Self-care has been a hot word the past couple of years, and for good reason. Caring for yourself is extremely important. It helps you re-center yourself, it gives you time to relax and breath, and it reminds you that there is more to life than whatever it is you are worried about right now. We can all benefit from acts of self-care.

But there is this misconception out there that self-care has to be the same for everyone. Or that it has to be this big, expensive thing. It doesn’t! Self-care means something different to everyone. What helps you calm down and relax is not the same for someone else.

7 Self-Care You May Not Realize Is Self-Care

Self-care is all about taking a little bit of time to yourself, even if it’s just 5-10 minutes every day. Here are some self-care acts that seem basic but can really mean much more.

1. Do A Face Mask 

Fifteen minutes. Sitting on your couch while watching your favorite movie or curled up in bed with a good book. This is self-care! And it really does not cost much money!

Face masks not only help revitalize your skin, but tend to be quite relaxing as well. Plus many of them do not break the bank — I just ordered 6 face masks for $7 as a FabFitFun add-on. Taking even just fifteen minutes to yourself where you are not focused on work or personal/familial obligations can do you good, especially before bed.

2. Take a Bath

You need to bathe anyway, right? Why not take it to the next level and switch up your normal, daily shower to a bath one evening? Bring a good book, a glass of wine, add some bubbles or a bath bomb, and most importantly, leave your phone in the other room.

Not only is this extremely inexpensive, but you also do not even need to leave the comfort of your own home!

3. Cook Yourself Your Favorite Meal 

Why do you need an excuse that someone else is coming over in order to make yourself your favorite meal? Or, if you favorite meal isn’t a homemade one, why do you need an excuse to order a boatload of Chinese food? You don’t! Treat yourself, especially if it has been a long day or week.

If you are anything like me and spend your entire day looking forward to what you are going to have for dinner, this is a fantastic reward.

4. Go For A Walk 

Self-care is all about taking care of yourself, right? This means physically too. If you are a person who feels a great release going to the gym, go for it! And teach me how to feel that way. But if you are like me and think of the gym as your sworn enemy, you likely will benefit from walking more.

Turn on your favorite playlist, turn your phone on do not disturb and take a walk around your neighborhood. If it’s too cold to go outside, crank up the volume in your home (or, if you are in an apartment building, as loud as you can without the neighbors being able to hear) and walk around your apartment. Take it to the next level, and dance it out, you know, how Meredith and Christina used to do in Grey’s Anatomy.

5. Go To Bed Early 

How many times do we say that we are going to go to bed early and then we get sidetracked by something on television or just by scrolling through social media? Finding at least one day a week where you can go to bed an hour earlier than usual can help you feel rejuvenated.

6. Light a Candle

Smells can take you back to specific places or feelings — we have all experienced this. Find a cable in a scent that evokes a relaxing, calm feeling in you and keep it lit around the house while you are doing tasks that may be daunting or that you may not want to be doing.

Smelling this scent that you love, while doing something you may not love, can help realign your perspective, or at the very least, give you something to smile about. And that’s what self-care is about, right? Finding the happiness in you!

7. Stay Off Your Phone 

Just for an hour or two. Assuming there are no work deadlines or family things happening, you have the ability to turn your phone off, or leave it in another room for an hour or two. It can even be as simple as just staying off of social media for a bit and only answering your phone if someone is calling you. Spend some time focusing on yourself, and not the lives of your friends (both real and on social media) for a bit.

It is important to stress that self-care looks different for everyone. Find what works best for you, and integrate it into your weekly routine. And remember, it does not have to be big or expensive! It is whatever makes you happy. What is your favorite self-care routine, that people may not even realize is self-care?