Relax... It's Only $2
I have been feeling more stressed out than usual. My first instinct is to call up my massage therapist and schedule a one-hour Swedish massage and order some take-out peanut butter chicken from my local Chinese place. After doing the math, however, I figure that between the $80 massage, $18 tip, $10 takeout, and $8 in gas, I will have a spent a whopping $116 in unjustified indulgences. It would take an entire day of hard-earned freelance work to get all of that money back, and I would probably end up MORE stressed out and guilty than before my very expensive TLC. So what’s a girl to do? Here are 7 of my favorite ways to relax, and they all cost less than a $2 bill!
1. Take a shower – This seems cheesy, but it really works for me. While some people swear by a bubble bath, I am a clean, running water freak. The right shower head and a $1.45 bottle of Suave Exhale body wash (cheap but sooo luxurious) gives me a nice escape from the hectic world.
2. Tea and a movie – I won’t name-drop on my tea of choice, but any natural variety with a little chamomile or a nice oolong can put you into instant relax mode. Sipping a cup or two while watching Adrenaline Drive (think campy comedy – not action flick), can put me in the right frame of mind again. And before you wonder how you can do the movie thing for less than $1.50, my favorites are always in the bargain bin. Always.
3. Run – As far and as fast as you can. This one should be free, as long as you own a pair of running shoes. Just get going long enough for your heart to work overtime and then slither home for a repeat of tip #1.
4. Sing – If you can’t stand the sound of your own voice, throw on a pair of headphones. You can pick up a cheap pair to plug into your PC or stereo for less than a buck at the local dollar store. Sing something soulful but not depressing (Amy Winehouse, Fiona Apple, Etta James, or Alvin and the Chipmunks will do fine.)
5. Bake Bread – Between the kneading and the rolling, you will have worked your hand and arm muscles into a state of forced relaxation. The carbs contained in a loaf of your very own bread will help to feed both your body and your self-esteem!
6. Paint – Art is a great way to express your self and let the bad out. Give yourself an excuse to be crazy, and DON’T use paint. Instead, grab a sheet of wax paper and go crazy finger painting with ketchup, salad dressing, or pudding. You’ll feel like a kid again in no time.
7. Nap Outside – Just 20 minutes on a blanket in the yard, suspended in a hammock, or even in a lounge chair on your apartment deck will allow you to totally unwind. Don’t set the alarm and be sure to wear sun protection in case you conk out for longer than planned.
Feeling better? Good. Now think of all the money you saved by being great to yourself and your wallet.