You’ve been working hard. You’re tired. You have almost forgotten what a glass of water is and can’t remember the last time you ate a vegetable. We’ve all been there. It’s not great.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the ‘go go, go,’ lifestyle and never take a second to let yourself be. It’s time for some self-care, which can appear in a different form for everybody.
The term ‘self-care’ is typically associated with an image of someone in a bathtub surrounded by an unrealistic amount of bubbles and a muddy green face mask with cucumbers on their eyes. While this is totally luxurious and relaxing for some people, not everyone’s self-care will look like that.
It’s unfortunate how used to being busy and stressed we can get. Between work, social lives, and family, we often push taking care of ourselves to the waysides. With some simple awareness and steps to get back on track, doing a little at a time is just as important as doing that exfoliating face mask.
In this article, we are going to discuss some ideas to incorporate into a self-care routine. If they don’t get done every day, that’s totally fine. Taking steps to be mindful and care for yourself is the most important part. It’s important to remember that time for you is, in fact, necessary. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s selfish. It isn’t.
1) Drink Water
This cannot be stressed enough. Water is the first thing to fall to the wayside on a busy day, and it’s the thing you should be having the MOST of. Our bodies are 60 percent water, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need anymore! A great way to make sure you are hydrating throughout the day is to buy a reusable bottle to take with you everywhere.
Being dehydrated can make you lethargic, draining you during the day. Try having water before your coffee or tea in the morning. When you’re having that midday latte, be sure to have some water, too!
You should definitely notice a difference. For easy ways to incorporate self-care, making sure you get your water is an excellent place to start. No, that sparkling water does not count. You’re going to need some pure h20 to get this self-care train moving.
Sleep is another thing that we tend to neglect when we’re busy. The suggested amount of sleep for adults is 8 hours, but most of the time, this is thrown to the wayside.
Some people can function on as little as four hours of sleep, so why bother with the whole thing? Well, getting accustomed to a lack of sleep is surprisingly NOT GOOD.
While we are spending the day chugging caffeine and running around, by the time we get home, most of us are probably still pretty wound up. In order to get a good night’s rest, try taking some time to wind down before bed. Screen breaks, reading a physical book, maybe some yoga could do the trick. It is so important not to fall behind on rest, and sleep is an essential part of self-care.
Let’s take it back to the bathtub and face mask image for a moment. It doesn’t always need to be a luxurious bath situation, but hygiene is another important part of self-care. Not allowing yourself adequate time for hygiene can affect your health and your self-esteem. If you have the time to take a bath, great. Do it! If not, just make sure you take some time to clean yourself. It makes a huge difference.
If you’ve got the time, grab that bath bomb and face mask. It might sound silly, but baths are excellent for your joints and mental health. Baths can also be another good screen break moment to catch up with a good book or journal.
It’s easy to think that running up and down the stairs and being on the move all day counts as exercise. For most people, this is the easiest routine to fall off the wagon. Taking the time out of your day for yourself to work out is a huge act of self-care. There are so many ways to do this and give your body some love.
If you are strapped for time, a walk around the block will do. Getting your body moving can help with blood flow, and getting away from a screen for work for a bit is a great way to clear your head. Go grab a coffee or take a walk for no reason! Get those legs moving.
Stretching and yoga can be done quickly if you’re low on time, as well. Stretching is great if you are sitting all day, both for your body and for relieving stress. Yoga is easy to fit into a busy schedule and can be as long or as short of an activity you want. The fact that you are taking the time to do this, no matter how long, is self-care itself. There are plenty of yoga videos on YouTube to help you get started with this in all sorts of time frames and styles.
5) Do Absolutely Nothing
This is probably one of the hardest acts of self-care. Do nothing? How scary! We promise you it isn’t. With the way we live now, it’s hard to take a moment to put down the cell phone or laptop and do nothing. Don’t even open a book. Take a moment of silence. Meditate, or look up at the sky. It’ll take some time not to feel any guilt doing nothing, but you will not regret it.
Meditation is an excellent way to relieve stress and thus continue your self-care journey. Breathing exercises can reduce stress and clear your head. This practice also promotes self-awareness, which will help you work on what self-care items should be on the top of your list.
7) Get a Plant
So maybe there’s no space in your life for a pet. Having something to take care of and improve your ambiance around the house is another way to practice self-care. Head down to the shop and pick up a plant. There is nothing quite like seeing new growth sprout on something that you, yes you, are keeping alive!
Start with an easy plant, which you can find a list of here. Most of these plants will thrive on neglect, so if you do forget about them, they will still love you.
8) Saying No
Socializing is an important part of life, but it’s important to let yourself have alone time. When we are busy with life, it’s easy to get accustomed to filling every empty minute with activity. Oh, it’s Friday night? You HAVE to be out and about, right? Absolutely not. Normalize telling people no when you want to stay in. The FOMO may loom over you, but most of the time, you will definitely not regret staying in and taking time for yourself.
Order some of your favorite takeout and chill out. Watch a movie, read, take that bath we keep talking about. Whatever you want! Spending all of our free time socializing can lead to burnout, and we need alone time even if we are programmed to think we don’t. Taking time for yourself is also very important for self-care.
9) Healthy Diet
Remember that vegetable from earlier? A healthy diet is another important part of self-care. Being super busy usually means take out every night and power bars for breakfast. Fast food can catch up to you and cause you to be more lethargic. Taking the time to cook for yourself can be therapeutic and another form of self-care. It’s time for yourself to be away from the daily grind and make yourself something delicious and nutritious.
Another way to take care of your diet is to meal plan. Making meals for the week can keep you from stressing about what to eat and where while you are busy during the day. Self-care is about loving your body and putting good stuff in there.
10) Incorporating Self-Care
Making the time to add in steps for a self-care routine might seem difficult. The most important part of doing it is taking the time! Start by setting aside a little time each day, or one activity for each day. If you are working on improving sleep, maybe focus on only that for a week. You won’t become the epitome of a self-care guru overnight, so take it slow.
Do what is most enjoyable to you. You want your free time to be well spent, so don’t force it if an idea doesn’t work. Not everybody is going to be a yogi or a bookworm. Make goals for yourself, and don’t put pressure on it. Getting in a routine will come with time, and once you start to find what you like, it’ll be easy to fit into your day. Good luck with your self-care journey. Remember, it starts with small steps.