Finding self-care activities you enjoy is an important part of staying mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. While you’ve probably been reminded of the importance of self-care a million times, when you’re handling a packed schedule, dealing with a busy career, caring for your family, or a mix of all three, it can suddenly feel like the time for self-care isn’t there.
Self-care isn’t just about a pedicure and bubble bath or splurging on a fancy new wellness product; it is about the long lasting effects on your health. One study found that self-care reduced stress levels in participants and overall made their quality of life more pleasant.1 Creating a habit of self-care will also help you prioritize your own health and wellbeing.
It’s clear that making time for these comforting activities is important, but that doesn’t mean everyone has an hour, much less 20 minutes, to partake. Luckily, self-care activities don’t need to be time-consuming or done in the same place every day. Below, we’ve compiled several things you can do anywhere that’ll give you a bit more “me time” and provide some much-needed respite from a busy day.
- Find a new meditation. Meditation doesn’t require you to be lying in bed or flat on a yoga mat. You can do meditative practices anywhere and if five minutes is all you have time for, that’s perfect. There are endless techniques and variations, both guided and ones that you can do on your own. Find one you like and have it tucked away in the back of your mind or download it on your phone so you can take a few minutes to reset no matter where you are.
- Learn a new breathing technique. Like meditation, there are tons of unique ways to focus and practice healthy breathing. Doing so can help you feel awake, calm your nerves, and bring more awareness into a daily routine. Research different techniques, test them out, and see which makes you feel best. You can always turn to one of them when a hectic day is getting to you.
- Make a healthy snack. Chowing down on a tasty snack helps you feel more alert and gives your body the nutrition it needs. It’s a great way to create a little break in your day to put down what you are doing and take a breather. Even if you have to leave for work or errands, you can make snacks the night before or in the morning so you know you have some extra fuel on you to keep you going.
- Do some stretches. At your desk, in the waiting room, or even in your car, there are hundreds of different stretches you can do to move your body, give your muscles a little love, and get your posture back into a good place. Sometimes you don’t even realize what muscles are tensed or that you’re hunched over until you intentionally focus on moving.
- Brew a cup of something cozy. Coffee, tea, cocoa—take your pick and sip on something that’s warm, soothing, and uplifting. It gives you a chance to break away from your day-to-day and focus on the simple pleasures in life. If you’re on the go, pour it into a thermos so you can enjoy the comforts of home while tackling your day.
- Take a book break. Rather than scrolling through your phone during your breaks—or worse—working straight through them, pop open a new read to help transport you into a different world. You’ll learn something new or at least escape for a few minutes. If you’re driving or on the move, try audiobooks.
- Stop for five minutes and journal. Drop what you’re doing and let everything you’re thinking about out on paper. This is a great one if you’ve had a long day and just want to curl up in bed. It takes so little time but makes a world of a difference in settling racing thoughts and calming your mind. Dismiss all judgement and just write. Spill your thoughts onto that piece of paper.
- Turn off your phone and electronics. Social media, texting, and endless calls and meetings can be exhausting. If you find that you’re always turning to your phone at every spare moment, it might be time for a little digital detox. Even if it’s just for a half-hour, it’ll shut out some noise so you can work in peace, think, or do another self-care activity.
We hope that these simple self-care practices inspire you to start a new routine, but keep in mind that any form of “me time” is beneficial. Prioritize what feels good and natural to you—as long as you’re focusing on your own needs, that’s what’s important.