There’s a lot of talk about nutrition, stress management and self care on social media. After a chat with a friend about money, life and how expensive protein powder is, I’ve been thinking a lot about the accessibility of health and stress management (especially how it’s talked about on social media).
After sharing my own experience growing up low-income and the nutrition I received as a child + teenager i’ve felt the need to become more aware of what I am sharing online. I ate from the food bank, lived off pop for breakfast as a kid and ate a wholeeeee lot of fast food. Now, I am able to feed myself the most nutritious foods and I am educated + able enough to meal plan, buy fresh food and cook. I’ve taken courses on how to cook from scratch and I’m currently studying to become a holistic nutritionist. I am so grateful for all of this. The guilt I have about not being able to support my family to eat healthy in the same way, is very heavy and real. But that’s for another day!
Okay, so we know that food has an impact on our mental health. When we eat well (and well, when we are lucky enough to even eat) it helps us feel better. We need nutrients to survive and thrive.
It’s easy to want to buy ALL the supplements to make us feel good, eat all of the most expensive snacks, adaptogens, greens powders, proteins, tinctures, etc. It’s expensive. If you can afford it, go ahead and do it. It’s a great addition to an already healthy lifestyle.
Self-care has been commercialized and the focus is on things to buy to help us love ourselves. Ugh — it’s totally exhausting. Do you want to have a luxurious bath? Buy some epsom salts (they are cheap), drop some olive oil in the bath OR if you want to go all out, head to the grocery store and pick up some 50% off almost-expired goat milk and bath like Cleopatra.
Self-care is more than just relaxing to me. Self-care is about doing little things that make me feel good, for my present-self and a lot for my future-self.
Here is a list of everything that makes me feel happy, healthy and resilient that isn’t focused on buying new products, hyper food focused or consuming. I know that COOKING isn’t accessible for everyone. I totally get it. So if you have the ability and means to cook, then do it!
What I personally do to stay healthy, happy and resilient that is easy on the budget and/or free.
1. Cook at home – simple meals. Lots of vegetables, protein, healthy fats. I combine those things daily and try to make it taste good with spices.
2. I rarely drink alcohol – I don’t like how it makes me feel, sure a G&T or glass of wine once in a while is great — but I don’t make it a habit and honestly, I feel great because of it. I’m not against alcohol — it just doesn’t work for me!
3. Meditate – when I started meditating I didn’t even *know* what I was doing when I was 18 — I sat there, tried to breathe and focus on the space between my eyes for as long as I could. When I opened my eyes I felt lighter, clearer and happy. So please, you don’t need to buy any expensive courses or subscriptions to meditate. There is A LOT of free online meditations (check out Ally from Sarovaro Yoga youtube page for awesome free meditations and yoga!). Just try it. If you need some music — I recommend anything Todd Norian.
4. Boundaries – it’s one of my strengths. I’m really good at setting boundaries with my family and friends when I need to. It’s hard, can be awkward but it’s so important. As an empathetic person I can easily fall into the “therapist” figure with friends and my family. If I’m not careful, I can become drained and that’s not good for anyone. For the benefit of maintaining friendships and family relationships, sometimes I take long breaks and I think that’s okay.
5. Unplug. I kind of hate that word, “unplug” so really, just get off your fucking phone and enjoy it. Take me back to 2006 please. Sure, msn ruled my life when I was home but I didn’t have a phone on me at all times!
6. Listen to loud music, dance + sing. It helps. I promise. My favourite songs to dance/sing to are:
“magic man” – heart;
“jump in the line” – Harry bellefonte;
“the chain” – fleetwood mac;
“like a rolling stone” – bob Dylan;
“I did something bad” – t swift;
“rise up with fists!!” – Jenny Lewis
“it’s different for girls” – of Montreal
7. I do my dishes at night + clean kitchen. It’s free and it makes my mornings feel good. When I was grieving my dad and struggling with family, I made it my one daily goal to do my dishes at night and that one little habit made me feel in control of something.
8. I go for long walks (sometimes with an audiobook, sometimes without) and make it my goal to breathe as deep as I can for the entire duration.
9. I don’t stay up late and I wake up early. I’ve always been an early riser and it works for me. If you’re the opposite + it feels good, and your schedule allows it, do that!
10. I get a lot of pleasure from tv and movies and I often rewatch to help me unwind. My favourites:
That 70s show
Pride and prejudice
A room with a view
—- comedy + costume dramas 👌
11. DRINK LOTS OF WATER. PLEASE. JUST DO IT.
What do you do to feel good that’s free / easy on the budget!?