It's a lot more frugal than paying doctors and buying prescriptions.
It's not very frugal to put ourselves in the position to have to go to doctors and fill prescriptions, and yet that seems to be the modern way of life - frugal or not. Fortunately, we often do it to ourselves. I say "fortunately" because we then have the choice to not do it to ourselves. Avoiding medical expenses is frugal.
The most prescribed drugs in America today are of the mood altering type - to deal with depression. With all of the successes in this nation - material wealth, education within the grasp of nearly everyone, advanced medical knowledge and care, and the freedom to be and do what we like, Americans are in trouble. Fast paced lives, money worries (including keeping up with "the Joneses"), finding more and more demands to use our time and opportunities... all these things put emotional as well as physical and mental stress upon us.
Supermoms, superdads and superkids abound in our ideals. Being busy is the equivalent of being happy, or good, or whatever it is we strive to be. Over scheduling seems to take the place of the more frugal and sensible action of having a full pantry at the end of the harvest. Never slowing down means never having to stop and take responsibility for our own homes, our own kids, our own selves - we're "too busy."
Why do we keep wanting more and more - more stuff, more busyness, more and bigger this and that? It's a compulsion; it's a devil that rides our shoulders and whips us ever onward in a perverted version of the Puritan work ethic. Work harder, work longer, work smarter, but work!
Until it begins to crumble around us and depression sets in.
Women, especially, are prone to depression and simple "blues," but they're not alone by a long shot. Men have their share of the struggle.
While some depression is "clinical" - that is, physically induced and needs to be controlled by medication, the every day variety of blues that many of us face can be controlled frugally by us, without the cost of a doctor's visit or prescription medicine.
What we eat has a huge part in how we feel. It's proven that some foods make us feel better and that's good to know, but good all around nutrition will do better in the long run. Quick fixes are possible though: Butter beans, chocolate and high carbohydrate foods make you feel better quickly. The explanation is too long for this article, but if you're interested, look here: Why some foods make you feel good...
Besides eating well, there are things - very frugal things - that will help you stay on an even keel.
Exercise is free. Walk, run, skip. Work in the garden, wash the windows, play ball with the kids. Physical exercise tires us in a good way, which relaxes us.
Choose your friends wisely. Choose to be around people who make you laugh. Choose to be around people who are interesting and uplifting.
Take time - real time - to rest. Sleep is a great healer, not only of physical stresses, but of mental ones. There's nothing wrong with sleeping. You don't have to get up early every day of your life and you can allow yourself the luxury of a nap. We've so programmed ourselves against even looking "lazy" (more of that misused Puritan ideal) that we are afraid to be caught dozing. Human beings need sleep.
If you pray, pray. Or meditate, or just take time for your own thoughts. A good fifteen minutes of focused time alone can be a life saver in a stress producing environment.
If overwork is stressing you, limit yourself to half hour bursts of activity. Use at least part of the first half hour to organize and list the chores that face you. Work as hard as you can for your half hour of time, but as soon as time is up, (use a timer!) stop and do something different for five minutes. Then go back and notice how much you accomplished in that half hour. The chances are that you'll impress yourself and be ready for the next round of activity.
Busyness is activity with little or no substantial result. Check yourself: Are you being busy to avoid something else? Being busy for the sake of being busy is unproductive, except in terms of running away from reality. Frugal bottom line: Examine your life and get rid of activity that's not in line with your life. (Needs, integrity and personal morality.)
Don't forget about recreation. Watching TV is NOT recreation. Doing something you really enjoy is. Crafting, reading, canoing or hang gliding - whatever rows your boat, find time for it. Even if it costs you a little money, it's more frugal than a visit to the doctor and a lifetime of prescription drugs.
Those are just a few things; I won't make a longer list because we know better. Getting back to the basics of life really is possible in this day and age and if it seems like you can't do it, maybe it's time to take a long look at your lifestyle and make some changes. Your quality of life depends on it, and it's not too late. As the saying goes, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life."
Make it a frugal success.