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9 Low-Cost Self-Care Options

  September 7, 2021  |    #Live Fabulously

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How to practice low-cost self-care 

Finally! We’re starting to recognize the importance of self-care in maintaining our mental health. We share 9 ways to practice self-care without spending a lot of money.  Join this select group more easily with your free copy of the 5 Building Blocks of a Happy Gay Life here.

How can simple habits be beneficial to your mental health 

If you don’t have the money for a regular massage appointment or reiki treatment, in fact, taking care of yourself may be giving you extra stress! Luckily, there are a number of low-cost self-care things you can do to help your brain function better, reduce anxiety and also put a smile on your face.

On this Queer Money®, we share 9 ways to practice self-care without spending a lot of money, as well as, explain how a regular meditation or yoga practice can change your brain for the better. We discuss the mental health benefits of simple habits like drinking more water, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, together with getting enough sleep and taking a break from alcohol.

Listen in for insight on exercising your brain with a good book and take on our challenge to take better care of yourself today as well as avoid costly mental health interventions down the road.

Listen to self-care tips without breaking the bank:

9 low-cost self-care tips

1. Drink more water

Drinking more water has been shown to significantly affect energy levels and brain function. Dehydration increases mood swings, headaches, increases anxiety and fatigue.

So, swap out for caffeinated drinks, caffeine was shown to increase anxiety and induce panic attacks because it stimulates the fight or flight responses in the brain and body.

Drink a 12 oz glass before bed and immediately after waking up.

2. Take a break from alcohol

People may experience improved social interaction or general feelings of well-being with moderate alcohol consumption. But it’s important to understand that alcohol use can pose a risk to someone’s mental health, overall mood, and daily cognitive functioning due to its impact on brain chemicals. Alcohol use – especially excessive alcohol use – can exacerbate pre-existing comorbid psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

I personally feel an emotional change on the day or days after drinking more than I should, whether that’s a night or a weekend.

Try a dry month like Sober October, Dry January or Dry July.

3. Meditate

In 2011, a Harvard study found that mindfulness meditation can actually change the structure of the brain:

Eight weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was found to increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs learning and memory, and in certain areas of the brain that play roles in emotion regulation and self-referential processing. There were also decreases in brain cell volume in the amygdala, which is responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress – and these changes matched the participants’ self-reports of their stress levels, indicating that meditation not only changes the brain, but it changes our subjective perception and feelings as well.

Start with 5 minutes in the morning right after waking up.

4. Practice yoga

According to new research published in the journal Brain Plasticity, yoga can enhance your brain function and positively affect the structure of your brain.

You can achieve these brain-boosting benefits by practicing yoga one to two times per week.

Yoga practitioners showed more gray matter volume in their brains—which has been linked to better mental function, particularly during aging—and more cortical thickness, another plus when it comes to brain structure since it’s linked to higher intelligence.

“We know that when we’re sleep-deprived, that means we’re not getting true brain rest. And that true brain rest allows us to break the cycle of feeling anxious or having negative thoughts about ourselves.” - David Auten-Schneider Click To Tweet

See Breathe & Flow on YouTube. They have a bunch of yoga for men and the male yogi is enjoyable to watch.

5. Paint your finger or toenails a bright color that gets noticed

We both do this from time to time. We enjoy looking a little bit better, get compliments and it’s a low-cost way of spending money on me.

Post a picture on Instagram and tag @queermoneypod and we’ll share it in a story!

6. Take more naps

In America, 70% of adults report that they obtain insufficient sleep at least one night a month, and 11% report insufficient sleep every night. It is estimated that sleep-related problems affect 50 to 70 million Americans of all ages and socioeconomic classes. Sleep lets our brains rest, which can allow for a break in anxious or negative thinking.

I’ve taken naps in my car at work and we love to do it on the weekends.

Take a 20-30 minute nap this weekend.

7. Read a good fiction book (get lost in the story)

Imagination is an exercise for the brain. Social media, movies, TV shows have diverted many of us from reading which allows us to use our imaginations, which is good for building brain health.

Go to and download the Libby App to get books from your local library on your phone, computer or tablet.

8. Walk more

Go for a walk without music by yourself allow your mind to dream about positive things. This lets you think freely, use your imagination or talk to yourself in a positive way while getting some exercise. Focus on positive things, things that make you smile and the beauty around you.

Find a local park to walk around this week.

9. Eat more fruits and veggies

Fresh foods give your body and brain the nutrients they need. Frozen versions can help keep costs down but have the same nutrients and can be mixed in smoothies.

Add green leafy veggies like kale, spinach and broccoli to your diet. Add berries, especially blueberries (even frozen) as dessert.

Set aside $10 in your budget this week for fresh fruits and veggies for snacks.

Watch this Queer Money® on YouTube instead:

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5 Building Blocks of a Happy Gay Life

We’re David and John Auten-Schneider, the Debt Free Guys ( and hosts of the Queer Money® podcast. We help queer people (and allies) live fabulously not fabulously broke by helping them 1) pay off credit card debt, 2) become part- or full-time entrepreneurs and 3) save and invest for retirement.

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