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How often do we make time to prioritise our own wellbeing? Sadly, the chances are - not enough.
It’s easy to fall into a rut of putting the needs of our family and friends before our own. We’re often so busy zipping up and down, ferrying the kids around, and making sure everyone else is happy that we actually forget to check-in with ourselves.

Take five minutes right now to ask yourself how you’re feeling.

It’s perhaps more important than ever to remember to look after ourselves when money is tight and we’re working to a strict budget. Setting aside a little time to focus on your wellbeing will help boost your mood and keep your morale up.

When we think about treating ourselves, it’s easy to imagine expensive spa days or weekends away in fancy hotels.
While a bit of luxury is a lovely indulgence, it’s just not possible for so many of us, especially during the cost-of-living crisis – who has hundreds of pounds lying around spare!?

However, looking after yourself doesn’t need to come with a hefty price tag. In fact, the good news is that with some resourceful thriftiness, we can still do self-care on a budget.

Feeling frugal, feeling good!

1. Indulge in your favourite snack

Looking after ourselves doesn’t need to be defined by grand gestures to make us feel good. Sometimes, it’s all about the little things in life!
Is chocolate your vice, or are you more a crisps kind of person?
Maybe you’re a baker who loves nothing more than whipping up a delightfully delish dessert – or perhaps pounding away at some bread dough is your stress-buster?
Whatever your choice, it can feel good to indulge every now and again - take your first mouthful and do a little happy dance.

2. Make your favourite meal for tea

Hands up who’s Team Spag Bol?
Okay – and who’s Team Pizza?
Whatever your culinary choice, rustle it up tonight - you don’t need an excuse to eat roast potatoes on a Wednesday.
Got a portion left over? Is it safe to box it up and save it for tomorrow’s lunch?
Your favourite food two days on the trot - double win!

3. Have a movie night in the comfort of your own home

Whether it’s a James Bond sesh or a Bridget Jones trilogy you’re craving, book yourself a slot in front of the box for an evening undisturbed.
For an authentic cinematic experience, share bags of popcorn can usually be found at major supermarkets for as little as £1 (a share bag just for one? Your secret is safe with us!).

4. Light a candle

Candles are a bit like bath bombs: we usually get given them for Christmas but never think to actually use them. More often than not, this is because we feel we just don’t have time for these little extras. Make time.
If you’re in need of an excuse did you know that burning candles can actually heighten your mood, improve your sleep, and reduce stress?
What are you waiting for? Light the candle and pop your feet up for half an hour. The housework can wait.

Have a bath

Have you got kids? If so, you’re probably aware of the impossibility of being left alone to bathe in peace. Why is it that as soon as you turn the taps on, the whole family – including the dog - suddenly seem to congregate at the bathroom door demanding your attention?
Wait until the kids are in bed or away at a sleepover and dedicate half an hour to a soak in the bath. Lock the bathroom door if you have to!
There’s science behind this one, too. Taking a warm bath is thought to reduce stress hormones and may benefit those experiencing depression.

6. Have a home spa day

You can still enjoy a relaxing spa without splashing out.
Ladies, it’s time to make use of those bath sets you were gifted last Christmas.
Gents, this one is for you, too – don’t underestimate the benefits of a good pamper!

Low-cost spa treatments you can easily do at home:

Lie down and pop two pieces of thinly sliced cucumber over your eyes to soothe skin and reduce any swelling.

Dab your eyelashes with a few drops of olive oil. The fatty acids work as a conditioner, leaving your lashes looking luscious.

Give your hair a deep condition using an egg white hair mask. Yes, really! You can find out how to make your own egg mask here.

Your store cupboard is a great place to start when seeking savvy spa treatments. This article lists a number of face masks that can be made from items that many of us already have in our kitchens, including honey and bananas!

Similarly, this article gives examples of homemade foot scrubs. Did you know that soaking your feet in milk can help to soften rough skin?

7. Get some sleep

A continual lack of sleep can play all sorts of havoc with both our physical and mental health. It significantly reduces our ability to deal with stress and can leave us feeling irritable. Shockingly, 1 in 5 adults in the UK are not getting enough sleep.
Sleep is not a ‘treat’, but a necessity. Sure, factors like work and childcare duties can get in the way of our desired amount of shut-eye, but it’s crucial that we try to get as much as we need to feel revitalized.
The recommended amount of sleep for adults is between 7 and 9 hours a night. Some people need more, some need less.
If you’re struggling to concentrate and feel rundown and burnt-out, you should make a good night’s sleep your immediate priority.
Usually up at 7am on a Saturday morning to beat the Aldi rush? Switch the alarm off this week. There are more important things.
Sometimes, children can make a lie-in an impossible task (WHO has that much boundless energy at 5am on a Sunday morning?!), so an early night might be a more realistic option to catch some extra Zs.
If all else fails, could you grab a sneaky hour yourself while the kids are napping? This is a gentle reminder that your wellbeing deserves more attention than the laundry right now.

8. Online meditation and yoga

Fancy trying your hand at yoga but can’t afford the classes?
We’ve got you covered! YouTube is bursting with yoga and meditation tutorials that you can do at home for free.
The best news? You’ll only need 10 minutes to benefit from this treat!
If you’re hoping to try meditation for the first time and reducing stress is your aim, all you need is 10 minutes a day.

9. Go for a walk

This might not sound like much of a treat, especially if the Great British weather is up to its old tricks, but getting outside can have a whole host of positive effects on your mood.
You don’t even need to venture far – a chilled stroll around your local park can help just as much as a long hike in the country.
Short on time? Why not venture out in your lunch hour, or after you’ve dropped the kids off at school?
Relish the opportunity to just switch off in nature.

10. Spend time with animals

As with many of the little staples of happiness we’ve talked about, it’s all about making time and squeezing as much joy into your everyday life as you possibly can. When the washing is piling up and the living room needs hoovering, it can be all too easy to let life’s ‘needs’ take priority over the ‘wants.’ Don’t forget that looking after yourself is also a need.
Can anything boost your mood more than a snuggle with your cat or half an hour playing fetch with your dog at the park?
If you haven’t got your own pets, there are still ways that you can get involved and reap the calming rewards of spending time with animals.
You could volunteer to walk dogs or pet sit in your local area. Animal shelters and farms are also often glad of an extra pair of hands.

11. Join the library

The reading fans among us will vouch for the fact that books – especially new releases - are sadly not cheap.
Most libraries cost nothing to join, and give you access to literally hundreds of thousands of books (including new releases), totally free of charge. Heaven!
If you can’t find what you’re specifically after, many libraries have the facility to order books in for you.
You can find your local library here.

12. Flower power

Who says you can’t buy yourself flowers? Not us!
You don’t need to go all out and spend a fortune – bagging a bunch of supermarket flowers can cost under a fiver, depending on the variety. In spring, it’s possible to find beautiful bunches of daffodils for as little as £1 in supermarkets.
Does anything symbolise the arrival of those long-awaited lighter nights like a cheery bunch of daffs?!
Flowers can trigger the ‘happy chemicals’ in our brains. Roses in particular are known to produce endorphins.
Placing your bloom in a vase on the dining table is sure to raise a smile whenever you pass by.

13. Call a friend for a chat

With social media making it so easy for us to communicate by ‘liking’ and ‘loving’ each other’s posts, when was the last time you picked up the ‘phone and called the mates you don’t get to see often?
Never underestimate the power of a good chat! Putting the world to rights with your bestie can help you to process any worries and ward off feelings of loneliness.
Many mobile device plans offer free minutes, meaning this activity could be completely costless!
You could even take things back to the lockdown era by arranging a virtual Skype quiz for the whole gang.

14. Big night in

Nights out can often result in significant expense. In October 2022, research revealed that the average cost of a night out in UK was £73.36 per person. If you went out every week, you would be looking at spending approximately £293.44 a month.
We understand that for some people a night on the town with a fancy meal is a way to unwind after the working week, but nights in can be just as fun, with the added bonus that your evening isn’t likely to end with painful high-heel-induced blisters (fellas – we’re looking at you!).
Dust off your speakers for a real kitchen disco, and ask each of your friends to bring around an item of food to spread the cost of nibbles.
Have you seen the ‘colour party’ phenomenon sweeping social media? In a nutshell, everyone gets assigned a colour before the party, and they must bring an assortment of snacks in this shade, as well as dressing in associated hues.
How about that for a cool, low-cost way to spend your Friday night?!

Final words

Making a habit of seeking joy in life’s little moments could have a positive impact on our mental health.
Every time something leaves you with a smile on your face, no matter how small, make a little note of it, either on your phone or in a journal.
This could be anything from ‘heard the church bells ring as I was walking home from work,’ or ‘had a laugh over hilarious college memories with friends.’
The next time you need a bit of a pick-me-up, glance over your list and see how many things you could try and incorporate into your daily routine.
Remember, if you need a bit of extra support right now, help is always available.
Mental health charity Mind offer a range of advice on an array of topics, which you may find useful.
Even on the worst days, please remember that better days are coming. You are not alone, and you will start to feel better in time. Be kind to yourself in the meantime. You’re more than enough, and you’re doing great.

CashLady Representative 79.5% APR

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£1000 for 12 months
at £123.40 per month
Total amount repayable of £1,480.77
Interest: £480.77
Interest rate: 79.5% pa (fixed)
79.5% APR Representative

Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems.
For help, go to moneyhelper.org.uk

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