self-care ideas on a budget
Mental Health Tips

150 Free Self-Care Ideas for better Mental Health

Humans are lazy when it comes to taking care of their needs, there’s never enough time.

Think of all the times you skipped a meal or compromised on your sleep, countless I presume.

In our endeavor for a better life we sacrifice our mental health and happiness on a regular basis.

This daily grind makes it imperative that we practice self-care in form of some uninterrupted ‘me time’ to refresh our mental faculties.

Self-care allows you to usher some self-love and positive energy by reigniting and nourishing yourself.

This alone time or self-care as it is known these days, includes simple activities which we can do for totally free.

There are also tons of self-care activities you can do routinely within your budget and without burning a hole in your pocket.

Don’t believe me well jump right below to the massive list of 150 free self-care ideas and some more self-care activities on a budget.

This post contains some affiliate links, which means if you purchase something using these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Free Self-care Ideas: 150 Activities you’ll love

150 Self-Care Ideas for better mental health

Free Self-Care Ideas to Ignite your five senses

Self-care essentially teaches you to live mindfully and intentionally so here are some sensory self-care ideas to help you connect better with your five senses of see, touch, hear, smell and taste.

1. Savor Your Meals: Eat every morsel of your food mindfully; let your tongue savour the taste of what lies in your plate.

2. Smell the aroma of food being cooked or placed in front of you.

3. Behold the sight of fresh veggies and fruits when you go grocery shopping or visit any farmer’s market.

4. Observe nature: Observing nature is so peaceful. You can sit down in your garden or a nearby park and can simply watch the birds chirping or butterflies.

5. Lie or walk on the grass and feel the touch of earth.

6. Smell a flower.

7. Play on a swing and fell the breeze.

8. Hear the rustling of leaves.

9. Soak in some fresh air every morning.

10. Indulge in some star-grazing at night.

11. Sit in silence for 10 minutes and try to concentrate on every sound.

12. Watch the clouds, as children most of us saw those cute gigantic clouds and gave those so many different shapes.

13. Watch the sunrise or sunset: Sunrise and sunsets are mundane things, everyday phenomena but still wonderful each time when you witness it.

14. Enjoy a drink alone while observing the world hustling.

15. Listen to some soothing music in your playlist and relax your mind from all unpleasant thoughts and worries.

16. Make a playlist of all sounds related to nature, meditative chants and listen to when you need some composure.

17. Listen to some audio books.

18. Painting or color therapy has a calming effect on your mind. Get some adult coloring books to paint your blues away. Here is a really good coloring book you can grab.

19. Visit an art gallery or a museum.

20. Hug and cuddle your favourite persons, as social beings we crave for human touch. This simple act of holding someone so close melts your stress away.

21. Try aromatherapy with some essential oils.

22. Paint your nails. Just the process of coloring nails in slow gentle strokes is enough to relax you.

23. Manicure and Pedicure: Soak your hands in a solution of some warm water and some Epsom salt for relaxation. This is a very quick relaxation technique and helps to release any muscle tension. Do the same for your feet.

24. Wear fresh clothes.

25. Comb your hair in gentle strokes.

26. Sleep in fresh bedsheets.

27. Snuggle under a blanket.

28. Sip chocolate coffee with a pinch of salt.

Daily Self-Care Tips For Better Mental Health

Today mental illnesses and life style diseases like diabetes are so common, every second person you meet is afflicted by these lifestyle health conditions.

These are some self-care you can easily you can easily indulge in everyday, totally within the budget to manage everyday stress and overwhelm.  

1. Take a nice warm bath

This might be the perfect self-care idea. A nice warm bath before bedtime is good to melt your stress. Put some bathing salts and essential oils into the warm water to feel that stress evaporating.

2. Read some good books

It is said books are It is said books are your best friends and rightly so, books transport you to a different world altogether providing momentary escape from everyday stress.

Here are some book recommendations you can use.

3. Watch a movie

Watch some good movies to lift your mood. Movies like books are really good stress-busters. Play some good underdog story to feel motivated.

4. Watch funny videos online

YouTube is a treasure trove of funny videos and watch some funny content to immediately lift your mood. I love to watch painting, dog and baby videos.

5. Talk to someone

Humans are social beings and chit-chatting is our way of life. Talk to someone close, your friend or family either in person or through calls when you are stressed.

6. Sleep

The struggle to get some quality sleep is real. Adults need to sleep at least 7-8 hours daily. So if you feel tired try to get some sleep. Agreed it may not solve your problem but it will give your mental faculties the time to recharge.

7. Eat some comfy foods

Bring in the cheesey burgers and chocolate brownies. Sometimes you just need food that comfort your soul without stressing over calories but don’t make it a daily habit though.

8. Cuddle your pet

Pets love us unconditionally and they just have a way of knowing you aren’t in the best of moods. So cuddle your pet everyday to experience that unfiltered love and joy.

9. Take a walk

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise as well as a nice way to let your mind wander. It is said when you walk the knots in your brain untangle naturally.

10. Go For A Jog

If you want to unravel your thought process and gain some clarity then put on your headphones, play you favourite playlist and start jogging. Jogging is addictive and meditative for many.

11. Start writing in a Self-Care Journal

Writing helps in opening up your pent-up emotions, it is a way of discovering ourselves. Maintaining a self-care journal will help you in uncovering any emotional issue you may have. Here is a self-care journal I really love!

12. Dance

Dance to your favourite songs without a care in the world. as they say dance the blues away. Dancing is such an intense exhilarating process. Dance like no one’s watching but in case, you have two left feet like I have and still love dancing, maybe just dance in your room or bathroom (with the door closed of course.)

13. Sing

Sing your favourite songs even if you are out of tune. It doesn’t matter if you are at best a bathroom singer, if you love to sing just sing. Enjoy your own melody.

14. Cook

If your culinary skills are something you are proud of and love to feed guests, you should sometimes treat yourself too and why not. Cook some hearty meal for yourself and eat it to your heart’s content.

15. Compliment Yourself

Compliment yourself every day. It is so simple to look in the mirror and tell yourself you are special and that you deserve nothing but the best. So compliment yourself for all the goals achieved and milestones crossed.  

16. Laugh out Loud

Laughter is the best medicine and it totally makes sense to laugh without any reason. If that seems weird to you perhaps you can recall some happy memories and just laugh out loud! Or remember some goofy incidents and LOL all the way!

17. Plan your next day

Trust me it’s worth the mental peace when you have a rough schedule or a task list for the next day. The amount of mental load our brain takes can make it tired and prone to procrastination, a task list would save your brain the extra hassle.

Fun Self-care Tips that are totally free

Here is some fun stuff you can try to spruce up your life every now and then.

Most of these self-care activities should be totally within your budget and most are free, of course.

Just try to relax your overworked mind and let all tension and toxic thoughts escape from your system.

1. Put on the brightest lip colour and give yourself some smoky eye and now click the most flattering selfie.

2. Have fun with some goofy selfies.

3. Dress up in your favourite clothes just for fun.

4. Try a different hairstyle.

5. Pamper your skin with a good homemade mask

6. Sleep for an extra couple of hours.

7. Allow yourself one day to do absolutely nothing.

8. Mute a video and make your own dialogues.

9. Wear your favourite lingerie.

10. Light up your room with fairy lights.

11. Post a dorky throwback picture of yourself on social media

12. Enjoy a good hearty breakfast like pancakes lots of fresh creams, pancakes and maple syrup.

13. Enjoy two scoops of your favorite ice-cream.

Free Self Care Ideas - a young woman enjoying ice-cream

14. Enjoy a glass of lemonade.

15. Enjoy some wine with a close one.

16. Buy yourself some flowers.

17. Do some internet retail therapy, but don’t buy anything straight away.

18. Daydream and fantasize without guilt.

19. Surprise someone.

20. Take out some old photo albums if you still have those and relive all the happy memories. Or scroll your phone to revisit some old memories.  

21. Read the most romantic books with nice cup of tea and snuggle under the blanket.

22. Stroll leisurely in your local park, beach or amidst nature.

23. Read your old magazines and scrapbooks.

24. Read some old text from friends.

25. Make an impromptu plan with a friend to meet over a cup of coffee.

Self Care Ideas for Life Improvement

26. Get ideas from Pinterest how to improve your life and set your goals.

27. Make a Pinterest Board of inspiring quotes

28. Make a vision board to execute all your ideas.

29. Do a life audit as to where you stand and where you want to go.

30. Develop a good habit you always wanted to adapt.

31. Get rid of toxic habits that are ruing your potential.

32. Read some self-help books or listen to some motivating podcast

33. Motivate yourself when chips are down.

Free Self-care Ideas to Entertain Yourself

34. Binge-watch your favorite shows on streaming services.

35. Binge watch your favourite TV shows

36. Listen to a good comedy podcast.

37. Watch your favourite comedian in action.

38. Play some stress-busting video games.

39. Watch some good underdog movies to motivate yourself.

40. Start a personal blog.

41. Write for some publications or online platform like ohwellyes.com, couldn’t help the self-promotion!

42. Start a Secret Journal: Start a secret journal and write all things and everyone who you dislike, sounds like a mean girl, well! See it as a means to vent out negative emotions.

If you need some beginner’s guide for journaling here is my post on 121 journal writing prompts to get started.

43. Try hand-lettering

44. Dabble in some carpentery

45. Make some cool doodles.

46. Knit yourself a cute scarf.

47. Attempt at doing some DIY home décor.

48. Have some good family time

a young woman talking with her mother

The Danish are known as the happiest people on earth. They value the importance of family time and community bonding.

This is something most of us can learn from. I am sure we all have family time but how much do we actually bond minus the smart phones.

Plan a movie night or play some board games with your family.

49. Travel once in a while

I am not suggesting you travel the world, although it would be wonderful. But you can go on short trips or explore new places near you. Or just unwind with a nice long drive. Natural trail and camping also count.

50. Cry your heart out and let all the anger and frustration flow away from your body.

Self-care Ideas for Better Mental Health

1. Plant some indoor plants and succulents to freshen-up your indoors and improve the supply of oxygen to your lungs.

2. Stretch your body every two hours.

3. Do some high-intensity exercises.

4. Go for routine health check-ups once or twice a year.

5. Visit your dentist once a year.

6. Indulge in some power yoga with countless of free apps or YouTube.

7. Practice some deep breathing.

8. Eat at least one healthy meal a day.

9. Don’t skip your meals.

10.Chew your food slowly

11. Try some healthy salad recipes as a detox diet for 2 days.

12. Try some Zumba dancing, refer to YouTube for videos.

13. Try to take stairs instead of lift whenever possible.

14. Take some power naps for 15-20 minutes if you can.

15. Be mindful of your sugar intake.

16. Enjoy a good swimming session.

17. Fix when you sleep and awake up.

18. Don’t check your phone after waking up.

19. Play Sudoku, crossword or the Rubik’s cube to improve your focus and concentration.

20. Use foam rollers for self-massage and release any muscle tension.

21. If you are easily overwhelmed by social media, take the 21-day social media detox challenge.

22. Ask for help when you are over burdened with daily tasks or maybe life.

23. See a therapist if you feel the need to.  

Free Self-care Ideas For Spiritual Wellness

The definition of being spiritual is different for everyone.

For some it may be connecting to an all pervading Universal force while others may define it from a purely religious prism.

But the purpose of all these perspectives is same; to comfort your soul by providing some moments of tranquility.

1. Meditate Regularly: Although there are many meditation methods but at the beginning you can just close your eyes and practice deep breathing for five minutes a day.

2. Practice gratitude: Make a list of all the positive things in your life and be thankful you have those. Dwelling on the positives makes you motivated and happy and it is so much better to happy than being bitter and cynical.

3. Practise some random acts of kindness.

4. Be a Secret Santa to someone and help anonymously.

5. Offer to volunteer at your local charity.

6. Leave a good tip for that friendly waiter.

7. Practice affirmations to bring in some positive energy and motivation in your life. Practicing these regularly improves your attitude to a more optimistic one.

8. Adopt an abandoned pet

9. Donate something to your local charity.

10. Pray when you are faced with fear and insecurity.

11. As per your religious belief visit your scared, holy places like temple, church, mosque or a gurdwara.

12. Let go of the past and forgive yourself as well as others for the mistakes made.

Free Self-Care Ideas for A Better Social Life

We need social interactions, the stimulating ones, the gossipy ones and every other type of conversation is important for our mind. So here are some social activities you can do within your budget.

1. Attend a social event and mingle with like-minded people.

2. Initiate a healthy conversation with your partner.

3. Join a local community club or a support group.

4. Smile kindly at a stranger.  

5. Greet your colleagues with a smile.

6. Surprise your parents/grandparents.

7. Call your family and friends to see how they are doing.

8. Plan a get-together for your family.

9. Plan a pyjama party with your girl gang.

10. Reconnect with an old friend.

11. Be kind to people who under you.

12. Hold the door for someone.

13. Pay a sincere compliment to someone.

Final thoughts

So these are some of my ideas for self-care on a budget.  As you can see most of these things are regular everyday activities which help you to manage stress better at no extravagant price.

If you have read till here, know you are amazing, thank you so much. Before you leave do have a look at these similar posts.

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11 Comments

  • theGlobeTrevor

    I like to combine observing nature with taking photo’s (instead of looking at old ones) you don’t have to be a professional to take nature shots. Take photos of whatever makes you happy. Plants, flowers, insects etc. You can also combine it with hiking, and get exercise at the same time.

    Good list.

  • Madi

    I love this post:) sometimes we feel like we need a break and think right away – we don’t have the time, or we don’t have the money when the truth is – little “escapes” can be just as refreshing. I tend to have some down time just reading every day, music is always great for my soul, and I just woke up refreshed from a nice long nap! so yes – I love all these ideas, thank you for sharing them.

    • Suktara

      Thank you for reading it. Like the analogy of self-care as “little escapes” and yes it’s absolutely necessary we make time for it.

  • Sarah

    Awesome post. It’s so helpful to have a library of self-care activities that you can refer to when you’re in a dark place. I’m definitely going to share this with our audience as it could help a lot of people!