Balancing a busy schedule can be stressful, especially if there’s no time to relax and decompress. While burying yourself in work may seem normal, it can lead to burnout and unfulfillment. That’s why self care should be an important part of your daily routine, no matter how busy you are. Practicing self care doesn’t need to be time consuming or expensive, and there are simple ways to incorporate it into your daily routine. Here are a few ways to start.
An important part of self care is focusing on your needs, which means setting personal boundaries so you don’t overextend yourself. While work and other professional obligations are mandatory, what additional tasks take up your time? Are there unnecessary duties you can eliminate from your schedule? The answer is probably yes.
Although you might want to do everything, learn how to say no to certain social events, favors, and commitments. Think about your personal needs and what will make you feel best. Determine if these extra tasks will benefit you or give you satisfaction, and if not, kindly decline them to make more time for yourself. Setting social boundaries will free up your busy schedule and allow you to be more present for the events that really matter.
Something as simple as reducing the clutter around your home can do wonders for your mental health. The state of your home can reflect how you feel, so if your home or workspace is unorganized, you might feel the same way. Although your home might be messy because you’re too busy, getting organized doesn’t doesn’t need to be a huge hassle.
Organizing your space might mean making your bed each morning, putting away laundry, or simply picking up trash around the house. Tidying up your home a little bit each day can make the stress and clutter in your life seem more manageable and create a positive tone for the day. The visual representation of organization and cleanliness can also make you feel more accomplished and relieve additional stress.
Along with physically cleaning your space, organizing your thoughts can also be an effective way to destress and practice self care. Throughout the day, try to mentally check in with yourself to assess how you’re feeling. If you feel tired or burnt out, it’s probably time to take a break and decompress. Another way to organize your thoughts is to start journaling. Writing down your feelings, both positive and negative, can put things into perspective and allow you to self-reflect.
Exercise is known for reducing stress and boosting your mood which is why it’s one of the best ways to practice self care. Working out can also give you more energy, meaning it can help you be more productive with your busy schedule.
Although working out may seem time consuming, there are easy ways to incorporate physical activity into your schedule. Even if you only have 30 minutes to spare each day, you can take a quick walk to clear your mind and stretch your legs. However, if you prefer more traditional workouts, try going to fitness classes or doing home workouts.
Luckily, there are more ways than ever to stay active from home, and home workouts are much easier to incorporate into a hectic schedule since there’s no commute. If you don’t have a workout space, consider creating a home gym so you can choose what machines, weights, and equipment work best for your needs. Building a custom workout space also allows you to create a meditation or yoga area and include any other features that’ll help you make the most of your self care time. While this may seem like a large project, this space is an investment in you, your health, and your home. If you’re not sure where to start, research ways to utilize your home’s equity for financial assistance and examine areas of your home to renovate. Home equity loans are especially helpful for this type of upgrade as you can deduct the interest when used for home improvements and can use the money however you want.
Most people think they don’t have enough time for self care, but you just need to make time for it as you would any other priority in your life. Dedicate time for yourself each week and make it a commitment. Treat your self care time as you would a meeting or appointment and schedule it into your calendar to keep you organized and accountable.
Even if you only have 15 – 30 minutes each day, start there and work your way up. Remember, it’s better to practice self care everyday in short amounts rather than once in a while for an extended period of time. Doing something special for yourself frequently will help make self care a habit, similar to brushing your teeth each morning. Adding this time in gradually will also prevent your self care from feeling like a chore or another stressful task on your to-do list. Once you get used to doing this regularly, you can start including more time into your schedule.
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.