HOW TO PRACTICE SELF-CARE WHEN YOU'RE BUSY.
Self-care has become a trend during these uncertain and trying times. There are many ads and influencers on social media platforms that can attest to this. While this is great news, I hear a lot of busy people say they simply don't have time to do it. They are just too exhausted by the end of the day to squeeze it into their schedules.
This is why I’m excited to share this post with you because it is the first of its type I’ve ever written. I rounded up the experts, who took time out of their busy lives to impart their wisdom and knowledge, to answer one question for my dear readers:
What are some simple, self-care tips you'd give to busy people so they feel more balance in their life?
I was blown away by all the responses I received and now I get to share them with you. Before I "show and tell" all the experts and bloggers, I wanted to give a little background on my own self-care journey and why it's important.
WHAT SELF-CARE IS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT.
People tell me that their biggest roadblock to self-care is lack of time. I was certainly one of those people because as a working mother, I was too busy and tired for it and even felt a little mom guilt.
Since there was nothing physically wrong with me, I thought I could carry on with this busy lifestyle I created without consequences. Little did I know then, I was trading my well-being for a lifestyle what was unsustainable for a busy mom.
I thought self-care was just a luxury I couldn’t afford. Taking time to care for myself meant taking time from work, losing income, and possibly disappointing my family. It wasn’t until I suffered from multiple health challenges that I realized the importance of self-care.
Over time, I turned something that was once a rare occurrence into a daily routine. I discovered that even a little self-care each day could make a huge difference in how I felt.
I also found that self-care is not just about DIY hacks and face masks, it's about investing in yourself in a way that is nurturing to the mind, body, and spirit. It's making deposits each day, even tiny ones, into your wellness bank that will only grow and flourish over time.
If you’re struggling right now to find some time to care for yourself, go ahead and read on for some inspiration and motivation.
SELF-CARE TIPS FOR BUSY PEOPLE, FROM 10 SELF-CARE EXPERTS AND BLOGGERS.
As many of us know there is no quick fix to feeling more balanced when juggling multiple tasks, jobs, children, families, and life. What I do know is that the best self-care tip I can provide is to be intentional about our commitment to self-care. It's important to intentionally take 10-20 minutes for yourself, whether that be reading, yoga, going for a run, sitting in silence, singing your favorite songs at the top of your lungs, etc. it's always a choice, like many others, to either allow ourselves to be consumed by our responsibilities or to prioritize our lives in a way that we leave time for self-care. Prioritizing self-care definitely aids in minimizing stress and frustration, and will ultimately allow us to rededicate ourselves to our obligations, in a way that we operate out of love and passion and not out of obligation.
My favourite self-care tip to add more balance to your busy life is to simplify - anything and everything you can!
One of the biggest ways I've been able to add more balance into my life is by simplifying, both my home and my schedule.
Starting in your home, it's important to remember that everything you own not only takes up some of your space, but also takes up some of your time. You have to clean, clean around, look for, organize, take care of, reorganize, etc. every single item that finds its way into your home.
It may not seem like much time when you think of each individual item. But add up the time EVERYTHING you own requires from you, and it can be a lot!
Start by removing the clutter - the things you don't truly use, need or love - to start freeing up time and energy. Less stuff in your home means less stuff to take care of and manage. Not only giving you more time and energy, but also helps reduce a significant source of stress in your life.
After simplifying your home (or at least starting the decluttering process), apply the same ideas to your schedule as well. Look at what currently fills your time, and look for the clutter - the things that are taking your time and energy, but not adding enough value to your life in return.
Are there activities, commitments, obligations, etc. that you can let go of? This will likely be a gradual process. But starting to be more mindful of where and how you're committing your time, then making sure how you use your time aligns with your priorities is a great place to start.
Next, look for things you do on a regular basis that could be streamlined or simplified? Could you start establishing some regular routines or rhythms that would help your days feel like they run smoothly, instead of always feeling like you're playing catch up or one step behind?
For example, we all have to do laundry. If you're constantly facing a mountain of laundry and always feel behind, could you find a better laundry rhythm to simplify getting the laundry done?
I do one load of laundry every day. The loads are relatively small, and never feel like a huge task to wash, dry, fold and put away. If I let the laundry pile up for the week, it feels like a much bigger chore that takes more time and frustrates me.
Look at the parts of your day that feel like pain points. Can you simplify or stream line them with a new system, rhythm, routine or just cutting them out altogether?
When it comes to both your home and your schedule, simplify, get rid of the clutter & give yourself more time, space and energy for what matters most! To me, simplifying is one of the best self-care practices I’ve done!
Lifetime in flux
Being busy can be overwhelming because busy people carry a lot of weight on their shoulders. Sometime taking a step back and taking care of yourself is all you need to do. Some key steps for self-care as a busy person so you can feel more balance in their life:
- Create a morning routine for self-care - refer to my morning routine post for steps.
- Reward yourself - give yourself personal reward when necessary, especially after you do great work on something you’ve been working on. Make sure your not overexerting yourself when it comes to your budget.
- Get plenty of sleep - Making sure you get plenty of sleep is so important because you will need it, so make sure you get at at least 8 hours sleep.
- Schedule days off - add a day off to your calendar, this is where you don’t schedule any work for yourself. Its very good to disconnect at times and take time for you to relax.
- Use positive self talk - speaking positive to yourself is so important. Pay close attention to what you're saying to yourself. Avoid speaking negative things to yourself; you may make silly mistakes but I tell you one things you are not stupid or silly.
Related post - 82 ideas for self-care that you will love
An important self-care tip I have for others is getting in touch with the breath. We run busy lives and very often, we neglect taking a pause. Our minds are cluttered with doing “this” and “that”. Or thoughts that are about our worries. If we are not mindful, we can go out of balance. From an internal state, it affects every area of our lives.
I suggest taking a break every now and then, so that we can check in on ourselves. Checking in, we center ourselves through our breath, and let awareness sit in the present moment. In this moment, we allow tension to ease and connect with the grounding moment of now. Thus, even though it appears that there is chaos, we give ourselves the permission to experience calm.
Self-care is rooted in the importance of loving ourselves fully and unconditionally. We are present to ourselves and we restore balance through our breath. It is fundamental to our entire well-being; in the mind, body and spirit.
When you have a busy, full life, there is always great potential to ignore self care. Everyone and everything gets the “best of you” because they demand you time! So here are my top 3 tips for maintaining self care with a busy schedule:
Tip #1: Control your Calendar
One of the best ways to make sure that you are taking care of yourself is to control your calendar! By scheduling time for yourself the same way that you schedule appointments, you can keep your priorities in check. Make a list of things that you "need to do" and a list of things that you “want" to do. Then structure your calendar in a way that allows you to accomplish your "busy life” tasks but still allows you to do things for yourself. This looks differently for everyone so tailor it to your own wants and needs!
Tip #2: Stress Management
It is very difficult to manage healthy self care habits like restful sleep, proper nutrition, and exercise when you are mentally, emotionally, and physically drained. And as we age, stress really damages our hormones and puts us at a higher risk for things like weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even dementia! So by performing simple stress management techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and removing toxic people and environments from our life, we have time and energy for things that matter most to us.
Tip #3: Focus on the Basics
The bottom line is this: “When you don’t feel good, you don’t do good.” If you have a busy life, you need to be at your best. And simple things like sleeping 7-9 hours each night, hydrating our bodies with water, and choosing foods that provide energy and nutrients really have an impact on the way that we feel. Self care means nourishing your mind, body, and emotional needs so that you can continue to give to others.
For me, I’m one of those busy people (haha) but what I like to do is daily journaling and skin-care.
I’ve been doing daily journaling for about 2 years now and it really helped me with my life. I use to have all these negative and cluttered thoughts and it would overwhelm me mentally until I started this. You can do this before bedtime and it’ll only take like 2-4 minutes of your time! Just fill up 1-2 pages and your mind is free!
For the skin-care, it’s so refreshing! My trick? Foaming cleanser before you hop in the shower. That’s it! Save time, save water! If you want to take it up a notch, apply a moisturising cream before bed after brushing your teeth.
It’s my understanding that some folks believe self-care is an all-day event. They only associate self-care with activities like spa days, mani/pedi, facials, etc. While those are self-care activities, self-care is extended to so many other avenues. My definition of self-care is, any act or behavior that make you feel good about yourself. It looks different for everyone and it can be internal or external. My mother is a full-time Nurse in a her late 50s who’s working on her Bachelors and has every intention of going back for her Masters. She inspired me to create what I’m calling Self-care On The Go. It’s specifically designed for Moms and other working Women. It’s designed for convenience. The woman on the go may not always have time for Yoga but maybe she can do breathing exercises while at her computer or, while fixing meals for her family. Self-care On The Go are simply condensed versions (3-5 options) of the weekly self-care challenges I post on Sundays, but they are created in infographic format. These challenges are tailored to women who may not have time to engage in self-care seven consecutive days in a row. Additionally, I made sure to include options that are feasible. As mentioned previously, breathing exercises in place of Yoga or, listening to a motivational Podcast in place of sitting down to read a book. These are self-care habits that you can do anywhere; in the car, in the shower, while cooking, etc
The reason for creating them as an infographic is, they can be saved on your phone which eliminates the need to log into the blog and scroll through the content to get the information you need. You have to grab your opportunities when you can. You have to find pleasure in small wins. When you have a moment to yourself don’t use that time to complain about the kids or work, use it constructively because those little moments you get to yourself are like found gems. That is your self-care opportunity. Some other potential options are; repeating affirmations, or doing a face mask. Take a nap if you have enough time. Get an adult coloring book and color with the kids or do arts and crafts with them. Don’t forget to ask for help if you need it, and say no when you can. “No” is a form of self-care because it sets healthy boundaries. If you find pleasure in making dinner for your family focus on the feeling that you get from doing that. These are all self-care tips. The goal here is to put more energy into what makes you feel good (self-care) and less energy into what you can’t control (often times, the things we complain about). That is self-care.
Each Sunday I post a new set of a Self-Care on the Go options on my blog selfcareatforty.com
Bio: I have a long history with mental illness. Overcoming depression made me realize my own resilience. It also made it clear that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I believe that in order for us to fully engage with ourselves and others we have to make time for self-love through our self-care habits. My goal with my blog is to encourage women in my age group to make time for self-care daily. Selfcareatforty is a self-care blog open to everyone. But is specifically aimed at women of color in their forties interested in engaging, in self-love through self-care. I want your goal to be; carving out time for self-care even if it only takes a few minutes each day. I want you to be mindful of your small acts of self-care by realizing that small wins should be celebrated too.
Prep for the stressful, busy times, by making a list of the things that nourish you before you need them. Remove the requirement to choose or make decisions when you’re under pressure, so all you have to do when you notice you’re running low on energy - physical, emotional, mental - is pick something from your list and do it. Your list needs to be personal to you - everyone is different, and what works as self-care for one person might not work for you, so while the basics of sleep, healthy food, movement and connection time with others are likely to be suitable and helpful in some way to everyone, what that time looks like is up to you to decide. There are then likely to be plenty of other things that refill your energy - but don’t make the list *too* long, or the effort of deciding which to do might put you off in the moment. A list of ten core activities, that take different lengths of time is probably sufficient. Make sure you have all the tools you might need to do those self-care activities close by. You can even make a self-care ‘go bag’ so that everything is in one place.
Bio: Ellen Bard is a work psychologist, writer and digital nomad. Her 20 years’ consulting experience help her bring practical, useful and fun development suggestions and personal improvement ideas to those who are long on interest and short on time. She’s the author of ‘This Is For You: A Creative Toolkit for Better Self-Care’, [http://ellenbard.com/this-is-for-you].
In respect of self-care, we have to put
in our view the realm of body, mind and
spirit. Self-care involves practices
that help us to boost our well-being,
keep down stress and connect to the
greater part of ourselves.
Let's explore the following ideas.
1. Engage In A Simple Excercise Routine
It has been shown that engaging in a
daily exercise routine reduces the
production of stress hormones in our
body. Here, a low impact exercise like
walking is okay. So, walk down the
stairs instead of taking the elevator.
2. Do Belly Breathing
Taking in air through the mouth or nose
and expanding our belly, not lifting our
hearts, and then exhaling gently, often
has a calming effect. This effect comes
from the fact that when our belly swells
up, our diaphragm expands, activating
our parasympathetic response, which
minimises our stress response. This does
not require you to strike a yoga pose.
You can do it any time.
3. Take Time To Groom Yourself
With this, you affirm your value. In
consequence, you lift your self-image
4. Meditate,Pray,Or Say An Affirmation
These are all ways of connecting with
something bigger, and drawing strength
to ourselves. Studies show that those
who build relationships with greater
aspects of their being tend to be more
resilient, and perform better at tasks.
5. Practice non-profit Acts
Volunteering, altruistic living, acts of
kindness, boosts our sense of well-being
and fulfillment, and also impacts
positively on our stress response.
6. Watch A Funny Movie
Researchers have demonstrated that
laughter reduces the production of
All in view, self-care warrants good
- Turn off your phone and don't look at digital screens for two days (or more).
- Look at the sky.
- Pet your dog.
- Read an actual book. You will feel reborn.
There you have it. Practical self-care tips and resources from 10 experts and bloggers to try out for yourself. I hope you found them inspiring like I did. Take good care and please let me know what you think in the comments below!