If you only have a few minutes to practice self-care, these are my favorite activities to squeeze into my day.
Morning or Evening Stretches: If you are pressed for time in the morning, get ready for bed just a few minutes earlier and do a few simple stretches before you get into bed. Pick a few body parts that are tight and try to loosen them. If you don’t know what stretches to do, do a quick Google search for stretches and the part of the body you want to work. You’ll find pictures or videos that will walk you through the stretches.
Practice Gratitude: We all forget how fortunate we are when we’re focused on our day-to-day struggles. I find I’m less stressed when I actually think about the good in my life. Focusing on the good helps you prioritize your stressors. As I always say, even on the worst days, I can be thankful that I woke up in the morning, there was food to eat and there is a roof over my head.
Meditate: If you haven’t given meditation or mindfulness a try, you really should consider it. It’s free and fast. I have been thinking about meditation off and on for years but it wasn’t until I read Russell Simmons’ book “Success Through Stillness” that I really tried harder to implement mindfulness and meditation into my life. While I don’t practice the way Simmons suggests, I have started making mindfulness a part of my self-care routine. I use the free app Calm and do a guided meditation for just a few minutes but I feel like it really makes a difference. I also purchased “A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook,” which came with a free CD that has several guided meditations for varying lengths of time.
Elevate Regular Experiences: If you are in a truly busy season and really have almost no time for self-care, try making everyday activities a bit more luxurious. For example, use really nice smelling products in the shower and spend an extra minute or two taking it in. You can also splurge on a really nice hand cream or moisturizer and take a few extra seconds massaging it in to your hands or face. I splurge on a really nice hand cream that I only use before bed. Since I only use it at night, it lasts forever, so it really isn’t much of a splurge after all.
Do Something You Enjoy: When we are extremely busy, we tend to stop having fun. We’re either “doing the work” or too exhausted for fun. The problem is, life gets really boring and sad when we are all work, no play. Even if you don’t have a lot of free time, try to squeeze in a little fun. I love reading and try to squeeze reading in instead of watching TV. What do you love? Can you find a way to squeeze it in?
Slow Down: I have started getting up an extra twenty minutes early so that I can fit in morning stretches and drink my coffee slowly while I work on my to do list. I used to gulp my coffee down while I was flying around getting everyone ready to start our day. I was exhausted by 9 a.m. Now that I get up early, everyone is less stressed out and I feel so much more in control of my day because I have slowed the pace of my morning.
Self-care is hugely important, especially if you are a busy person. While I’ve known this for a long time, I really never found a way to make it work for me until I started making it part of my daily routine. I essentially schedule certain self-care activities into my day.
Activities like my stretches, my morning coffee and elevating my regular routine are non-negotiables now. If I get those done, I’m good. On really great days, I add in a few other self-care activities like taking a walk or doing something I enjoy. How do you fit self-care into your life?