Life can be stressful and leave us with no time for rest or simple pleasures. Taking care of yourself is important in our daily lives, especially during times of stress. Practicing self-care helps to build our relationship with ourselves and others around us while keeping us motivated, focused and healthy. Luckily there are ways that we can incorporate self-care activities into our lives, even on the busiest days. Here are 10 simple ways that you can incorporate self-care into your busy routine.
1. Wake up a little earlier
Self-care doesn’t always have to happen at the end of the day once we feel, wound up and tired. Actually, leaving your self-care intentions until the end of the day can mean they’ll get omitted or forgotten altogether. Waking up just 15 minutes earlier can give you a window of peace and a chance for self-reflection and setting intentions. You can use the extra time for a number of activities that prove to be the most beneficial for you including some morning yoga or stretching, journaling, meditation and mindfulness practice or goal setting.
2. Block out 20 minutes on your calendar for you
Another way to be sure to allow some time for wellness during a long or stressful day is to simply just schedule in 20 minutes for you. Get out your calendar and actively schedule in that 20 minutes at any part of the day that works best and plan how you will fill that time. Does your body feel stiff from sitting at a desk all day? Take that 20 minutes for a workout or stretch. Is your mind overloaded from way too many problematic emails? Fill the 20 minutes with some deep breathing and meditation. By having that planned 20 minutes in your calendar you’re more likely to take that time for you.
3. Use your lunch break
A lunch hour is a great way of getting in self-care activities. If you’re seriously limited with time before and after work taking some time in your lunch break might be an option. Spend this time doing something that’s easily doable in an hour. Focus on ways you can relax and focus on your wellness. Why not go to the gym for a workout, swim or sauna session or even treat yourself to a massage! Alternatively, treat your body to a nutritionally dense lunch and a short walk in a nearby park.
4. Meditate or stretch for just 5 minutes
There are some days that are just overloaded and there isn’t time to head to the gym or practice yoga for an hour. If that’s the case then try to take just five minutes to meditate and/or stretch at the end of the day. Mediation can do wonders for calming the mind after a stressful day. And stretching is so freeing especially if you’ve been curled over a desk all day.
5. Have a meaningful encounter
Human connection is vital to our existence and our well-being. It’s truly amazing how much better, centered and light we can feel after a deep, meaningful conversation with a partner or a long laugh with a friend. That meaningful encounter with another human being whether it’s face to face or even—given current circumstances—over the phone can give us the self-care that our souls genuinely need. Take 30 minutes out of your day to really connect with someone you care about. Call a relative and update them on your life, have a deep yet uplifting conversation with a friend or have a laugh with your partner, friend or child.
6. Turn off your device
Turning off your device for one hour before bed can open up some time for wellness and self-care activities in the evening. Not only can it promote better sleep through the absence of melatonin-blocking blue light in the system right before bedtime but turning off your device also means eliminating the distraction. Instead of spending that valuable time on social media, you can use this time right before bed for journaling, sleep-inducing yoga sequences, reading a book or speaking to a partner.
7 . Get enough sleep
Perhaps it’s only recently that we are starting to learn about the true importance of sleep when it comes to self-care. Studies prove that a lack of sleep can affect our cognitive abilities, working memory, mood and productivity. Enough shut-eye can really make a difference in how you feel and how you are able to work every day. Experts recommend at least 7 hours of sleep a night.
8. Prioritize eating healthy foods
Simply swapping out fast food for healthy, natural and nutrient-dense food is an act of self-care in itself. Even if you don’t have much time in your day for other self-care activities, make sure you seek out nutritious foods in order to fuel your body throughout the day. Aim for plant-heavy meals which include a whole-grain carbohydrate and protein.
9. Drink enough water
Being optimally hydrated is essential for your body to work at its best. A lack of fluids can leave you feeling irritable, tired, having dry skin and with increased hunger.. Making sure you’re hydrated is one of the most important self-care activities. Staying hydrated takes little effort and doesn’t use up extra time.
10. Assign 5 minutes a day for journaling
Journaling can help you establish and track your goals, but these are not the only benefits. It is also a blessing when it comes to self-care and mental health. Journaling your thoughts, concerns, fears and goals every day can help you identify thought patterns of anxiety and stress. This activity can help you get to the root cause of your concerns, and allow you to make the necessary changes. Allotting just 5 minutes of journaling a day can give you a daily moment of positive self-talk and self-connection.