The biggest barrier to living a healthy lifestyle is arguably the costs. We tend to assume, after all, that healthy foods, fitness programs, and other self-care activities are expensive. To be fair, we’re right to a certain extent. Fast-food meals are no doubt cheaper, and you can save more money by sitting all day than paying for personal trainers and regular pampering sessions.
While there are self-care activities that cost nothing but a bit of your time, we’d still maximize their benefits if we shell out a little. That said, let’s figure out how much we’d likely spend for a luxurious self-care routine.
Top Ways to Care for The Body and Soul
When you say “self-care”, you’re not just referring to nourishing your physical body. You’re also making your soul, which includes your mind and emotions, healthier.
The following four are the most important self-care activities, as per Harvard Health:
- Physical Activity
Exercise relieves stress, improves mood, and increases energy levels. In addition, it’s beneficial for the heart, as you probably know. But the best thing about exercise is that you can do it anytime and anywhere. Any physical activity, be it cleaning the house, walking your dog, or commuting, counts as exercise.
The ideal length of time for physical activity depends on your age and other factors. Generally, though, everyone should aim for at least 30 minutes of it each day. But if you’re trying to manage your weight, you can add more time. Adults should combine aerobic activity and strength training, while children may do more intense physical activities.
- Healthy Diet
A healthy diet should consist of whole foods, plant-based foods, and a very limited amount of sugar, refined carbs, and processed foods. If you could, consider going vegan, because plant-based foods, especially colorful ones, are packed with more vitamins. Although pills and supplements may suffice, they aren’t as potent as real food.
- Reducing Stress
Doing things that you enjoy does wonder for your health. As long as they don’t involve dangerous substances, or anything excessive, they’ll give you stress-reducing benefits and positive mental health impacts.
Most health professionals recommend calming activities like yoga, meditation, knitting, or walking to cut down stress. But anything quiet and peaceful will work. Calm your mind after working, or any time you feel tired and overwhelmed. It’ll improve your mood and make you sleep better.
- Getting Enough Sleep
The old advice of getting eight hours of sleep remains true. But the amount of sleep you need also changes as you get older. In any case, ensure that you always wake up feeling well-rested.
Sleep deprivation affects your mood, cognitive abilities, and mental health. So as much as possible, turn in earlier. Create a bedtime routine if you find it hard to fall asleep. Get off on your electronics a few hours before sleeping, and you’d doze off faster.
The Costs of Self-care
- Fitness Classes/Programs
If you need a coach to motivate yourself to work out, an average online fitness class or program may cost you around $50 to $150 a month. Those are usually apps with customizable programs courtesy of a trainer.
Face-to-face training, on the other hand, can cost at least $100 per session. So if you’ll train 3 times a week, for example, you’ll spend $300, or $1,200 per month, all in all.
- Healthy Eating
Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy won’t make a big difference in your spending. New research from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found that you’d likely spend just $1.50 more per day.
- Stress Relief
The costs of relieving stress depend on how you do it. If you like to enjoy long hot baths, for example, the price for the services of a hot tub dealer may range from $2,000 to $ 35,000. And with a hot tub always comes aromatherapy. Essential oils are usually cheap and available in many places, including online stores.
Mani-pedis are another common form of stress relief. Standard sessions cost around $15 – $25, deluxe ones $20 – $25, and high-end ones, particularly from hotels, can cost $25 – $50. It may reach $85 if you want acrylic nails.
- Sleeping Well
Improving sleep doesn’t have to cost anything, except perhaps the essential oils if you want to use them.
To invest in self-care without straining your savings, set a limit of about 5% of your monthly budget. And explore fun and relaxing activities that don’t cost a dime. Pampering yourself and nourishing your body shouldn’t put your finances at risk. But don’t skimp too much either. Taking your health for granted, just because you don’t feel sick yet, can have grave consequences later in your life.
The key is to listen to your body. If it feels tired, bloated, or restless, give it the treatment it needs. Even if it costs some money, it’s ultimately costlier to be unhealthy.