Super Quick Self-Care For When You Are Busy (And Need It The Most!)
I don’t know about you, but the first thing to fall of my to do list when I’m super busy is self-care. Of course, that’s when I need self-care the most! Self-care has become a popular buzz-word recently. Suddenly, everywhere we look, someone is telling us it is important to practice self-care.
But what makes self-care so important? For starters, self-care helps reduce your stress levels, which can help you ward off stress-related health problems such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression and gastrointestinal problems. Practicing self-care can also help you focus and prevent overload burnout. Clearly, self-care isn’t something you should regularly take off your to do list.
That being said, just because self-care is important doesn’t mean you magically have more time to focus on it. Never fear, I’m here to share my favorite self-care practices that take 10 minutes or less. Anyone can squeeze in 10 minutes for themselves – no matter how busy you are! Trust me, I know busy. I also know not having a minute to myself.
Up until recently, my four year old was falling asleep around 11 p.m., which meant I literally had zero awake moments that were just for me, outside my morning shower. I got creative and started including my boys in some of my self-care practices. It isn’t ideal, since I need alone time, but if I didn’t incorporate them, I didn’t get to practice self-care. One positive result is that my boys see how important it is to care for yourself – a lesson all adults need!
Super Quick Self-Care
If you only have a few minutes to practice self-care, these are my favorite activities to squeeze into my day.
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- Morning or Evening Stretches: For a while, I did this stretching routine at bedtime, mainly because I couldn’t wake up a second earlier than I already was. Now that my son goes to bed earlier, I’ve started doing these stretches in the morning. I feel like it helps me start my day off on the right foot and it only takes a few minutes out of my morning routine.
- Practice Gratitude: This is another self-care practice I do with my kids. We all forget how fortunate we really are when we’re focused on our day-to-day struggles so 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.
- Meditate: If you haven’t given meditation or mindfulness a try, you really should consider it. I have been thinking about it off and on for years but it wasn’t until I read Russell Simmons’ book “Success Through Stillness” that I really tried harder to focus. 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.
- 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. Practice mindfulness during your morning shower.
- Do Something You Enjoy: When we are extremely busy – especially if that busy comes from being parents – 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 Pinterest because I can poke around for a few minutes and read about things I enjoy. I also 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. I used to gulp it down while I was flying around getting everyone ready to start our day but now, I’ve set aside time to sit, drink my coffee slowly and work on my to do list for the day. 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 or have chronic health issues. 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?