.

7. Pull up a yoga class on YouTube and stretch for 10 minutes.

8. Meditate. Calm and HeadSpace are some of my favorite apps if you prefer guided meditation.

9. Write a thank-you card to someone in your life and send it. Everyone loves snail mail, and it feels good to brighten someone’s day.

10. Call a friend.

11. Hug someone for at least 10 seconds. It will boost your oxytocin levels!

12. Watch comedy skits or listen to a funny podcast.

13. Sign up to volunteer your time to walk dogs at your local animal shelter.

14. Go to bed early. Skip the Netflix or social-media scrolling and turn off the lights.

15. Create a meal plan for the week and prep some food so that packing lunches and dinnertime don’t feel so stressful. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. I toss some potatoes in the oven, cook up some chicken thighs, and dice up some raw veggies and that provides me enough options to build a meal quickly with different sauces and grains.

16. Set up a childcare swap with a friend or a neighbor. Some child-free time is necessary!

17. Clean out your closet and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit. Connect with friends and arrange a clothing swap to freshen up your wardrobe.

18. Download a free star-gazing app and go outside after dark to try to identify constellations. Soak up the quiet night air.

19. Clean out the clutter from your desk or a junk drawer. It feels really good to get rid of things that are taking up space in your life!

20. Grab a whiteboard marker and write a positive affirmation on your bathroom mirror.

21. Pack up dinner and take it to the park for a picnic.

22. Use a free app like Sworkit, Seven Minute Workout for Kids, or Freeletics Bodyweight for a quick 10-minute workout. Exercise gets the endorphins flowing!

23. Go to the library and find a comfy chair to read new magazines.

24. Find a playground and actually play on it with your kids! Hang from the bars, go down the slide, and start a game of tag.

25. Write up a to-do list for the week, month, and year. Get all those lingering items out of your head and onto paper so you can rest easier at night with a plan in place.

How do you practice self-care? Share your tips and tricks with us!


Whitney is a personal trainer and mom to a preschooler. She spends her days advocating for strong and healthy habits for women and families and loves to cook even though she can’t follow a recipe to save her life. 

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