More often than not, our minds need a break without us knowing. We shrug off our stress – whether internal or external – and go back to our business. But when the worst happens – like a major mental breakdown you didn’t see coming – you need to take a break from your routine and face the elephant in the room.

When we experience some sort of mental distress, it’s almost always unexpected. And we don’t always have the budget to blow to take care of ourselves. So we just sulk and feel bad for being broke human beings. 

But upon holding my own self-love dates, I realized one major thing: self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. There are ways you can “treat yourself” without breaking the bank. And so I approached Karla of The Wise Lark if she’s up for a collaborative blog post. 

So today, we present you: Budget Self-Love Dates For Introverts. 🙂


READ A GOOD BOOK. 

It’s easy to get lost in a good book. Despite staying indoors, it can take you places. To me, reading for 30 minutes straight already feels like forever. If it takes as little as that to make you feel better, then great! 

Here are some personal picks:

  • Any light novel – Something that’s really easy to follow the story. Could be something comical, too, to make you laugh or smile.
  • Something spiritual – I’m not a hardcore Christian. I can’t even call myself a Christian! But when all hell breaks loose, I try to believe there’s a Higher Being out there that’s looking out for me. Reading something with a tinge of spirituality somehow makes me “lighten my yoke”.
  • Something educational – If you’re gonna read something, you might as well make it informative. Avoid the substance-less magazines that don’t really care about your well-being. Read something you’ve always wanted to but never get the chance because life. Whether it’s an almanac, a biography or even a textbook, take this difficult time to divert your attention and learn something new. 

If you can spare some pesos, go to your favorite coffee shop and read there instead. From my experience, a good book is enough to get me hooked for an hour – enough to finish one cup of coffee so you can avoid overstaying and overspending.


EMBARK ON AN INSPIRATIONAL ART PROJECT. 

It is only in being creative that the individual discovers itself – D.W. Winnicot

Personally, I find making art very therapeutic. There are days when I watch my favorite shows while I draw/paint/knit my heart away.

Is there an art form you’ve been dying to explore? Here are some artsy things that you can try:

  • Adult coloring
  • Watercolor painting
  • Calligraphy/Hand-lettering
  • Knitting/Crochet
  • Origami

Tip: If you are a hoarder like me, you probably have art stuff stashed around your house. Check them first and see what you can do with them before buying new materials. This way, you won’t spend so much.


WRITE YOUR OWN SELF REMINDERS.

On days that you just want to drop everything and disappear, it helps to see reminders for you to keep going. But why Google quotes if you can remind you yourself? Grab a pen and a paper, and whatever negative emotion you’re feeling at the moment, write down the complete opposite.

I am valuable. 
I am capable of greatness. 
I am more than meets the eye. 

Let these little reminders be your light during your dark days. When you’re starting to feel down, grab your self-care note and read each item carefully. Really let them sink in. A little goes a long way, so no matter how simple your notes are, they can help you get through the day. 

  • Look up a really inspirational video or speech that works for you and transcribe it. This way, you’ll have it with you wherever you go! 
  • I love that viral video of a black woman preaching motivational sentences. It truly is a wake up call for me. But I couldn’t listen to it whenever I needed to, so I transcribed the entire video & even made a creative page.

HOLD A SLUMBER PARTY WITH YOU BFFS.

In Philippine culture, you’d most likely need 5 working days to ask your parents to let you go to a sleepover. But if you have that trusted buddy from your kindergarten days, then lucky you! 

Sometimes we find our homes a safe haven.
Sometimes it suffocates us.

During the times that you want to be away for awhile, it’s practical to find a safe spot where you’ll be in good hands. The goal here is to have a different surrounding – sort of to restart your engine. You can spend the night catching up with your best friend/s, venting out, and finding solace in the company of people who know you and really care for you. Or you can sleep the night away like a normal human being and wake up feeling refreshed.

If necessary, extend your stay until lunch so you can still talk over pandesal and coffee. Anyway, if you’re with someone who your parents trust, there should be no rush for you to get home as soon as the rooster crows.


TALK TO A TRUSTED PERSON.

Sometimes all it really takes is to talk to someone you truly trust with your emotions. Choose one person because as Dr. Gia Sison said, “too many chefs might spoil the broth.” 

It’s also exhausting to repeat stories where you end up dismissing important parts because you just want to get the story over and done with. So pick that one trusted friend who’s willing to drop what he’s doing to listen to you. 

It might help to start off the conversation with something you need. Is it:

A) A listener 
B) A “life coach”
C) A little bit of both

This will help your friend figure out what to do while you’re venting. It’s a two-way street so both of you need some sort of guideline. If you need comfort, avoid naggers. If you need solid advice, avoid your lenient & forgiving friends.


CREATE A ROUTINE OR START A NEW ONE.

On days that I don’t know what to do, I focus on what I *need* to do. I try to separate my emotions from logic, and write down the practical things I need to do. 

It’s nothing mindblowing. It could be simple as the ff: 

• Make bed
• Wash my face & brush my teeth 
• Eat breakfast
• Feed pets 

I also listen to my body and try to look at myself from a 3rd person’s perspective.

Do I stink? It’s probably time to shower.
Is it noon already? I should start preparing my lunch.
Are the birds restless again? They might be getting hungry already. 

I may be lazy to wash the dishes but it only really takes 30 minutes max. I could spend the same amount of time moping around but that’s unproductive. I may not be in the mood to eat at the moment, but if I don’t, I’ll get famished later and that can pose a bigger problem.

Having a list of things to do is more often than not enough to get you started with your day. And as you tick one thing off after another, you’ll eventually get your own flow and get more peace of mind. This will help you finally focus on what you need to do for the day. Or if you intend to have a solid “self love day”, then at least you’ll start to feel better, which is the main goal.


MEDITATE.

I’m not a fan of meditating but I heard it’s effective. For a lot of people I know who also often undergo mental distresses, meditating helps A LOT. There are a bunch of apps you can try to guide you if you’re a beginner. The technique is to take it day by day until it naturally becomes a parr of your daily routine. Start with 5 minutes, then take it to 10 after 2 weeks, then 15, and so on. 

A good friend of mine suggested turning off your lights and lighting a scented candle for a more calming effect. You can also listen to a soothing playlist – some of like spa music – and just start meditating. 

For some, it helped clear their minds and become more mindful of their actions. They are calmer throughout the day and are able to focus more on their tasks. Try it out and let me know if it works for you!


TAKE CARE OF THE SMALL CHORES.

You know those little things you always put off because “you don’t have time for them?” Well now you do. Crying, mopping around, and feeling miserable are easier because they’re already your default moods. But then, they’re also heavier for your spirit in the long run. Are you really willing to let 24 hours go without doing anything to help yourself? 

The first step is to get out of your bed. Once you do that, take one more step, and another. 

Think. What are those little chores that are easy enough to do and feasible to be done NOW? You don’t need a concrete list. You can start off with one basic chore and take it from there. Or think of something mindless but time-consuming. 

Here are some of my own little chores: 

  • Clean my makeup brushes 
  • Fold the laundry
  • Wash the dishes 
  • Organize my emergency kit 
  • Tidy my bags 
  • Feed the pets (dogs, lovebirds, fish)
  • Declutter my makeup boxes 
  • Sweep the floors
  • Take out the trash from our bathroom
  • Clean out my wallet (organize the money and cards, throw receipts, separate the coins and put in my ‘savings’ bottles)

You can also do any of the ff:

  • Re-arrange your books 
  • Clean out your fridge
  • Tidy your work desk 
  • Organize your computer files
  • Sort those photos from your last trip
  • Write your home/work/personal errands for the month (or for the next if it’s rolling in in a few days)

HOLD A MOVIE MARATHON.

Make it a legit one with popcorn and all your go-to snacks. 

If you can, make a quick run to the convenience store and grab your favorite movie snacks. Or do your own at home! Instead of watching a movie in the mall by yourself, do it at the comfort of your own home. 

Schedule a solid self-love date with yourself and line up your “comfort films”. I usually go for something light & humorous to lift up my mood. Or a “smart movie” as how I like to call it – something that makes me feel more human after watching it. But it really depends on you want you feel like seeing. 

Feeling savage? Go for horror. 
Have a restless mind? Watch something no-brainer like a chick flick or a comedy film. 
In need of comfort? Go for something spiritual, inspirational, motivational. 

Here are some movies I personally love: 

  • Forrest Gump
  • The Shawshank Redemption 
  • Sex and The City (1-3)
  • Singin’ in the Rain 
  • Sing 
  • Hidden Figures
  • Bad Moms   

TAKE A WALK.

Taking a walk, be it just around the neighborhood, or in a park, have always been relaxing for me. Back when I was studying in UP Diliman, whenever the academic load would get overwhelming, I’d always hit the academic oval and just walk around, absorbing the calmness of the Acacia trees lining the path.

When I was living in Malate, Manila, I would walk along Roxas Boulevard. It smelled kinda funky at times, but the Manila sunset was always breathtaking. When I’m feeling extra energetic, I’d go to Rizal Park.

Walking helps me clear my mind.  

It’s also a great time to people-watch and observe the surroundings.  It reminds me that there’s a world outside my problems. Sometimes I’d take some pictures. However, if you decide to do this, be careful, especially along places like Roxas Boulevard, because gadgets are hot items for snatchers.

I encourage you to try walking on your mental health day if you aren’t doing this already. Walking is healthy for the mind and body, plus it’s free!

“Try to walk as much as you can, and keep your love for nature, for that is the true way to learn to understand art more and more. Painters understand nature and love her and teach us to see her. If one really loves nature, one can find beauty everywhere.” – Vincent Van Gogh


COOK OR BAKE.

Honestly, I don’t like cooking as much as I love baking, so I’ll elaborate on the latter. If you love to bake too, then I need not explain further why this activity would be good for your mental health day. But if you’re skeptical, then let me tell you:

I love baking because:

  • It’s therapeutic (for me) mixing the solid and the liquid mixtures together.
  • I love how the room fills with the aroma of baked goodies.
  • I feel fulfilled whenever I make something concrete like cookies for example.

After, you’ll have baked goodies that you can share with your family/friends. You can even give them as a gift to your loved ones to let them know how much you appreciate their presence in your life.

After all, “Baking is love made edible.” – Anonymous

  • Tip: If you do not have an oven and other baking stuff, you can arrange this activity with a friend or a nearby relative who has the equipment. This way, you won’t spend too much. ☺

And that’s it for our budget self-love dates for introverts! We hope you picked up a thing or two from this blog post. Again, self-love shouldn’t be expensive. There are ways that you can care for yourself without pulling out a single bill. 

What about you?
How do you celebrate self-love?

PS, Karla and I are open for some chitchat. If you need a friendly blogger, our inboxes are open. Read more of Karla’s blog posts over here: The Wise Lark

Bae Milanes

Bae is a 20-something passion blogger from Manila. She likes hoarding hobbies and trying out new stuff, blogging about her mundane adventures, and tweeting about random realizations and musings.

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