How to Carve Out Time for Self-Care
This blog has not been approved by your local health department and is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment, or medical advice.
In the middle of a busy day, it can be difficult to make time to care for yourself. By making an intentional self-care plan, you can create opportunities to relax, rejuvenate, and feel better.
Creating Time and Space for Self-Care
Many people feel like they are constantly in motion. There is always another looming deadline or an upcoming appointment. When every day feels like an endless crush of tasks and meetings, it can be difficult to find a time and place to take a breath and relax, and to re-center yourself. No matter how busy you are, finding the time for self-care can help to prevent a meltdown and keep you going until you can truly rest. Use these tips to make sure you're taking the time you need for yourself.
Prioritizing Your Self-Care
When you don't take care of yourself, it can become a strain on both your physical and mental health. Uncontrolled stress (and rising cortisol levels) can been linked to chronic physical diseases, depression, and anxiety. When you feel depleted and empty because you’ve been going and giving non-stop, you end up with nothing left for yourself. So self-care is not optional; it is something that every person needs to be well.
Prioritizing your self-care just means putting yourself first. While it sounds simple in theory, many of us struggle to do this because it feels selfish when there are a million other things that need our attention, like work, family, friendships, pets, chores, etc., the list goes on and on. One thing to remember is that self-care is not selfish, even if they start with the same four letters. There is no shame at all in taking time to recharge yourself so you can keep giving and contributing at your fullest potential.
Making Time for Self-Care
So if the priority is finding time to take care of yourself, how do you actually do it? It is easy to claim that you simply don’t have the time and just decide to forego it. But, if that happens, then it’s a clear indicator that you do absolutely need to make the time, some way and somehow.
Once that realization hits, it can give you the motivation to make an intentional plan. You will have to make a conscious choice to open up space in your schedule or to-do list. Find a few minutes in your calendar and don’t be afraid to book that time for yourself. It can be as little as 5 minutes or perhaps 30 minutes or more if you can manage it. You also have to make choices about when to say yes or no to a new obligation that pops up out of nowhere.
In those few minutes, you can choose to do a few things. A simple deep breathing exercise might only require seconds of your day. Take a deep, slow breath in while you count to five. Let your lungs fill completely and then empty them as much as you can while counting to five again. Repeat 3 to 5 times. If you have more time, you can try some light stretches, or even a walk around the block. Pair a few self-care ideas together to really help yourself feel more grounded.
Other self-care tips revolve around forming daily habits or rituals. Some people find that starting their day with 10-20 minutes of mindfulness meditation prepares them for the challenges ahead. Others incorporate daily hair care and beauty routines to begin the day feeling their best. For some, focusing on an activity they love for half an hour every day is an important habit. It might be a workout class, a warm bath with a relaxing body scrub, or an episode of a favorite show, but those 30 minutes can be a strong motivation during stressful moments.
Creating Space for Self-Care
It can be helpful to create physical cues that remind you to slow down. If you have a spare room, let it be your personal retreat area. Even a carefully designed corner of a room can be enough space for a self-care getaway. When you enter that space, mindfully drop the worries of the day, leaving them at the door.
This is not a space for bills, permission slips, or shopping lists. Instead, surround yourself with sights and sounds that give you joy. Rubbing your hands with a pleasantly scented hand lotion can also help give you a sense of calm while providing some aromatherapy. If there’s space, lie down with a calming sheet mask and zone out for 15 minutes. A few minutes in your sacred self-care area will boost your energy and leave you feeling inspired.
Self-Care Because You Deserve It
Let us reiterate: Making time for self-care is not selfish. You don’t have to apologize for taking some “me time.” Everyone needs methods of coping with stress, unwinding and listening to your body, and it’s up to you to figure out the correct combination of things that will recharge your batteries. Self-care is a necessary way of coping with daily life and will help you be the best version of yourself, so don’t be afraid to make time in your day for it.