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In today’s modern world, it can be easy to get caught up in the business of life. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to work a job, have a social life, maintain relationships, and still somehow try to find time for yourself. But taking time to practice self-care is one of the most important things we can do to maintain good mental and physical health. Practicing self-care doesn’t have to be something that costs a lot of money. Here are 5 simple and inexpensive things that everyone can do to slow down at the end of a long day and practice self-care.

1. Cook a Meal for Yourself

Taking time to prepare a meal – even if it’s only for one person – in an incredibly rewarding way to spend your time. Even for those who are not the best cooks, there are resources available online that offer very simple recipes for beginners. Cooking can be an opportunity for reflection. When I’m cooking for family and friends, I like to list the things about them that I am thankful for. When I’m cooking for myself, I spend time being thankful that I have access to good food and water sources.

Cooking is an excellent way to relax and get your mind off the things that are bothering you. It is also an excellent way to eat healthier and save a bit of money. Whether you cook by yourself or with family and friends, it is a great way to unwind and spend time in thankful meditation.

2. Journal

Journaling is an activity that can seem daunting to a lot of people. It’s a common misconception that journaling is only for people who enjoy writing – but that’s not the case. There are many different ways to journal. For the more artistically inclined, there are some elaborate Bullet Journals that people can create that are becoming so popular on social media (my personal favorite way to practice self-care!).

But even if you don’t see yourself as a good writer or artist, simply taking a bit of time every day to write down a few sentences and thoughts can be extremely beneficial. Not only is this an excellent way to relax and get things off your mind, but – like cooking – it is an opportunity to improve a skill that could maybe use a bit of work.

3. Read a Book

Reading may be one of the most popular methods of self-care, and it is a very important one. However, many busy people will choose not to pick up a book because they are afraid of the commitment that goes into reading a book. But reading doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Even setting aside a few minutes to read a little bit of a book can refresh your mind and help you relax. If you are non-reader and are nervous about picking up a book for any number of reasons, there are many resources available online that can help you take the first step towards becoming a reader. Reading is an easy, inexpensive way to learn new things and practice mindfulness – and for non-readers, it’s a way to get out of your comfort zone and try something new.

4. Go For a Walk

Spending time outdoors is a great way to clear your head. Taking a walk is a completely free activity that can rejuvenate your senses and let you look at things with a fresh perspective. Walking a dog or walking with a friend are also great ways to get a bit of exercise and spend time with those you love. If it’s possible, walking to the grocery store or other places that you frequent in your daily life is an incredibly rewarding way to exercise and take time for reflection.

5. Call A Friend

This tip isn’t only beneficial to you, but it is also beneficial to a person you care about. It’s unfortunate, but all too often we find our busyness has made it so that too much time has gone by since we last reached out to our friends and loved ones. Giving a call – even a quick one – to a friend that you haven’t spoken to for a while is a chance for you to show them you care about them, and that they were on your mind. Sometimes talking to a friend is all it takes to make a bad day better.

6. Take A Yoga Class

Yoga has been scientifically proven to not only help you cultivate a healthier body, but it helps you cultivate a healthy mind as well. Sure, it’s obvious that this last tip is self-serving to those of us at the Studio @ EWN – we want you to come to our yoga classes! But taking a yoga class is a legitimately excellent way to practice mindfulness. Yoga has been proven to help reduce stress and anxiety, and it is also an opportunity for you to get out of the house and meet new people who are also on their wellness journey. Exercise is one of the largest factors that contribute to your mental health – and yoga is a great way to exercise your body, your mind, and your soul.

7. Take a Mindfulness Class

There is arguably no better way to practice mindfulness than learning about it firsthand! Similarly to yoga, being in a mindfulness class can help you get out of your comfort zone a bit and interact with others who are also working to improve themselves. Mindfulness classes can cover a wide variety of topics, all of which are designed to motivate you to grow and help you learn the best ways to help yourself. The Studio @ Explore What’s Next offers many different wellness and mindfulness classes – all of which are led by certified and experienced professionals in a safe, welcoming environment. Wherever you might find yourself on the wellness scale, practicing mindfulness is a sure way to help you reach the healthiest version of yourself.

Founded under the direction of Dr. Elvira Aletta, P.h.D., The Studio @ Explore What’s Next offers many classes and workshops that will help to educate clients on the importance of self-care and help them find what is best for their personal needs. A safe, inclusive environment is open to the public which promotes learning and growth. All ages are welcome to come and learn about the many wonderful ways to practice good mental health.