Whenever you feel depressed or stressed out, you either grab some chocolate or you hit the mall. More often than not, it´s the latter that you do. Afterall, isn´t shopping a great de-stressing? That´s why it´s called shopping therapy.
But you don´t really need to shop and blow the bank every time you feel low. You also don´t need to consume sweets more than your guilt could tolerate whenever you´re stressed. There are many ways to pamper yourself without spending too much dime. Go for activities that feed your soul, stimulate your creativity, revitalize your energy and save you money.
1. Smell the flowers
Did you know that if you just surround yourself with flowers, you´ll be happier than you are now?
Flowers are said to make people happy, lighten the mood and improve social behaviors. Because of this, researches were conducted to prove or disprove what is believed about flowers and their impact to people, and to challenge the scientific claim that people can manage their day-to-day moods in a healthy and natural way.
The “Emotional Impact of Flowers Study” led by Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Rutgers, came up with three interesting findings:
- Flowers have an immediate impact on happiness.
- Flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods.
- Flowers make intimate connections.
Flowers don´t only make us happy, they also have positive effects to our emotional well-being.
How much does it cost to smell fresh flowers? Go to your nearby park and enjoy the fragrance of flowers. Stay there for an hour and observe how your mood improves.
If there are no flowers around you and there´s no park, go to the nearest flower shop. Pretend that you´re a costumer. Examine the beauty of every rose, daisy, and all the colors that your eyes can enjoy. When you´re done, tell the florist you´ll be back. But if your pocket allows you to, why not get yourself a bouquet?
If you are to have a quick access to flowers, plant your own flowers. Really, the best way to relax is to go back to nature.
Plant your favorite flowers or vegetables, do some light weeding and soak up the sun. It´s a great way of exercise. You can burn as many calories in 45 minutes of gardening as you can in 30 minutes of aerobics.
Not only do you help the environment by cleaning your surroundings, you also save money by getting fresh vegetables from your garden and you do exercise without hitting the gym.
3. Get a good nap
The secret to a fresh, glowing skin is a good sleep. We all know this! Don´t underestimate the power of sleep. It brightens your mood, improves your immune system and makes you stay focused.
Get a fifteen minute catnap, it will do wonders.
4. Rent a movie, grab some chips or pop corn, and order a take out
Whenever I feel overworked, my best therapy is movie time. I rent movies or borrow some DVDs from my girlfriends and spend a night only for movies. Burn out from work is the gateway to stress and worst, to depression. I complete the night with either a bag of chips or a bowl of pop corn.
There are times when you don´t feel like cooking, it happened to me most of the time when I was still single. Give yourself a break and order a take out. Spend the night enjoying your family´s company, your girlfriends´ or just yourself. It´s a choco for your soul.
5. Do yoga
Last academic school year, I and my girlfriends in Bangkok were so stressed out from work. We decided to spend our one-month-summer-vacation by hitting the gym and attending a yoga class. It hurt everywhere within the first week, but after I’ve got used to it, my body loved it.
I observed that when I reached the gym in a bad mood, I leave the gym cheerful and in a happy spirit. Thanks to yoga. I don´t plan to adapt the religious principles of yoga, I just love the stretching and the peace of mind.
After learning the basic moves, I purchased a yoga book. I have a yoga mat and I can now do yoga in my kitchen, anytime of the day. There are also free yoga tutorial videos online. It´s easy to follow.
6. Enjoy a sauna
If there´s a sports complex nearby, then you have an easy access to a sauna. If there isn´t, see if there are public saunas in your area. After doing yoga, aerobics or running, complete your day with a hot sauna.
Have a quick shower, just make your hair and body wet. Put conditioner on your hair. This will make your hair softer afterwards as it will get steamed by the heat. Apply lotion all over your body before you go inside the sauna room. If possible, bring a bottle of lotion with you so could apply more later, this is especially a must if you do dry sauna. Lotion will protect your skin from dryness.
The maximum length of stay inside the sauna depends on how much your body can take. It will tell you if you have enough. Try to get a break, leave the sauna room for about 10 minutes to give your skin some breathing space, and then go back.
If you haven´t done sauna before and you want to try it, read more about the “dos” and “don´ts” in having a sauna.
It´s important to take your time so you don´t feel stressed and you can relax. Arrange your day ahead, put it in the calendar and don´t skip it. Believe me; it will make you bounce back quick.
How do you pamper yourself inexpensively?