5 self-care rituals that cost absolutely nothing

Self-care is now a $400 billion industry, but does looking after yourself always have to cost a small fortune?

OneLife  staff writer

OneLife staff writer

Staff writer

Self-care isn't selfish. In fact, it's one of the best things you can do for not only yourself, but for the people around you, too.

Given its well-documented benefits and its influence from wellness trends around the world - from the Danish tradition of hygge to the Japanese affinity for ofuro - self care is now an estimated $400 billion industry.

But with many modern self-care rituals seeming to require splashing out on expensive accessories and equipment, is it actually possible to enrich your soul for free?

Here, we suggest five things you can do to care for yourself that cost zero dollars.

Learn something new

Learning is scientifically proven to be good for the body and, it's got some serious benefits for the soul, too. (Just ask Chris Judd, who recently tried ballet for the first time for OneLife.) Acquiring an extra bit of self-knowledge can provide the stepping stone to new levels of creativity, fulfilment and motivation.

The key is to choose something that really engages you so learning doesn't turn into a chore, so listening to free podcasts about anything you've ever had an inkling to learn more about or trying a one-off skills swap with a friend can be good places to start.

Make your #onechange

Make a conscious effort to carry out a small act of self care every day, even if it's just switching your phone to airplane mode while you have your morning coffee.

Pull the plug

Life's hectic. While technology makes it easier to manage our everyday tasks and connections, the raft of notifications we feel we need to address on a daily basis can leave us feeling overwhelmed and guilty at times.

Dedicating time to completely disconnecting from our smart devices can help us cope with this information overload. It's been found to help us be more productive, recharge our batteries more effectively and make meaningful connections with the people who matter to us most, too. And if you can switch off an hour before your usual bedtime, even better, given all of the evidence that suggests using technology pre-sleep has a detrimental effect on our quality of rest.

Exercise your emotions

Yoga and mindfulness have become synonymous with self-care. Sometimes, however, trying to achieve the level of serenity both activities require can leave us feeling even more frustrated than we were initially.

Instead, think consciously about the emotions you're experiencing and the type of physical outlet that would give you the appropriate release. Would a sparring session with a mate be more successful in alleviating stress than a series of solo sun salutations? Could you benefit from the healing principles of swearing and turn those online Vinyasa tutorials in a spot of Rage Yoga? Or, for a quick fix solution, how about a power walk in the fresh air? This is proven to help soothe the soul and alleviate anxiety in just an hour.

Eat more mindfully

Eating 'al desko' has become something of a modern-day dining ritual. In fact, there are 3.8 million employees in Australia who admit they routinely don't take a lunch break.

With mindful eating, you're encouraged to make time the added ingredient in whatever it is you're cooking or consuming. Move away from your screen and any other technology or tasks that might distract you. Use the moment to appreciate the flavours, texture and smell of the food. And, above all, be aware of your emotions pre-, post- and during a meal. Doing so helps you to listen to your body's needs more closely and ask yourself whether you're eating to satisfy a physical hunger or whether you're turning to food in response to a more emotional trigger, like sadness or stress.

Limit your choices

It's been suggested we make, on average, 35,000 decisions every single day. They can range from the mundane to the momentous, but the fact of the matter is, this magnitude of choice makes it more difficult to come to a decision that we're actually happy with. After all, when there are endless options out there, how do you know you're not missing out on something better?

To break the constant cycle of FOMO, try to create situations that limit your need to make less important decisions. For example, settle on three meals you can eat on rotation for a week and batch cook them, so you don't have to think about what to cook and shop for every night of the week. Or cull your work wardrobe to capsule-size to save time deliberating over what to wear in the morning.

OneLife  staff writer

OneLife staff writers come from a range of backgrounds including health, wellbeing, music, tech, culture and the arts. They spend their time researching the latest data and trends in the health market to deliver up-to-date information, helping everyday Australians live healthier lives. This is general information only and is not intended as medical, health, nutritional or other advice. You should obtain professional advice from a medical or health practitioner in relation to your own personal circumstances. The information in this article is general information only and is not intended as medical, health, nutritional or other advice. You should obtain professional advice from a medical or health practitioner in relation to your own personal circumstances.

The information in this article is general information only and is not intended as financial, medical, health, nutritional, tax or other advice. It does not take into account any individual’s personal situation or needs. You should consider obtaining professional advice from a financial adviser and/or tax specialist, or medical or health practitioner, in relation to your own circumstances and before acting on this information.