5 Cheap(ish) Things for Self-Care in 15 Minutes a Day

5 Cheap(ish) Things for Self-Care in 15 Minutes a Day

5 Cheap Things for Self-Care
Sometimes when I’m talking about my state of well-being, I refer to myself in the third person as a Delicate Petunia. My body and mind are quick to wilt when left untended. Feeling crushed by a volley of life events this year—a sick parent, a tough breakup, a tumultuous cross-country move—I started sacrificing the routine maintenance I need to keep going, instead of focusing all of my energy on the problems at hand. I shriveled. A week sans stretching left my neck so stiff, I couldn’t turn it. Multiple nights without popping my night guard over clean teeth had me constantly fretting about my next dental checkup. My mind circled back on itself before bed, and I couldn’t sleep. After enough of these insults piled up, I tried to fill the deficit with expensive, indulgent remedies like massages and green tonics in hopes of reviving myself.
In recent months, however, I’ve queued up a routine with a few simple, inexpensive ways to nurture myself in as little as 15 minutes a day so that I can feel steady even during life’s inevitable droughts and downpours. (I also started going to therapy. Although I find these tools helpful, they can’t replace professional medical help.) Here are five cheap(ish) things I use to take care of myself in 15 minutes or less.
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A soothing meditation app

A soothing meditation app
Although meditation apps can’t replace help from a medical or mental health professional, they’re handy tools that can help calm you. If you’re just starting, if you’re looking for structured meditations, or if you’re the type of person who uses Google Maps because you like being told what to do (guilty), consider Headspace, Wirecutter’s favorite meditation tool. With multiple recommendations from friends, my therapist, and even a family I babysat for, I bought Headspace after trying out a few free meditations. Headspace offers options based on time limits—even for one minute—or for processing emotions like anxiety or stress. I’ve graduated to mostly meditating on my own at this point, but when I’m feeling extra frazzled I still pop on my headphones for a guided session to give my buzzing mind a break.

Sunscreen as skincare

Sunscreen as skincare

Applying face sunscreen is an easy way to stall wrinkles and skin cancer. It’s also a budget-friendly way to make me feel like I’m doing something nice for my skin without splurging on lotions and potions that I don’t know will work. I prefer the lightweight EltaMD UVClear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 sunscreen for my sensitive skin, and I find that the bottle lasts for months. Wirecutter has several affordable, great optionstoo.

Effortless toothbrushing

I sometimes yearn to skip this step in my nightly routine so I can just get to bed already. Since getting an electric toothbrush, though, I’ve found that convincing myself to brush is easier. Wirecutter’s pick, the Oral-B Pro1000, does most of the work for me. The Oral-B is a cinch to use, and it makes my teeth feel scrubbed clean (I just turn it on and attempt to follow the American Dental Association’s guidelines for two solid minutes). Every time I go to Costco, I treat myself to replacement heads alongside a giant bag of snap pea crisps. Balance!
Hydro Flask Water Bottle | Stainless Steel & Vacuum Insulated | Standard Mouth with Leak Proof Flex Cap| Multiple Sizes & Colors
As the United States Geological Survey says, a whopping 60%of the human body is water, so you need to replenish the supply to, you know, function. Besides keeping my mucosal membranes moist and lubricating my joints, I notice that drinking water throughout the day just helps me feel generally better and more alert. To keep up my reserves, I bring a water bottle everywhere I go. Wirecutter recommends the Hydro Flask 21oz Standard Mouth water bottle, which is leakproof, durable, and available in fun, eye-catching colors. I recommend sipping while commuting, at your desk, and even when you go out to the bar. If you struggle with remembering to drink water, the delightful Twitter 
account @tinycarebot can prompt you to hydrate as well as take other small breaks for yourself.


Anna Perling



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