If you spend any time scrolling through Instagram, it’s easy to fall into the trap of equating self-care with spending money: lymphatic drainage massages, salon manicures, elaborate skin care routines, personal training sessions and Goop products that aren’t affordable for many of us.
But there are plenty of little ways to pamper ourselves in everyday life that don’t cost much. Liz Moody, cookbook author host of the “Healthier Together” podcast, asked her Instagram community to share their favourite “tiny indulgences” — those small acts of self-care that make you feel special. Things like throwing your pyjamas in the dryer so they’re warm when you put them on or playing Frank Sinatra while you prep dinner so you feel like you’re a character in a Nancy Meyers movie. (You can read the rest of the suggestions in this post.)
Personally, I like to pour a can of sparkling water into a stemless wine glass and put a few pieces of chocolate in a ramekin to enjoy while I’m hanging out on the couch after dinner.
That got me thinking about other small ways that we can add some more luxury into our lives without breaking the bank. In that vein, I asked people to share some of their favourite “tiny indulgences.” Check out their suggestions below. Next time you need to de-stress or boost your mood, consider one of these.
1. Making a pitcher of cucumber water
2. Drinking your morning cup of coffee outside
“If you have access to a patio and good weather, having your morning coffee al fresco can be a great start to your day. Giving yourself a few minutes to relax as you begin your day can help the rest of your day go better.” — Lawrence Siegel, clinical sexologist and sexuality educator
3. Waking up early for some quiet alone time.
“I like to set my alarm on Saturday mornings for like 8 a.m. It might sound nuts to wake up early when you don’t have to, but I like the stillness of my house at that hour. My son won’t be awake for another few hours. I can make a cup of tea and lay in my bed and read or listen to a podcast undisturbed. I’m not allowed to do anything productive — it’s just for me to fully indulge in whatever brings me peace.” — Ashley Simpo, writer and editor
4. Taking a few really deep breaths
“Believe it or not, giving yourself the space to take a deep breath is an indulgence that feels really good and is accessible regardless of income, region, etc. Think about it: When was the last time you paused, got still and allowed yourself to feel the fullness of your breath? When we breathe deeply, it activates our parasympathetic response, the part of our nervous system that signals we are safe and allows us to feel deep relaxation.” — LeNaya Smith Crawford, holistic therapist
5. Walking through a public garden
“Engaging with natural beauty is a wonderful way to indulge — smelling flowers, taking in the colours and shapes. It can transport you to another world for a period of time, and it’s totally free!” — Samantha Elkrief, therapist, health coach and chef
6. Adding a garnish to your meals
“Whether you are an accomplished home cook or you microwave hot dogs and ramen noodles, putting a garnish on any meal you eat can be elevating. Even if you cook for yourself, garnishing even the most simple dish can make you smile.” — Siegel
7. Giving yourself a facial massage
“Face yoga has incredible benefits and makes you feel so good! Especially if you’re sitting all day at the computer, you may not realise how much you tense your face or clench your jaw!” — Lina Forrestal, host of “The New Mamas Podcast”
8. Spending 15 minutes daydreaming
“Set aside 15 to 30 minutes to daydream and fantasise, without multitasking or doing anything ‘productive’ at the same time.” — Wu
9. Making coffee in a French press
“The process of making a French press makes me feel like I’m investing in myself to make a quality and rich-tasting cup of coffee.” — Forrestal
10. Taking yourself on a solo date
“I go for a walk and bring my sketchbook, or I allow myself an hour or two to prepare a nice lunch at home, watch my favourite show or listen to podcasts.” — Debbie Tung, cartoonist
11. Drinking a glass of wine while calling a friend
“On a Saturday night when I’m stuck inside and have FOMO, I will have a wine and give a friend a call with music playing in the background to fill a social quota.” — Eamon Wood, travel blogger at the Wayward Wheeler
12. Taking an epsom salt bath
“A bath is a great way to relax and indulge, and with the epsom salts, you also get the benefit of magnesium, which can help with relaxation and sleep. It’s a great way to end the day. Add your favourite Spotify soundtrack, some candles or even some dried rose petals into the bath for an extra treat.” — Elkrief
13. Doing a short home workout
“I also enjoy following quick workouts on YouTube. Moving my body, even just for a little while, always gives me that extra little boost I need for the day.” — Tung
14. Making a fancy cup of tea
“Visit an apothecary and you’ll be blown away by all the different tastes, scents and colours. Mixing your own herbs for teas or buying a pre-made blend is a great and inexpensive way to engage all your senses. Add the tea to your favourite mug and get cozy with your favourite blanket and you’ve got yourself some great moments.” — Elkrief
15. Basking in the sunshine
“If it’s a sunny day but I feel like staying at home, sometimes I will go sit in the grass outside my house and it feels like I’m at a park making the most of the day.” — Wood
16. Lighting a candle to set the mood
“Taking a shower by candlelight can feel even more relaxing. Eating by candlelight just makes food taste better. And even watching TV with your partner by candlelight can make it feel like an intimate experience.” — Siegel
Interviews have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.