Many of us now spend most of our time indoors due to the coronavirus, and admittedly, it can get boring. Even if we aren’t, work or the uncertain economic climate might be stressing us out. A solution? A good ol’ dose of self-care to ward away boredom and all that tension – because it’s perfectly okay for you to take care of your emotional, physical and mental health.
Lest you think that self-care means expensive spa treatments or pricey retail therapy, let us stop you right there. Here are 25 self-care practices that won’t put a dent in your wallet, and will leave you better off in a jiffy.
1. Light up a candle or diffuse aromatherapy oils
A simple scented candle can change the mood of an entire room. Whether you prefer floral scents like therapeutic lavender, or the refreshing whiff of citrus, there’s bound to be a candle or an aromatherapy oil you like. Just light one up or switch on a diffuser, and be whisked away into a state of zen and relaxation.
2. Have a soak in the bath
There’s nothing like a long, lazy soak in the bath that will reinvigorate your muscles and your spirit. Fill your bathtub with warm water – bath bomb optional – and close your eyes to feel like you’re in for a real treat. Even if you don’t have a tub, a hot shower can feel equally as good if you savour every moment.
3. Do a YouTube yoga workout
Caring for yourself means treating your body like a temple. And YouTube workouts make it easy for you to get fit and enjoy a welcome shot of exercise endorphins. Beginners can do simple stretches or quick 10-minute routines, while those that wanna really sweat it out can try 30-day challenges on channels like Yoga With Adriene.
Also find here: Best YouTube workout videos at home to get fit and fab
4. Dance to your favourite song – or do a TikTok
Dance like nobody’s watching – in your living room. Busting a move can do wonders to lift your mood and it can work up a sweat too. Besides playing your favourite songs to groove to, you can make short dance clips on social media platform TikTok. The dances are pretty easy to do, and can be hilarious!
5. Organise and declutter your wardrobe
Clutter has been scientifically proven to cause negative feelings . So instead of getting frustrated at your messy mountain of clothes where you can’t find anything to wear, give your wardrobe the Marie Kondo treatment. Get rid of clothes that don’t fit or haven’t worn in months – you’ll be left with only outfits that spark joy for you. Plus, it’s therapeutic to declutter.
6. Use a meditation app to find inner peace
If you’re the sort with a racing mind, it’s time to practise mindful meditation to slow down a little. It gives you quality “me-time”, prevents burnout and makes you more aware of negative thought patterns to avoid. There are many phone apps you can download, too, to help you on your journey like Headspace and Calm.
7. Watch a stand-up comedy on Netflix
There’s a saying that goes “laughter is the best medicine”, and it’s true that giggles or full-on belly laughs can put you in a good mood. Our suggestion? Binge watch on some Netflix stand-up comedy specials or funny movies – there’s something for every type of humour.
8. Curate a music playlist
Channel your inner DJ and create playlists of your favourite or newfound songs through free platforms like Spotify. Want a soothing 1-hour mix? Put together some instrumentals. Want an upbeat playlist for your next house party? Line up your favourite EDM or Top 40 songs with a killer beat – the world’s your oyster.
9. Download fun and free phone games
It’s totally fine not to be productive every single second, and a quick way to destress is to load up a free phone game. You can do everything from restoring a garden (Gardenscapes), to playing stories in medieval or pirate worlds (Choices), to “collecting” cats in adorably relaxing game Neko Atsume.
10. Sort out your photos and go down memory lane
Nostalgia is a heady feeling, so whip out those old photos from your phone gallery and take a trip down memory lane. Looking at past pics of having a good time with friends and family can make you feel extra loved, and it’s fun to reminisce with another person – “Do you remember when we did…?”
11. DIY a fancy coffee – like Dalgona
You might have heard of viral Korean cafe-inspired Dalgona coffee. Using just instant coffee and sugar, just whip it up, add and milk and treat yourself to a fancy cuppa right at home. Get Dalgona coffee recipe here.
12. Groove to free live stream concerts by artistes
Whether your jam is Taylor Swift or BTS or Led Zeppelin, you can easily transport yourself to real live concerts through Youtube recordings or live streams of your fave artistes performing. It can be exhilarating – and there’s no need to squeeze in mosh pits here.
13. Create a gratitude list
We can get swept up in negativity in our daily lives, be it in the form of depressing news or complaints from others. Instead, focus on the positives by writing down a “gratitude list” – a.k.a. things you are grateful for like a loving family, good health, roof over your head…and so on. You’ll be surprised at how satisfied you feel after.
14. Catch the sunrise or sunset
Wake up extra early at dawn or pause at the golden hour in the evenings to take in Mother Nature’s beauty – in the form of a beautiful sunrise or sunset. The magnificence of the view will leave you awed. Pro tip: Don’t take a photo, and really soak in the moment.
Writing your thoughts in a journal can really help to sort them out and provide a cathartic outlet. Don’t hold anything back and express your emotions without fear of judgement. A diary or journey can also chart your growth as a person as you look back at earlier entries – and that’s insanely rewarding.
16. Paint or doodle or draw a portrait
Creative expression can help you destress. So, why not grab a paintbrush or pencil and start working on that next Van Gogh or Andy Warhol-worthy masterpiece?
You can sketch a portrait based on photos, paint up landscapes or just doodle aimlessly – it’s all part of the artistic process, yeah.
17. Learn a new skill like language
18. Visit a virtual museum
Overseas museums like New York’s MoMa or The Louvre in Paris might require a hefty admission charge, not to mention a plane trip over. But here’s a hack – catch a glimpse of your favourite museum’s galleries through online virtual tours. Check out The Louvre’s virtual tour and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation virtual tour for a fun-filled day of arts and culture.
19. Do a random act of kindness
Besides taking care of yourself, helping others can be a real “feel-good” moment. Text a struggling friend to check on how he or she is doing, volunteer to clean the dishes this time round… your efforts, no matter how small, will make the world a better place.
20. Make your bed
Self-care needn’t be a huge project. It can be as simple as waking up in the morning and making your bed. Yes, you’ll soon be sleeping in it again, but looking at a neatly made bed with pillows fluffed up and bed sheets tucked can make you feel like you’re scoring A+ in life – all in a matter of minutes.
21. Keep a compliments file
A nice word or compliment does wonders to boost our mood and self-esteem. And if you are feeling a little down, try noting down the nice things people have said to you in the past. Or just ask them now. Looking at these compliments in a consolidated journal or document can get you out of a funk and improve your emotional health.
22. Try out makeup looks
Even if you aren’t going anywhere, experimenting with new makeup looks at home is fun. It can be a great mood booster and empowerment tool – you’re not doing it for anyone, just you. So, go wild with that bright red lippy, peachy K-pop eyeshadow look or strong brows. You do you.
After all, if it doesn’t look great, just wash it off and try it again!
23. Create a travel log from past travels or dream destinations
Maybe travelling isn’t happening for you anytime soon, be it due to travel restrictions or lack of funds. There’s nothing to stop you from #wanderlust dreaming, though! Think of your dream destination and plan out a bucket list there, or compile old travel photos in a journal of sorts to remember your most epic adventures.
24. Put on a face mask for a mini-spa day
Pamper yourself with a spa day right at home by applying your favourite masks to your face – cucumber on eyes, optional. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes and lay back on your coach for a welcome respite from all the busyness of life. Pro tip: Moisturise after for an extra perk-me-up.
25. Take a nap
Even if it’s the middle of the day, a short 10-20 minute nap can help you reduce sleep debt and make you feel invigorated. You’re not being lazy, you’re recharging your batteries. So, shed off the guilt and treat yourself to some well-deserved shuteye.
Whatever your choice of self-care practice, one thing’s for sure – make time for them and you’ll feel a whole lot better about life!
 Beau, E. L. (2019, January 3). The Unbearable Heaviness of Clutter. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/03/well/mind/clutter-stress-procrastination-psychology.html
Jessica is one half of twins, and is a Gryffinpuff according to Harry Potter’s Sorting Hat. She will never say no to an adventure. While waiting for the next one, she takes MBTI quizzes (INFP), sings Disney songs and pole-dances.