Secrets to Self-care on a Budget

A couple of days ago I was looking to get a manicure. I have never gotten my nails done professionally in my 23 years of life and I thought it would be nice to treat myself. However, when I feel like I want to pamper myself, I usually want it right now and am impatient with delay. To my disappointment, a few nice places I have looked at were fully booked or next available appointments were available in a weeks time. I dropped it.

I have always been taking care of myself in small ways including my nails. I file them and paint them with a clear coat weekly. But I just wanted to experience the feeling of someone else doing it for me, and perhaps doing it even better (some packages even included a hand massage!) I was all for it. Painting your nails clear is easy but when you want a pretty colour, it becomes visible when you have painted outside the lines.

I still wanted the feeling of having taken care of myself so I decided to have a nail appointment with myself. I went the extra mile of moisturizing my hands with some oil and giving myself a massage and then went about my normal routine of filing my nails and panting a fresh clear coat over them. And that is how I saved £18-£55. I’m not sure if that is the standard price for a manicure but I have been looking, of course, at vegan salons or ones with cruelty free products and generally these would have been more expensive.

There are many ways to take care of yourself on a budget and it is not limited to nails. Having recently lost my job coming out of furlough (it happens to the best of us), it is becoming more important for me to save money and still treat myself, but doing it smart.

My hair salon visits look like me sitting in front of a good TV series on Netflix and using the search and destroy method. If you haven’t heard of it, it sounds way scarier than what it is. It involves checking the ends of your hair, looking for split ends and then cutting them off a few centimetres above the split so the hair doesn’t weaken and split again. And to be honest, my hair appointments have always been with myself, really. The last time I have been to the hairdresser was about 2 years ago and I can honestly say that the total amount of times I have been in my life is less than you can count on one hand. And it definitely saved me a lot of money. But there comes a point, especially as a girl, where you want to update or freshen up your look so that is what I did recently. I cut a whole 2cm of my hair myself and felt renewed straight away. When the hairdresser is just too expensive (and let’s face it, you can never pay anyone else to cut that 2cm off, it’ll be minimum 5cm) just have fun with it and do it at home.

I have also recently wanted to dye my hair lighter but a good vegan salon would cost you at least £130 and I was going to invest but I will now save that for a future date when I will actually have income coming into my account again! For now, the natural bleach from the sun will have to do. Apparently, a good ‘at home’ lightening method involves either dipping your hair in beer or lemon juice and waiting for the sun to do its magic. I am yet to try that, although I hate drinking beer let alone letting my hair smell like beer!

If you miss that Thai or Swedish massage, there is no reason why you cannot sort of re-create that at home! Either by yourself or by getting a partner to do it for you, you can enjoy a night where you watch something you like and at the same time use an oil and massage your shoulders and anything achy or ask your partner for a massage and put on some relaxing ‘massage music’. It might even be a good idea if you do not like the thought of strangers touching you or if like me, the thought of someone being on all fours on your back creeps you out a little bit ( I did not know that Thai massages usually involve this).

Some other budget-friendly ways to tale care of yourself:

  1. Drink water– Taking care of yourself from the inside out is just as, if not, more important than the outside.
  2. Exercising at home– No gym fee, free workout videos online, I mean what is more perfect than that?
  3. Play music and dance- If you miss the feeling of dancing at a concert or club, put your headphones on and have a dance session by yourself! Dance like no one is watching, because no one is and it is super fun.
  4. Breathe– But really, breathe. If I find myself in a stressful situation, before over-reacting even at something silly like a computer running slow, or the gym you haven’t been attending for over 6 months suddenly deciding to take some money from your account (true story), I take a step back and breathe deeply. Life always throws hurdles your way but it is the way you deal with these that determines the course of your life. If you breathe and slow down, you will be a better person for it.

There are many ways to ensure you are taking care of yourself right, without barely spending a penny. And it is these free and accessible ways to take care of yourself that are the most important and deserve most attention 🙂

Paulina x

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