6 Ways to Love Yourself on a Budget

Before and After: Happy

The photo on the left was me in 2009, putting on a smile, but not truly happy. Today, I take more time to love myself and to take care of my body and my mind.

Today, we live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with messages about the importance of being productive and cramming in as much as possible into our day so that we can achieve, achieve, achieve. Our social media news feeds are collages of motivational quotes, resulting in many people left feeling like they are simply not doing enough and are therefore not good enough. Everyone appears to be constantly busy all of the time, running marathons, travelling to far-away places, dining at trendy juice bars, and visiting hip new yoga studios. Staying focused on your goals is important, and I am definitely an advocate of personal development. In fact, I am never satisfied! As soon as I tick one thing off my list, I am straight onto the next thing. I live my life one goal to the next. I thrive on that feeling of achievement. But sometimes, it can become exhausting. There are times when I have to pinch myself and tell myself to “slow down” and take time for just focusing on me.

Loving yourself doesn’t need to be expensive. A trip to Bora Bora or a spa weekend would be delightful, but we are not all made of money. During the past year, I have had to live on a budget, but as someone who is relatively high maintenance, I have not had to sacrifice a bit of self-love. So, today I am sharing with you some ways you too can indulge and spoil yourself a bit!

  1. “Poor Man’s Massage”: My physiotherapist refers to this as “the poor man’s massage.” Simply place a tennis ball, or a baseball, between your back and the wall and move around so that the ball massages your muscles. Do not roll it up and down your spine; this will hurt. You can also roll it, firmly, over your calves and quads to loosen up those muscles and give them a bit of special treatment. A session of physio costs approximately £50, but this my friends costs as much as a small, firm ball.
  2. Relaxation: Lie down on your bed in a starfish position. Turn off the lights and light a lemon flavoured candle (lemon scent has been proven to have a calming, soothing effect). Breathe in and out, focusing on the diaphragm and deep, slow breaths. Count up to 100, or down from 100; whichever you prefer. Or if you like, focus on relaxing your toes, legs, core, arms, shoulders, neck, etc. until you reach the top of your head. When you finish, you will feel as if you have just had a session at a spa. It is gloriously relaxing.
  3. Bubble Bath: Do not underestimate the power of a bath. Light some candles and climb in to a bath. When you get out, moisturise your skin from head to toe. This is something I do not do enough! If you are a gym junkie like me, your skin is probably dry from showering twice a day. It is so important to moisturise and it feels so great after you do. If you do it before bedtime, you’ll wake up with skin like a baby’s bottom. Try it.
  4. Motivation Board: A motivation board is something that is personal for you, to help remind you every day that you are strong, you are powerful, and you are awesome. Buy some colourful paper or sticky notes and write down your goals and your reasons for choosing those goals. Personally, mine is on my fridge so that I look at it every single morning when I go into my kitchen. You could even add photos or postcards to add visual elements. Most importantly, make it personal; this is for you and you only.
  5. Music: Create your own personal playlists. Have a playlist that you can play to pump you up for the gym, one for your actual workout, one for your commute to work, one for your walk or ride home, one for your relaxation time, and even one for your shower. Yes, it may take you an hour or two to put them together, but the benefits will be worth it. Music directly impacts your mood, and your mood sets the tone for your day or your activity. If you can’t be bothered creating your own, check out Apple Music or Spotify, and choose from the customised activity playlists.
  6. Date Yourself: Treat yourself to something fun one night a week. It could be your favourite hike, an evening walk or cycle with your favourite podcast, a trip to the independent cinema, a trip to that new hipster coffee shop with your favourite blog, a visit to the driving range, or a night in bed with Nicholas Sparks movies. Whatever floats your boat! Just make sure to set aside one evening a week for YOU. Whether you are single or coupled, it is important to have your alone time, so why not take yourself on a date?

These are just a few ways that you can take time every week, or every day, to make time for you. Slow down, breathe, and find time to make you a priority. If you love yourself, you will genuinely feel more content and other areas of your life will improve. Sometimes, we spread ourselves too thin and try to please everyone, or multi-task to the point of exhaustion. Stop beating yourself up for what you didn’t achieve, and focus on celebrating the things you did achieve. Let the negatives pass, and keep your mind on the positives. Celebrate the little successes, and acknowledge what you learnt from your failures. Love yourself, build your confidence, build your self-esteem, and work towards being a happier, healthier person.

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