Fitting self-care into a busy schedule
Most of us lead busy lives looking after family, building careers and forging relationships, yet the one thing we don’t seem to have enough time for is ourselves. There’s a lot of pressure on women in particular –many combine roles as daughters, mothers, wives and professionals, and together that can make finding the space to relax feel challenging at best. When a spare moment arises we can more inclined to catch up on errands instead of enjoying the time to unwind.
Self-care includes any means of looking after your physical, mental and emotional health. It’s the continual repetition of many little habits that help to provide balance in an increasingly over-stimulating world. If we don’t take care of ourselves first, it’s difficult to be there for those around us. And some health professionals recommend practising self-care to stop us burning out.
Here’s our top five tips developing a regular self-care practice.
1. Make yourself a priority
It’s important to remember that self-care is essential to your wellbeing. A lack of downtime can lead to feeling overwhelmed, tired and unfocussed, but after some time to switch off, you’ll likely feel clearer and more able to dedicate your full attention to the tasks at hand.
2. Schedule in me time
Treat your downtime like any other appointment and schedule it into your calendar. Spend a few minutes at the beginning of each week designating specific slots for looking after yourself.
3. Know when to say no
Sometimes it’s worth saying no to the non-essential tasks that come up. Eliminating these can create some extra time for yourself, and alleviate the pressure you may feel to tick everything off.
And also when to say yes!
Learn to accept help from family, friends and the wider community when it’s offered. You don’t have to take everything on alone, and a little assistance here and there will help lighten the load.
4. Stay present
We live in a multi-tasking society and often spend time thinking about what we have to do next, when we could focussing on finding joy in the present. Practising mindfulness is a good way to avoid getting caught up in your thoughts and dividing your energy between too many things.
5. Limit your media consumption
Evaluate the activities that regularly waste your time. It’s easy to spend hours clearing emails, answering phone calls and checking social media, which can be disruptive. Commit to checking these things at a specific time once or twice daily, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish when you’re free of distractions.
You don’t always need a lot of time for self-care. Here’s some ideas to help you feel re-energised in as little as five minutes.
- Sit outside with your morning coffee and watch the world go by. No phones allowed!
- Take five minutes to focus on breathing deeply. It’s okay if your mind wanders, but try to bring it back to following each inhalation and exhalation.
- Call a friend to chat.
- Pay complete attention to something you normally do on auto pilot. It could be as simple as brushing your teeth, eating a meal or driving to work.
- Take a few minutes to get up and stretch or walk around the block. It’s a great way to take a quick break from screen time at the office.
- Buy a good book and read one chapter each day to help you wind down.
- Find a nearby park or waterfront space and go for a walk.
- Have a relaxing evening soak in the bath. Essential oils and a couple of candles would be a treat, too.
- Plan a weekend activity to look forward to with a friend. Whether it be a meal out, a trip to the local farmers’ market or a morning stroll.
- Enjoy some pamper time at home and give yourself a manicure or facial.
- Bring out your creative side and take on a DIY craft project.
- Experiment in the kitchen with a new recipe you’ve been wanting to try.
Self-care is an individual practice and there’s no set way to do it. If you have any suggestions to add, please feel free to leave us a comment below.