mental health on a budget: 4 ways to help with anxiety that cost absolutely nothing

One of my biggest issues with the health and wellness industry? The costs.

  • Therapy session: $$$
  • Appointment with a medical specialist: $$$
  • Organic, better-for-you foods: $$
  • Vitamins and supplements: $$
  • Yoga class: $
  • Self-help book(s): $
  • And the list goes on

Full transparency, I’ve paid $150 for one therapy appointment more than once. And yes, I usually spend more for organic produce and grass-fed meats. This is a personal choice, of course, but I know firsthand that prioritizing both physical and mental health can be expensive – and honestly, that frustrates me. Dealing with a health obstacle is already hard enough, so why put another barrier on things that are imperative to our everyday lives? Sigh.

The silver lining here? While some things can be costly, there are plenty of ways to amp up your wellness game for FREE (and we all like free things, am I right?), and I’m pumped to share them with y’all!

Let’s dig in.

  1. Try therapy. Wait, what? Therapy costs money! Allow me to explain … While seeing a professional does cost money, I believe therapy means something different for everyone. The textbook definition of therapy is: a treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder. Ask yourself, what makes me feel relief? What is healing for me? I’m a firm believer that expression in some form or fashion is therapeutic. Don’t want the expense of seeing a professional? Reach out to a friend or family member that you feel comfortable opening up to. Not ready to talk through things just yet? Write it out. Not a fan of writing? Go for a walk. Sweat. Breathe. I encourage you to look at therapy a little bit differently; there are so many ways to express yourself to feel relief from life stressors and anxiety. **Note: if you are currently a college student, there may be free mental health resources available on your college campus. I started therapy and had my first psychiatry appointment free of charge as a student at the University of Florida through the UF Counseling and Wellness Center!**
  2. Rethink what you’re consuming. I’m talking food and drink here. Try lowering your sugar intake. Studies show that sugar and other sweeteners may contribute to a number of mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. Reduce or eliminate caffeine. Limit your alcohol consumption (more on that here). Not only are these things free, they might even save you some money!
  3. Stop aiming for perfection. We live in a high-pressure society, where perfectionism is desired and failure is shamed. While most of us strive to do our best in everything we do, the key is to hone in on doing YOUR best, not necessarily aiming to be THE best. Set realistic goals, work hard toward them, and be kinder to yourself if reaching them takes time. … This is something I am working on daily, as I have habits and thought patterns of a perfectionist for sure.
  4. Download these free apps. Okay, okay … I’ll throw a modern-day tip in here, too 🙂 Most of us have heard that mindfulness meditation is great for those who deal with anxiety on the reg, but that doesn’t make it easy. Don’t worry – there’s an app for that! I highly recommend looking into meditation apps, such as HeadSpace, or my personal favorite, Insight Timer. Insight Timer is my go-to resource for guided meditation, and I probably use it once or twice a week! It’s a game-changer when I’m having trouble falling asleep at night. I’ve also read that the app TalkLife, a peer-support community where you can talk about your feelings, can be super helpful, too. These three apps are free, with in-app purchase options to amp them up a bit.
Here’s a screenshot of Insight Timer, featuring my FAV Guided Meditation by Sarah Blondin.

While I’ve had success with all of these zero-cost ways to help relieve anxiety, I do realize that none are a replacement if you want or need additional and/or professional help. I take a prescribed antidepressant every morning. I pay for therapy with a professional. These things costs money, and I prioritize them in my budget. Please don’t ever feel ashamed if you do, too!

Knowing that many of us are on a budget, I’m hopeful that at least one of these methods can relieve your anxious feelings … and your wallet. 🙂

Do you have any tips to add, or know of any other free apps? Please do share in the comments!



Please note that I am not a mental health professional. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

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