20 Free and Healthy Ways to Treat Yourself

20 Free and Healthy Ways to Treat Yourself

Friends, I can’t thank you enough for your response to Monday’s post. Before I say anything more, if you’re ever tempted to treat yourself as a form of therapy, go back and read the comments. I was so moved by each and every one of them. Thank you for opening up about your own struggles and sharing your stories with us. I am not alone. You are not alone. We are in this together.

I received more email responses to that post than any other I have written before. Along with your stories and support, you shared some of the ways you take care of yourself when times are tough. As a follow-up, I wanted to compile your ideas and share them with everyone who may need them. Here is a list of healthy ways to treat yourself (without buying or binging on anything). xo

  1. Take a day off from any errands and to-do list items. The world will not crumble if things pile up for one more day.
  2. Have a slow morning (or slow evening or slow lunch hour or slow coffee break or whatever you can make time for).
  3. Take a hot shower or an epsom salt bath.
  4. Light a candle or burn some essential oils.
  5. Throw on a fresh pair of socks or your favourite slippers and put your feet up.
  6. Soak up some sunshine. Sit, walk, hike, run. Do whatever you want. Just get some Vitamin D.
  7. Cross something (free) off your bucket list. (For me, this is usually a park I want to visit or a hike I have yet to tackle.)
  8. Plan your next trip. It doesn’t cost anything to dream.
  9. If you get outside, pay attention to your surroundings. Touch the trees. Listen to the sounds. Remember the smells.
  10. Take a different trail. This could be a different route for your commute, a different walking/hiking trail… or it could simply mean switch up your routine and try something new.
  11. Drink your favourite non-alcoholic beverage. Water, water with lemon, a smoothie, tea, coffee, whatever. Fill up your favourite glass/mug and enjoy every sip.
  12. Re-read your favourite book. (If you’re curious, I’ve been reading random chapters from The Alchemist, Love Warrior and Essentialism.)
  13. Listen to an audiobook read by the author. It’s incredible to hear the story told in their voice. (I highly recommend any of Elizabeth Gilbert’s books. She’s an amazing narrator.)
  14. Watch some comedy. It can be a rerun of one of your favourite shows or some standup or even a movie. Just watch something silly and funny.
  15. Listen to music and sing along as loud as you darn well please. And if you feel so inclined, dance your butt off, too.
  16. Do one of the practices in Adriene’s Yoga for Healing series. (Thank you to Anja for this.)
  17. Take a nap or go to bed early – or both. Catch up on the sleep you crave.
  18. Write down a few things you love about yourself. On my list: my strength, my willingness to “look stupid” but ask questions anyway, my green eyes, my curves.
  19. Spend time with an animal. There’s nothing like them. <3
  20. Invite someone over. Or just talk to someone. You’ll be reminded you are not alone. And if you’re lucky, they’ll make you laugh. :)

Are there any other free ideas you want to add to the list!? 

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  • 12 and 14 are my go-tos. In the past year or two I have re-introduced fiction to my reading diet, first by re-reading a couple books that I loved to help get out of a funk. I find that fiction (especially sci-fi or fantasy) really helps build distance between you and your problems that can help to build perspective. I also love stand-up specials on Netflix. Super easy to just take an hour, sit on the couch, laugh, and recharge.

    I’ll have to give some of the other recommendations a try!

  • Great ideas!

    Just taking a shower and making sure I’m eating proper nutrients are huge on days when I don’t feel like much of anything.

    Another thing that helps is wearing clothing that makes you feel good (that you already own)! It’s amazing what clothing can do emotionally. For me that usually means a swishy dress, but it could be a funny sweater – anything that makes you smile. 😃

  • I’m uplifted a lot by the arts. Many cities have free activities or festivals. Sometimes there are free concerts, or festivals, or movie screenings. You can also go to a talk at your local library, or a free lecture somewhere.

    That might take some research, but there are a lot of things that are available to do for free or low-cost.

    (For me, going to a movie in the theatre is a form of therapy. For the length of the movie, I don’t have to think about anything but what’s happening on the screen. Even seeing a sad movie sometimes makes me feel better. I’ve been known to cry through a whole movie, but feel amazing when I leave the theatre).

  • My two cents worth…I think you are right that buying things does not equal happiness and shouldn’t be a way to fill your bucket…but, I don’t think it is a bad thing to sometimes do something nice for yourself, even if that means (gasp) buying something. You are moving into a new phase of your life and there is nothing wrong with wanting a few new things to mark/start/celebrate the occasion. Buying yourself some new (useful) dishes and glasses and maybe a new dish towel or two is okay. Selling the old furniture because you want something newer and maybe a little less dingy is not a bad thing. I think you have the whole make-do-with-what-you-have thing down, but don’t beat yourself up because something is old and worn out or full of memories from another time in your life that you are ready to let go of as you move on to this next part of your journey. Whatever you decide is okay…do what is right for you. Good luck with your move and thanks for sharing your story.

  • I like to give myself a manicure or pedicure at home. I’ll start with a nice soak, followed by exfoliation. Clean up the cuticles. Then I’ll get some polish on (seriously the best part is what color I’m going to pick out from my stash). Then lotion! Seriously after not being able to have my fingernails in polish for 3 years (because of my job) that’s one of the first things I did was my nails! It was great! I realized how much I missed doing it.

    Oh and knitting! Knitting is so relaxing for me. I’m not exactly the artistic type (can’t draw, paint, write) but I can knit. I can chose the pattern and the yarn type and colour and honestly it’s so cool to watch the progress of a project.

    For the record I consider this free because I already have everything to do this. Does that make sense?

  • I found your blog about 9 months ago. I love your focus to solve whatever areas in your life you want to improve. You have made me reflect on so many areas of my life for the better! This past week I have had extremely limited activity due to a case of very bad vertigo. Interestingly, one of the things that would be easy to do is internet shopping (as long as I keep my head still…..eye movement is okay as long as my head stays still). It is like the months of reading your blog have helped me to prepare for this week.
    I recently caught up to your current posts. This week’s post was PERFECT!
    Buying your way to happiness/contentment or to solve boredom is not the answer.
    I would add reading your blog to the list of 20 healthy ways to treat yourself. Your willingness to share your experiences and the genuineness of your words convey how much you care about others. Thanks for your generous spirit!

  • I love these! Stay strong, Cait ❤️ And thank you for sharing them, they are going straight into my toolbox!
    I would like to add: give yourself a nice foot massage at the end of a hard day, it really helps!
    Also, though it may sound a bit weird, let yourself cry. I do this whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, and I find that it takes my anxiety levels down. Often we build up and keep it all inside because we want to appear strong and in control. But we must let it out! A good cry, then wash your face, and if possible, take a short nap. Everything looks better afterwards :)

  • Write thank you notes and/or gratitude lists. Either can help you remember the good things in your life. Plus, the thank you notes give someone else a treat.

  • Cook something nutritious and delicious. I love to make big pots of soup. I usually keep broth and some other good soup ingredients like onions, carrots, and beans on hand. One of my favorites is mushroom barley. I make it with dried mushrooms so I don’t have to worry about them spoiling before I use them and if I don’t have broth the soaking water from the mushrooms makes up for it. Soup is even more delicious if you share it with someone who makes you smile!

  • Getting some fresh air is one of the best ways to unwind and take a break from daily stress.

    I usually go for an early morning jog. It helps me start the day with a very positive attitude! I always make sure I ‘listen to the silence’ on my way back inside. Early mornings are so peaceful, all you hear are the birds singing :) (and my favorite music in my ears)

  • This is such a great list! I definitely love to have a pamper session on a weeknight – do a facial, manicure, have a bath etc. I used to leave these kinds of things for the weekend but it feels so much better doing it on a weeknight to relieve a bit of mid-week stress :)

  • It’s always good to have a list of things on hand for those days and even everyday! 5 to 10 minutes goes a long way. Love listening to some music and boogieing around the room with some candles glowing. Even doing something small for someone else, can have such an effect. Number 16 Yoga with Adriene is also a big one for me. It feels like you have a cheerleader there to help guide you through the practices and do something nice for your body.

  • For me it looks like:
    * reading a good book
    * Going outside for a walk (vitamin D!)
    * cuddling with the cat
    * Coloring mandalas
    * Reducing my screen time
    * Taking a long bath with Epsom salts
    * Putting on a bright shade of nail polish on my toes
    * watch funny videos on YouTube

    I’m an introvert, so I need alone time to recharge.