Turn Your Home Into a Spa With These 5 Frugal Stress Relievers
You need a break. We all do! You may already know all about the scientific evidence that shows the mental and physical health benefits of taking a vacation. However, you don't need to wait for a full vacation to get some relaxation time. In fact, small doses of relaxation work wonders for your overall health. (See also: 25 Ways to Have the Best, Cheapest Summer Vacation)
Here are five ways to give yourself some regularly-scheduled R&R without breaking the bank.
1. Treat Your Feet, Treat Yourself
Ever notice what happens to your mood when you're wearing uncomfortable shoes? It takes a serious nose dive! The converse is also true — when your feet feel good, life feels good.
You could spend a lot of money on pedicures, foot massages, and reflexology treatments. The money is well worth the benefits, although there is another way to give yourself an inexpensive dose of foot-focused happiness: an at-home foot spa. I found options as low as $27, about the price of one pedicure at my local salon. Some are water-based while others offer heat, vibration, bubble jets, and even massages. (See also: 10 Spa Treatments You Can Do at Home)
2. Make Your Bed a Sanctuary
A good night's sleep is the foundation of a satisfying life. Everything about our beds should feel cozy, comforting, and stress-free. I look for 500+ thread count sheets on sale (the higher the thread count, the softer the sheets!), change out my pillows for new ones once a year, and use both a pillow topper and a duvet. Stores such as HomeGoods and T.J.Maxx often have all of these items at deep discounts. I also spritz my bed regularly with a few drops of lavender oil diluted in a half cup of water.
3. Loosen Up With the MELT Method
The MELT Method is a type of bodywork that relieves physical and mental tension and stress. The routine employs a variety of stretches, foam rollers, and rubber balls to massage muscles and limber up connective tissue.
A relatively new concept, MELT classes are available in some cities and occasionally you may find a MELT instructor in your neighborhood who offers private sessions. Luckily you can purchase all of the gear and follow instructions in a manual or on videos (online and DVDs) that are just as effective at a fraction of the cost. It takes just 10 minutes a day and relieves chronic pain in many people. For a very low-cost substitute, you can use tennis balls or small rubber exercise balls and a standard issue foam roller available at many stores that sell sporting goods or on Amazon. There are MELT Method videos available on YouTube for free! (See also: Half Moon, Full Wallet; Free Online Yoga Videos)
4. Reduce Stress With Soothing Sounds
It's amazing what some nature sounds, a short guided meditation, and even just relaxing music can do for our minds. There are a number of scientific studies that show that soothing sounds reduce our levels of stress hormones, lower anxiety, and improve our communication abilities. Best of all, this method ranges in price from cheap to free! I am a yoga and meditation teacher and created three free guided online meditations you can try. If that's not your thing, try listening to the sounds of nature. My favorites are Relaxing Sounds of Nature and Naturespace, which I listen to on my iPad.
Finally, music is a great way to escape from the mundane. I am a big fan of playing music all the time — I'm more productive and happier with it, even when I'm doing a task that isn't much fun.
5. Spend Time With Animals
Science shows that spending time with animals, especially our own pets, reduces stress, relieves anxiety, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, improves heart health, and alleviates depression. Worried you don't have time to properly care for a pet? Offer to walk a friend's dog, pet sit while a friend or family member is out of town, or volunteer at your local animal shelter. You'll reap the relaxation benefits and helps others at the same time. (See also: 5 Surprising Ways Your Dog Can Save You Money)
There's no doubt that we all need to get out of town and on vacation from time to time. These five ideas will help tide you over between those well-deserved breaks with home-baked rest and relaxation that's affordable and available every day.
Do you have favorite affordable ways to relax at home? Share them in the comments below.