When you’re scrambling to find enough hours in the day for work alone, setting time aside for self-care tends to be the last thing on our minds. Practising self-care is an essential part of staying healthy and happy, but if you’re struggling with trying to find a way to wedge a quick stretch or a few minutes of alone time into your schedule, you’re not alone. There are ways to make it work, even if it’s a tiny pause in your day or a quick cup of tea at first.
Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated or elaborate to work either. While a bath and face mask may sound like a dream in comparison to working on yet another spreadsheet, there are smaller, simpler things you can do to ease overwhelm and give your body and mind a break during work. If you’re a busy professional and feel like there’s never any time on your hands, here are a few tips to help squeeze in a little self-care.
Find Activities That Aren’t Time Consuming
The hardest obstacle in establishing a good self-care routine is finding the time. In between meetings, video calls, projects, and your list of to-dos outside work, it can feel a bit daunting setting aside time for yourself. Start by simply finding solutions that won’t take hours of time. A quick 15-minute journal session, cozying up your atmosphere with a candle and calming music, and making a quick, healthy snack are all possible in a short period of time. Just remember that prioritizing your health helps you do better in all aspects of life, and even makes the workday more enjoyable.
Give Yourself Enough Breaks
Have you ever glanced up from your desk only to realize that the entire day has already flown by? When you’re buried in work, taking breaks always gets thrown on the backburner. But stretching your legs, giving your eyes a break, breathing, eating, and staying hydrated all contribute to a healthy mindset and allow you to be more productive at work. If you often forget to take a lunch, set a reminder in your calendar or make a pact with a friend to encourage one another to take frequent breaks.
Adjust to Your Own Schedule
The average work schedule is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Not everyone works a nine-to-five, and finding time for self-care is a matter of working things into your day and evening. There are benefits in doing so, too. Even weekend work warriors who have opportunities for self-care during the week may find discounted self-care activities, smaller class sizes, or a quieter household. Finding what works for you is key.
Find Mini Self-Care Acts Throughout the Day
Something as simple as breathwork or mini meditations can make a world of a difference whether you’re in an office or working from home. Compile a list of self-care acts that you can do in a minute or two to help you cope with stress. Diffusing essential oils, finding helpful acupressure points, and writing a gratitude list are all quick and easy, and don’t require you to roll out the yoga mat in the middle of a workday.
Block Your Calendar Out
It’s one thing to say you’re going to take time for self-care, it’s another to actually block it out. Putting it in your calendar alerts other people that you’re busy, and genuinely gives you the time to step back from work, take a breather, and revel in a little self-care. It could be as simple as doing a few stretches or running out for a coffee break. This is a good way to make it feel “real” in your mind when you can visually see it.
Utilize Your Weekends
No matter if your weekends fall on a Tuesday and Wednesday or the usual Saturday and Sunday, they’re the perfect time to reflect, unplug, and give yourself a break. Working on the weekends is okay every once in a while, if it’s necessary, but weekends should primarily be used for recuperating. You deserve rest! Your weekend gives you the chance to do longer self-care activities that you may not have time for during your work hours, like a bubble bath, an art project, a trip to the sauna, or a longer meditation.
Prioritize and See What You Can Shift Around
If you are really at a loss of how to find time for yourself, it might be time to bring in backup. When self-care seems impossible, it may be that there’s too much on your plate. Speak with colleagues or your manager to delegate tasks or even find a way to do some group self-care (in-office yoga class, anyone?). If you run your own business, a mentor or coach can be great to lean on. A therapist is also a great resource for finding ways to implement self-care and cope with emotional struggles that are weighing heavy on you.
Remember that self-care shouldn’t feel stressful. If you’re feeling like you can’t add one more thing to your plate, try to reframe your mindset and focus on the fact that you can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself.
What’s your favorite form of self-care? Leave your answer in the comment section below!