It can seem like only rich people in Singapore get to lead stress-free lives. After all, they’re not the ones standing cheek to jowl with a zillion other people on the MRT which based on past performance could break down any moment. Insead, they’re popping champagne on yachts, enjoying long drives in their Ferraris and pampering themselves at high end spas every day.
If you’re on a budget, heave a big sigh or relief, because rich people don’t have a monopoly on de-stressing. Here are some frugal ways that will nonetheless make you feel so relaxed and so pampered that you’ll be a pillar of zen.
Go for foot reflexology
You might not be able to afford a five hour massage at a spa that looks like it’s fit for royalty, but believe us when we say that when your eyes are closed, it really makes no difference whether you’re in some luxurious garden sanctuary or in a musty old foot reflexology shop. An hour-long foot reflexology session should cost no more than $20 to $30, and if you get one of those middle aged muscle men as your masseuse, you’ll be walking on air by the time you leave the shop.
Brew a cup of premium tea
The trick to hacking luxury is to enjoy it sparingly. You might not exactly be munching on caviar after a long day at work, but just by partaking in the premium version of something very small and affordable, you trick your brain into feeling pampered. A cup of premium tea, such as hanami green tea from the Gryphon Tea Company, will have you feeling like you’re living the high life as you dip the silk satchets into hot water.
Get a hair wash and blow dry at an HDB salon
There’s something very indulgent about getting your hair washed and blow dried by someone else. Heck, rich people do this all the time at high end salons. Well, nothing’s stopping you from paying the $10 to $15 to do the same at a neighbourhood salon. While you might not exactly be receiving the Kim Robinson treatment, you’ll still get to enjoy nice, tidy tresses all day and the satisfaction of having someone else massage your head.
Pick up a bottle of wine at the supermarket
Having a glass of wine at home with your meal always enhances the experience, at least for plebs like me. While your idea of a home cooked meal might be instant noodles by candlelight, resist the urge to eat too much junk when you’re stressed out. Buy a slab of salmon and pan fry it for a few minutes, and enjoy with a bottle of red wine from NTUC’s liquor section. It’s not going to cost you that much, but will make you feel a million times better than your usual char kway teow to go.
Take a walk in a neighbourhood park
Living in Singapore is stressful partly because our senses are constantly being assaulted by traffic, garish shopping malls and seething crowds. We can’t just drive to the countryside to get away from it all. But many people overlook the fact that there are in fact many large tracts of greenery in Singapore’s many parks and gardens.
Before you complain about not being able to enjoy nature, ask yourself if you’ve ever bothered to go cycling at Punggol Park or take a stroll by the sea at Pasir Ris Park. Late in the evening, especially on weekdays, the parks are deserted by Singaporean standards, giving you respite from your fellow men.
Burn incense or essential oils and put on some zen music
When you step into an expensive spa, the first thing your nose picks up on is the smell of lemongrass or sandalwood essential oil wafting through the air. Well guess what, it’s not expensive at all to recreate this experience at home. Get a few bottles of essential oils for cheap on iHerb, buy a $2 oil burner at Daiso, put on some Buddha Bar-ish music and you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve wandered into a fancy lounge in Bali. If you’re into meditation, get a few sticks of incense at Little India and you’ll be well on your way to nirvana.
How do you de-stress on the cheap? Tell us in the comments!