The estimated reading time for this post is 2 minutes.

Self care can be hard. Lists going around also usually include spending money, which not all of us have to spare. I’ve tried to list things below that don’t cost a lot of money.

Go for a walk.

Outside if you can. In your favorite kind of setting (woods, beach, city) if you can. Science has shown that green spaces help, so hit up a park.

Pet an animal.

Walk a dog. Borrow one for an hour from a friend or neighbor. Cuddle with a cat (on the cat’s terms of course). Visit an animal shelter and volunteer for an hour.

Eat something healthy.

Eat a vegetable that’s not a potato. Drink something, preferably water. (My favorite water substitute is hot herbal tea. Hydrating and flavorful.) Have a piece of high quality chocolate if that’s what you need.

Create something.

Doesn’t matter if it’s ugly. Knit something. Draw. Color a picture. Build a piece of furniture. Bake cookies. Grill some burgers. Fold an origami crane. Or elephant. Or frog. Write a poem. Write a limerick. Write a novel.

Get social.

Meet a friend for a walk at a park. Go to a local meet up for a game night. Invite friends over for a potluck. Visit your old favorite bar, or the newest one in town, with friends. Go have coffee. Find a crafting group or a book club (try your local library!). Have sex.

Go shopping!

But set a budget of what you can afford to spend, even if it’s only $5. Go window shopping. Go to the thrift store and buy a new outfit. See if you have any specialty thrift stores in your town — I am lucky to have a crafty thrift store in mine, and it’s great for trying new art forms! Go to the library and load up with a giant stack of books and movies and CDs for free — just be sure to return them.

Read or look at something beautiful.

Read a poem. A book of poems. A novel. A short story. An article online. Look at a pretty Instagram feed. Scroll through Tumblr. (I’d suggest also setting a time limit for these online things, so you don’t look up and find an hour of your life gone.)

Clean

If your home (or office) is messy, spend 5 minutes to clean up a bit. Progress is progress! Do the dishes, even if there are only a few in the sink. Make the bed (do you need to change the sheets?). Shelve books. Dust the tv. Take out the recycling.

Take care of yourselves, readers. Share your top self care strategies — what recharges you?