The following is a guest post by Ally Tobias.
We all need a break once in a while yet in a down economy like ours, it can often feel like a break is a luxury we can’t afford. But nothing is further from the truth. When my husband was laid off and we couldn’t afford what we used to enjoy, I began thinking up of ways to pamper myself without breaking the family budget. Here are a couple of ways I love:
A Bubble Bath. A nice long bubble bath mixed with a few drops of my favorite essential oils can do wonders to my mood. Take an hour out of your busy lives, dip yourself in a warm bath and just relax. And if you like, turn on some of your favorite meditation tunes. Here’s something to look out though: make sure you’re not disturbed. Turn off your mobile phone, have someone babysit your kids and unplug your landline. This hour is yours. Cost: $1 for the warm water and the few drops of essential oils.
Home Made Masks . This is one of my favorite ways to relax and I often use it in conjunction with a warm bath. If you think it’s going to cost you, think again. All I used is a tablespoon of yogurt, a teaspoon of honey and two drops of lavender essential. It’s ridiculously easy but this mask actually has a great moisturizing and exfoliating effect. Cost: less than $1 if you plan to eat the rest of the yogurt. I usually do this when I am going to use the yogurt as an ingredient for a dish I plan to cook.
Read a Book. Sometimes all you want is to escape reality into a magical world where things are what they should be. Some people do this by watching movies, which of course can be costly. It costs about $15 here in Australia and lasts, on average, for 2 hours. Sure you can buy DVDs, but you probably won’t watch the same movie three/four times in a row. I prefer books. Books take a while to go through and unlike movies, they let you, the reader, to paint the picture. That imaginative part is weirdly soothing to your mind. Just make sure you’re not reading non-fiction as they won’t have the same effect. Cost: $0. I frequently borrow from the local library.
Wear a Fancy Outfit. There are some psychological studies that find how you dress actually affects how you feel. If you are a woman and you wear a fancy, shiny dress that barely covers your thighs, you’ll feel flirty. If you are a man and you wear a suit and a tie, you’ll feel like it’s business-time. It’s difficult to feel otherwise. There’s an episode in popular hit-show, Friends, where Rachel, Phoebe and Monica dressed up as brides to feel better about themselves. The show exaggerated the effect quite a bit but it’s actually true: dressing up does lift your moods. This is why every man and woman needs to do it once in a while. Cost: $0, if you already have the outfit. Most people do.
Ally is part of the team that manages several Australian-based personal finance blogs that provide tips about Budgeting Planner and Ways To Save Money Fast. Before joining the team, she was a Media Planner in McCann Worldgroup Philippines, Inc., with award-winning promotions, including the Levi’s 501 “Live Unbuttoned” global campaign.