“Self-care” simply means anything you do to benefit your own well-being, and although the practice of self-care has been around for decades, it wasn’t until the last couple of years that the term really went mainstream.
Of course, once something becomes popular, companies pop up and try to capitalize on the trend. But many of the self-care products and services being sold by wellness companies are actually things you can get for free.
Last updated: July 27, 2021
Headspace Meditation App
- Cost: $12.99 per month, or $69.99 per year
Meditation has been credited with reducing stress and improving sleep, focus and relationships. The Headspace app offers a free basics course that teaches you the essentials of meditation, but for access to the actual meditations, you need to pay for a monthly or annual subscription with the self-care company.
Free Alternative: Insight Timer App
The Insight Timer app gives you free access to nearly 14,000 guided meditations from over 2,900 meditation teachers. The free self-care app has been downloaded by 5.5 million meditators and gets about 10,000 users logging on each day.
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The Five Minute Journal
- Cost: $24.99 per year
Journaling can have mental health benefits, such as helping to manage anxiety, reduce stress and cope with depression, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. And journaling as a form of practicing gratitude provides additional benefits, including improved physical health, relationships and self-esteem, according to Psychology Today.
These are the concepts behind The Five Minute Journal, which prompts you to take time every morning and evening to write down what you’re grateful for and what you can improve. According to the journal’s website, “thousands who use the journal have seen increased happiness, better relationships and have become more optimistic.”
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Free Alternative: Use a Journal/Notebook You Already Have
You don’t need to buy the official Five Minute Journal to journal on a daily basis. Repurpose a journal or notebook you already have as your gratitude journal, and start and end each day by writing down what you are grateful for and your hopes for the day ahead.
YogaWorks Yoga Membership
- Cost: $129 for a monthly membership
Yoga combines physical activity with meditation, and regular practice can provide a number of health benefits, including improved body image, positive eating habits, weight loss, enhanced fitness and improved cardiovascular health, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
But joining a yoga studio, such as YogaWorks, can put a real dent in your wallet. The Hollywood location in Los Angeles costs $25 for a single class or $129 for a monthly membership.
Free Alternative: Yoga With Adriene on YouTube
You can access full-length yoga routines on YouTube for free, which you can do in your own home whenever you want. Popular YouTube account Yoga With Adriene has a variety of yoga classes available, from a 15-minute sunrise yoga routine to a 40-minute strength and stamina routine.
Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask
- Cost: $49
Putting on a face mask not only helps improve your skin, but it can also improve your mental health.
“When you do a skin care routine, you’re usually alone, in your bathroom or somewhere quiet, and it’s just you and the mirror,” dermatologist Rena Jogi told Huffington Post. “There’s something slightly meditative about just sitting there and taking that 10 minutes just for you.”
Popular Korean beauty brand Glow Recipe has an Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask as part of its product line, which promises to deeply moisturize skin overnight.
Free Alternative: DIY Hydrating Avocado Mask
There’s no need to pay $49 for a jar of a product when you can easily make a hydrating avocado mask at home using ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. Combine one-half of a ripe avocado — mashed until it’s soft — a teaspoon of plain organic yogurt and a teaspoon of honey to create a mask that has the same benefits, according to a recipe from Self.
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Spirit Junkie Daily Affirmations App
- Cost: $1.99
The idea behind positive affirmations is that the statement can program your mind to believe that its sentiment is true, according to Psychology Today. Starting or ending your day with an affirmation can be an easy form of mental self-care.
The Spirit Junkie app provides you with a new affirmation every day that you can save or share, but you do have pay for the app.
Free Alternative: Shine App
Shine is a self-care app that will send you a daily Shine Text with advice to help you take on the day. These daily self-care tips are free, but you can upgrade your account to have access to the app’s Shine Talk meditations and talks are $9.99 a month or $53.99 annually.
BluePrint Lemon Reset
- Cost: $65 for a six-pack
Self-care and wellness go hand-in-hand, and juicing has become a popular part of the movement.
BluePrint’s Lemon Reset drink contains water, lemon juice, agave syrup and cayenne pepper, and is marketed as a way to “hit the reset button.” Reported benefits of this drink’s ingredients include boosting the immune system, cleansing the liver, alkalinizing and slimming, according to a blog post by wellness expert Dr. Mona Vand.
Free Alternative: DIY Lemon and Cayenne Water
The cost per bottle for the BluePrint drink ends up being around $11, but you can make your own detox water with things you likely already have at home. Just add the lemon juice from one lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper to an 8-ounce glass of water, and you’ll get the same benefits of the store-bought drink. You can also add Stevia for sweetness.
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Photos are for illustrative purposes only. As a result, some of the photos might not reflect the companies or products listed in this article.