Self care can be anything you do to care for yourself, whether it’s your mental, emotional, or physical health. It’s easy to overlook, and even easier to push aside, thinking you don’t have time to prioritize yourself.
But the fact is, without self care, everything falls apart. You’re not being selfish when you take care of yourself — you’re prioritizing what’s important: your mental, emotional, and physical health.
You might think of self care as a grand gesture that’s just too lofty to do on a regular basis. Whether it’s an hour long yoga class or a trip out of town, you might be thinking too big while neglecting your ability to do small self care steps in your daily routine. These are some of the ways you can squeeze in self care and make yourself feel more healthy and balanced.
Say no. One way to find time to fit more self care into your day is to cut back on the things you don’t really need or want to do. Unnecessary commitments can drain your energy and take away from the time you have to take care of yourself. Think about what’s important and don’t hesitate to tell others you can’t take something on.
Wake up early. Waking up to something you look forward to doing can help you find motivation to get out of bed. Whether it’s reading a book, squeezing in some exercise, stepping outside for a cup of coffee, or just taking a few minutes for a nice stretch, giving yourself quiet time in the morning can help set the tone for a better day.
Add self care to your calendar. You have to schedule what’s important first, then let everything else fit in where there’s room — not the other way around.
Plan meals and snacks. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of the day and forget to eat healthy. You don’t need an elaborate meal plan, just a general idea and availability for healthy food. If you need to pack a lunch and snacks to make sure you eat healthy throughout the day, plan ahead so you can pack it in the morning or the night before. Even placing a scheduled delivery order is a great way to make sure you’ll have something good to eat at the right time.
Decompress throughout the day. You might have time to shake off stress at the end of the day, but don’t wait until then. Stress happens all day, so stop and take a minute to take care of yourself throughout the day. Stretch, walk, take deep breaths, or grab a drink of water for a quick reset.
Set a timer to call or text friends and family for a few minutes. You don’t need to spend all day on your phone, but it helps to take a few minutes to chat with people that help fill your cup emotionally. Just a quick touch base or a few minutes to share updates or anything that’s on your mind can help you feel more fulfilled and focused.
Find time for exercise, even if it’s just a little bit. Physical activity is one of the most important forms of self care. You might not have time for a big gym trip, but just about anyone can take 10 minutes to do a workout at home. Find a way to be active each day. Download an app, go for a run around the block, or just do a dance party in your living room.
Make sleep a top priority. Everyone needs sleep to function. While some people may wear a lack of sleep like a badge of honor, it’s not healthy. You need seven to nine hours of sleep each night for your health, both physical and mental. Give yourself time to sleep, and improve the quality of your sleep with healthy sleep habits and a healthy sleep environment that’s dark and quiet.
Self care can sometimes be a challenge, but make it a goal to give yourself at least 15 minutes to focus just on your needs each day. Taking the time for self care can help support your overall well being and make it easier for you to manage the demands of every day.
About the Author
Susan Austin is a family research specialist with Family Living Today. A mother of three and small business owner in Texas, Austin spends her days juggling work and family life — sometimes expertly, sometimes not.