Skip to Content

Support and Wellbeing

How to Practice Self-care on a Budget

Manasa has 10 suggestions on how to look after yourself without breaking the bank.

Neon sign saying and breathe

Being in university is a huge shift from school because it requires more of your time and mental capacity. You are also trying to become an adult and manage being an independent person. There are different levels of stress a student can experience (international students, working students, students with families, etc) but everyone can go through a mentally challenging time during university.

Self-care can keep our mind healthy in the same way taking care of our physical health away physical illnesses.

From experience, I have learned that self-care is not just skincare or treating yourself to a new dress. Those can be parts of it, but I’ve learned that self-care that really keeps your mind healthy comes in doing things that may not always be fun but good for you. This list is also being made with the student body in mind. With the current economic climate and being a student, I wanted to create a list that can be affordable but just as effective.

1. Fuel yourself well

I think everyone has heard this multiple times, but we do need to fuel our bodies with nourishing food. I have found that the food I’ve made, I enjoy way more. Of course, it’s not always perfect, but a good soup or making something with all your favourite flavours can be a game changer when it comes to feeling good. Plus buying groceries is way cheaper than eating out.

berries, cereal and avocados

2. Keep your space clean and tidy 

I never liked cleaning when it was a part of my chores as a kid, but now I’ve become like my mom, and I love having a day to just clean my space. I love putting on my favourite music or podcast and just spending a couple hours putting stuff away or cleaning my living room. When you clean the space where you live, it’s almost like you clear out your mental living room as well and you can just think clearer.

3. A walk a day, keeps the doctor away

This is my favourite one because it’s just time to spend with yourself and get good exercise in. Going to the gym is a great way to practice self-care, but it is not the most affordable option for everyone, so I think a walk is a great way to unwind, listen to your playlist, and then also hit your steps. I usually listen to a true crime podcast whenever I go on walks as a guilty pleasure.

Manasa and friends on a walk
Hills of Belfast

4. Organise your thoughts in a journal

I know this has probably been repeated so many times, but journaling is a cheap way to put your thoughts down. After a stressful day, it can be so helpful to just rewrite your day on paper so it can be on something tangible. I think it’s helpful because it puts everything on one page and calm your mind a bit.

If you are looking for some journaling prompts or would like to do some good reflective work, type in “shadow work prompts” into Google and you will get a bunch of questions that you can answer and write about when journaling (it’s a nice way to get the ball rolling).

Person writing in a journal

5. Clean your desktop

If you are anything like me, your desktop is a mess from all the lectures, Word documents and pictures from school. Just like clearing out your physical space is important, your laptop is also a kind of physical space that you frequent every day. Clearing and organising into folders can also be a great way to motivate yourself to study.

6. Stay hydrated 

If I am being completely honest, I don’t think any of us really meet our water quotas for the day. 70% of our body is water and so we need to give our body enough water to properly function.

water bring poured from a bottle

7. Make your place smell good

If your environment smells good, you’ll want to be in it more. There are tons of affordable essential oils that you can buy online. These are great for putting in around your room or living space.

8. Take up Yoga

Yoga at Queen's Sport – While signing up for yoga classes can be expensive, going to the PEC for a morning yoga class can clear your mind for the day and it’s an affordable option to go for occasionally, (it’s also close to campus).

Woman doing yoga

9. Make plenty of Friends

They say happiness is the best medicine and who can make you happier than your friends? Even going for a coffee or a walk with a friend can be so good for your mental health. Humans are social creatures after all.

10. Go on a solo trip

Places like the Ulster Museum can be a great place to go by yourself to learn and explore whatever you’d like. It’s also completely free! Another fun place to go to on your own is the Dock Café. It’s donation café where you can pay the amount you choose, and just spend time studying or relaxing.

Ulster Museum

Hopefully you've found these tips on how to practice self-care useful and easy to implement in your life. 

Find out more

Do you need any help? Check out the Support and Wellbeing pages.

More blogs on Support and Wellbeing

Manasa Ramakrishna

Medicine | Undergraduate Student | Canada

I’m a 20-year-old international student from Canada and currently studying Medicine. I figured the best way to combine my love for science, travelling and working with people would be to do international medicine. Outside school, I do classical dance, sculpture and biking!

Manasa Ramakrishna