Need accessible self-care in the East Bay?

Self-care is essential for good health and wellness. As individualistic as our culture is, we all carry a significant amount of shame and resistance around taking care of our own spirits, bodies, and minds. Self-care is an excellent complement to psychotherapy, and can help you integrate what you discover in therapy as well as help you learn ways to regulate between sessions. For those of you who are interested in adding self-care into your life, here is a starter list for inexpensive and accessible ways you can help yourself rest, rejuvenate, and rebuild.

(Please note: I don’t get any kickbacks nor do I endorse or guarantee anything about any of these places. You may try them and not have a good experience, or you may really like them. They are listed for self-help purposes only. That said, I hope you find something here you enjoy.)

At home:

-Take a bath with Epsom salts and some lavender or bay laurel essential oil

-Have a hot cup of tea with honey

-Spend 3-5 minutes lying on your back on the floor, close your eyes, and feel your body sink into the ground. Breathe deeply and listen.

-Set aside 30 minutes to collage, draw, or express yourself creatively however it comes to you.


National Holistic Institute: NHI is a massage school which offers $35 massages two or three times a day. You don’t get to choose the style you receive, but if you’re feeling open to either Shiatsu or Swedish, it’s an excellent deal.


Berkeley Acupuncture Project and Berkeley Community Acupuncture offer community acupuncture from licensed acupuncturists for $15-$40 sliding scale per treatment. Community acupuncture takes place in a room with other people receiving treatment, though you will have your own practitioner and can find a quiet and semi-private spot in the room. In Oakland, you can visit Oakland Acupuncture Project.


East Bay Meditation Center offers free or dana-based meditation, and offers specific meditation nights for LGBTQ and PoC practitioners.


If you don't have an animal at home, you can volunteer to walk dogs or play with cats at any number of the shelters in the Bay Area, including Milo Foundation and Berkeley Humane Society. Calm, relaxing time with animals can help increase oxytocin production, which can help relax you and help you let go of stress.


Rose Gardens in both Oakland and Berkeley are beautiful places to take in nature in the midst of the city.

Lake Merritt for people and goose watching.

For a bit more nature, check out Redwood Regional Park, and the meditation labyrinth at Briones Regional Park.


The stairs at Lake Merritt: Yowch! You’ll often see people running, jumping, and climbing these stairs. Join them!

Yoga at Yoga To The People is a pay-what-you-can model, and no one is turned away for lack of funds.

Hot Tubs!

Piedmont Springs and Spa offers half-hour and hour-long hot tubs for about $15.

Albany Hot Tubs is also a nice option for a similar price.


Any other ideas? What do you like to do to care for yourself between therapy sessions?


To cite this page: Merson, M. (2014) Need Accessible Self-Care in the East Bay? Retrieved month/day/year from