Here are 9 easy ways to add self-care to your daily life while still allowing you to get things done. You might find that taking better care of yourself makes taking care of everyone and everything else easier as well.
1. Prioritize healthy eating
Although we sometimes seek out unhealthy “treats” when we’re stressed out or tired, most of us feel better and operate at peak efficiency when we’re eating a healthy diet.
Plan ahead for meals and snacks on the go that keep you on track. Explore a food delivery service such as Daily Harvest and its ilk for fruit and vegetable-focused smoothies, meals, and snacks that are easy to pack and take with you.
2. Build physical activity into your routine
If you don’t have time to hit the gym, make physical activity part of your everyday life. Park at the other end of the parking lot from your destination. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a walk instead of vegging out in front of the TV.
Making time to move is not only a stress-buster — but it helps get you out of your head and into your body so that you feel more grounded and centered.
3. Find a confidante
Everyone needs someone to talk to, vent to and confide in. If you don’t have anyone in your life who plays that role, it might be a good idea to connect with a counselor who can give you a nonjudgmental, risk-free sounding board. Holding everything in isn’t just bad for you; it stops you from taking advantage of the benefits of communicating and thinking through problems aloud.
4. Add moments of relaxation
So you don’t feel that you have time for self-care. Fortunately, you don’t need an hour of meditating and relaxation to enjoy many of its benefits. Indulge in some quick aromatherapy with essential oils added to your skincare routine or put into a diffuser in the office.
Close your eyes and take a 30-second break to clear your mind between zoom calls. Brief moments of relaxation and intention can help you feel less hurried and stressed throughout the day.
5. Seek out beauty
When we’re overwhelmed, we tend to focus on things that increase our negative emotional state. Break the cycle by looking for beauty around you. Go out of your way to drive a more picturesque route to your next commute. Stop and smell the roses as you go about your business to add more beauty to your day — and your life.
6. Manage your media
Trade stressful political or news-oriented podcasts and radio shows for music that makes you feel great. Curate your social media so that you see more positive, uplifting content. Avoid the same old websites and apps that feed you a steady stream of stressful content, and look for sources of humor and fun to add to your media consumption.
7. Prioritize the personal
What do you wish you had time to do each day? Dinner with the family? Picking up the kids from school? Helping with homework? Build your calendar around some personal nonnegotiables, and make them the priority.
You’ll create more balance in your life, and your clients will never know that the previous “appointment” you had to attend was your daughter’s ballet recital.
8. Add joy to the everyday
What sparks joy for you? Is it time with the kids or the dog? A few minutes with a great book? A hilarious stand-up comedian? A beautiful piece of art? A bouquet of fresh flowers? Whatever it is, make time for it in your daily life.
Listen to a funny podcast in the car, or spend time playing catch with the kids. Take your lunch break at a local art museum, or check out a virtual gallery tour online.
Make time for joy, and make it as important as the time you spend on stress-filled activities and thoughts.
9. Practice good sleep hygiene
Sleep affects every aspect of your life and health, including your immune system, memory, and ability to cope with stress. If you sit up in bed working into the night or do other activities to undermine your ability to relax, you’ll find that your sleep is impaired.
Keep work in your home office and out of the bedroom. Get off screens at least an hour before bedtime, and give yourself time to wind down for better rest.