Self-Care on a Budget

It's University Mental Health Day so we're turning our attention to self-care! No matter your budget, we have a list of ways you can look after your wellbeing.

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Self-care has become increasingly important in today’s fast-paced world. When deadlines loom large and schedules are packed to the brim, taking care of yourself can take a backseat.

However, neglecting self-care can lead to burnout, decreased productivity, and a decline in overall wellbeing. These wallet-friendly tips can help you feel like a million pounds without spending a penny more than you need to.

Practice mindfulness and meditation 

Incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine can have profound benefits for your mental wellbeing. Set aside a few minutes each day to practice deep breathing exercises or guided meditation using free apps or online resources. Cultivating mindfulness can help reduce anxiety and improve focus. Create a calming space at home with minimal cost with some candles, soft lighting, and soothing music to transform your environment.

 Cost: £0, or around £4 – £5 if you want to get a pack of tealights.

Fitness on a Dime

You don’t need a pricey gym membership to stay active. From going on a run to looking up free workout videos on YouTube, you can incorporate regular exercise into your routine and boost your energy levels. Or take it easy and go for a picturesque walk, exploring local trails.

Cost: £0

Embrace the power of journaling

Journaling can be a therapeutic outlet for processing emotions and thoughts. Reflecting on your experiences, challenges, and aspirations can foster self-awareness and promote emotional resilience. Try to get into a routine of writing for 5 – 10 minutes in the evening, allowing you to process how you’ve been feeling that day and help you switch off before bed. It can be a great way to reflect on the small things you’re proud of from each day.

Cost: If you already have a notebook to start journalling in, £0 or if you want a new one, around £6 – £8

Creating clarity through decluttering 

A cluttered environment can contribute to feelings of anxiety and stress. Take proactive steps to de-clutter your room and start small, whether by clearing your bedside table or organising one drawer. Take it a step further and declutter your online spaces as well. Spend ten minutes unfollowing accounts on social media you don’t engage with or unsubscribe from mailing lists and delete old emails.

Cost: £0

Engage in Creative Outlets

Expressing yourself creatively can be incredibly therapeutic and fulfilling. Whether you enjoy writing, drawing, painting, or crafting, you can indulge in activities that allow you to explore your creativity. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and you don’t need fancy supplies. Embrace the process without judgment or expectation, allowing your creativity to flow freely. Have a look at our Give It A Go events if you’re ever unsure of how to flex your creative muscles.

Cost: If you already have a few supplies for your creative hobby, or go to one of the free Give It A Go events, this will cost you nothing! But, if you want to stock up on a few crafts or attend one of the ticketed Give It A Go events, around £10 – £15

Make a ‘done’ list 

We have all, at some point, looked at our ‘to-do’ list and felt overwhelmed by the number of things on there. A 'done' list can be a great way to keep track of your daily progress and cherish the small everyday victories.

Cost: £0

Digital Detox

Step away from the screens and reclaim your time. Take a break from social media, emails, and notifications. In a hyperconnected world, constant exposure to screens can take a toll on our mental and emotional wellbeing. It can help to slow down and focus on the moment, taking part in an activity that makes you present and tangible like enjoying a good book or playing a board game with some friends. Schedule regular digital detoxes where you can unplug and unwind.

Cost: If you pick up a book you own or borrow one from your friends, £0, but if you’re tempted to treat yourself to a new book then around £7.99 – £9.99

Set Boundaries

Learning to say no and establishing healthy boundaries is a crucial part of self-care. Prioritise your needs and commitments, and don’t feel guilty about turning down invitations or requests.

Cost: £0

Embrace the basics

Sometimes, the simplest form of self-care is the most effective. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep, staying hydrated and eating nutritious meals.

It’s easy to overlook the simple, yet effective ways to nurture your wellbeing without breaking the bank. Cultivating habits and practices that support your physical, mental, and emotional health daily can sometimes make all the difference. If it contributes to your health and wellness positively, it can be defined as self-care.

Further Support

Our Advice Centre is a free, independent, and confidential service for all students here at Royal Holloway. Our friendly, experienced, and professional staff will provide a listening ear and offer general and specialist advice. We’re here to support you with a whole range of issues, big and small, and if we’re not the best people to help you with a particular issue, we’ll point you in the right direction.

Our advisors hold drop-ins online and in-person Zoom every Tuesday from 13:30-15:30 and every fortnight on Zoom on Wednesdays from 17:30 – 19:30. You can find more information on our events calendar.