Sustainable and Cheap - 15 Self-Care Ideas
Is anyone else having a hard time? Feeling a lot of anxiety and stress? I know that my mental health has definitely taken a hit.
If you're feeling the same way, you’re certainly not alone. It's easy to be stressed and overwhelmed with the current state of affairs or what’s going on with our planet.
If you haven’t, check out my blog post 5 Tips for Dealing with Eco-Anxiety. I go over a few ways that you can help manage your anxiety and stress around these events that are somewhat out of our control.
I’m not trying to downplay individual action because many of us can do small things that add up to a massive impact, but most of us aren’t currently in a position to make policy reform.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to incorporate sustainable practices in your life, be sure to check out my 31 Day Zero Waste Challenge.
I’m a bit shaken up right now, and I’m just trying to stay calm, relax, and wait it out - which is honestly a lot harder than it sounds.
So, I was thinking of a few inexpensive and sustainable ways that you could take your mind off what’s happening with a few self-care tips.
a warm drink:
I always like to start my day with a warm drink. I’m partial to a nice cup of tea. I prefer loose leaf tea because many tea bags can release millions of tiny plastic particles into your cup - yuck!
I typically brew my cup of tea in the early morning, and it’s nice to have that small bit of time to myself. It's nice to just to breathe, observe and check-in with myself. It's a great way to relax and start the day in a good mental space.
Sometimes it’s also really nice to take around 10 minutes to brew a really nice specialty drink just for myself. Maybe a homemade hot chocolate or a matcha latte. Here’s a link to all of my favorite recipes.
For me, self-care is simply about taking a few extra moments to indulge. It’s taking a little bit longer. It’s about enjoying the slow moments and opening up space in my day to just breathe and be without worrying about what I have to do next.
And, nothing puts the brakes on my day quite like applying a face mask. It’s about 10 minutes of waiting and pausing.
Bonus points if you combine a few of these self-care ideas together. Maybe throw a few deep breaths and meditate while it's working.
I’m not a huge fan of sheet masks because they’re pretty wasteful. I prefer to make face masks from a few simple ingredients that you can whip up in your kitchen or buy masks that come in small glass jars.
The jars can be upcycled and reused. You can apply these masks with your fingers or a brush if you’re feeling extra luxurious. When you buy a face mask in a jar, you’re saving money in the long run.
This five pack of sheet masks costs $35. It is an organic and natural skin-care brand, but for a similar price point, you could buy a small jar and get way more use than just five applications.
Here are a few of my favorite face masks you can give a try.
Seed Phytonutrients Invigorating Face Mask - in a recyclable metal tube
Herbivore Blue Tansy - in a glass pot and one of my personal favorites!
23 Skin - you can use the code ’KATHRYN20’ for 20% off!
take a walk:
It’s no secret that getting outside and connecting with nature reduces stress levels. If you’re having a hard time then put on a pair of tennis shoes and go take a walk.
It’s nice having Nala around because she always encourages me to get outside the house even when I don’t feel like it… And, after I go on a walk I always wind up feeling a lot better.
In fact, I’m planning on taking the old girl out as soon as I finish writing this blog post, and for her, that can’t come soon enough.
Check out my post on sustainable and ethical activewear.
take a bath:
Now, I know that everyone thinks taking a bath is just wasting water, but depending on the size of your bathtub and the type of shower head you have, you might actually save water by taking a bath.
Before I switched to a Nebia Showerhead, if I were shaving, I’d save water by filling up my small bathtub.
Now, I only take a bath when I’m feeling super stressed out which is about a few times a year. I like to light a candle or two, and add in a few bath salts.
Bath salts are incredibly easy to make at home. I’ve got a wonderful recipe that’s easily customizable!
But, if DIY just isn’t your thing or you don’t have any Epsom salts lying around a friend gifted me a jar of Herbivore bath salts which I’ve really enjoyed!
If you’re feeling a little out of control, one thing you can do right now is clean. It’s great to see immediate progress being made in an area that you manage.
Cleaning is on the top of my self-care list.
I like to make my own cleaners because it’s better for both my health and the health of the planet. Plus it’s super easy and cheap!
A lot of conventional cleaning products are irritating to both the nose and throat due to artificial fragrances, volatile organic compounds (the same building blocks that create smog), and other toxic ingredients.
Most conventional cleaners are also packaged in plastic and many of them aren’t biodegradable meaning they won’t break down in nature.
If there’s a real nasty bug going around your house, then I recommend ditching the vinegar and instead of putting non-diluted 70% isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle both of which have been given a green light by the CDC.
Similarly to cleaning, now is a great time to declutter. There’s something so refreshing about cleaning out an old drawer or cabinet and reevaluating what you truly need.
Now, you might think that decluttering is in complete opposition to a zero-waste lifestyle, but I would challenge that. Figuring out what we truly need allows us to share and redistribute our resources.
I wrote all about this in my post How to Declutter - The Zero Waste Way!
When it comes to decluttering, you don’t have to spend a dime. In fact, it’s one of the few ways you might be able to put a little extra change in your pocket, if you’re able to sell any of your items.
I personally like to send my gently used clothes back to ThredUp.
Few things bring me more joy than putting on a favorite tune and dancing away. Whether you’re a dancer or not crank some tunes and move your body!
You don't have to be good, you just have to start. This one practice always puts me in a good mood and gets me out of my head. It stops negative self-talk right in its tracks.
One of my favorite tunes to jam too is anything Abba. What about you?
read a book:
Reading is one of my favorite past times. Last year, for our anniversary my husband installed a hammock in my office. It’s the best place to snuggle up with a good book. I love to just relax and slowly sway.
I like to get lost in either a fiction book or read about topics I’m interested in like sustainability. If you’re interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle you should check out 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste.
If you’ve already read that one, here’s a list of sustainability books I love.
call a friend:
If you’re feeling down or lonely, pick up the phone and call a friend or family member. I know that I always feel better after chatting with my mom or one of my best friends.
To make this a double whammy, combine a few of these self-care tips. Talk with your loved ones while you’re taking a walk. Fresh air, being outdoors and good conversation. This always makes me feel good.
Similar to dancing or walking, getting your body moving is a great way to take care of yourself and feel good. To quote Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't.”
One of my favorite apps is downdog. They offer several different types of movement like HIIT, Yoga, Barre etc. but their standard yoga is free to use. I like to use this when I wake up in the morning or before bed.
If you don’t want to download another app there are plenty of stretching and yoga YouTube videos.
watch an old favorite:
Speaking of Elle Woods, tune into one of your favorite movies or TV shows. I don’t like to binge watch when I’m not feeling super great. Sometimes, it can feel a little unhealthy lying down and not moving for hours. This tends to increase my anxiety and stress on the backend.
I like to watch a favorite movie because most movies have a very specific beginning and end where TV shows can suck you in for HOURS. I love TV shows too, just be cautious and maybe set a more strict time limit.
If you’re looking for any good documentaries, here are a few sustainable documentaries that I recommend.
This is one of the self-care strategies I need to get better about. I know that it's one of the best things I can do for my mental health.
I talked about meditation quite a bit in a recent post 10 Health and Wellness Habits You Should Adopt for the New Year.
I really like using the app calm for meditation. They do have a few free ones you can do, but I’m not a huge fan of guided meditations. I prefer just to sit with the ambient noise and have the bell chime every five minutes.
take a class:
Learning a new skill is a great way to improve yourself which I think is the ultimate form of self-care. If you’re looking to expand a new hobby then you should definitely check out Skillshare.
You can get a preview of the class with the video below!