We’ve all heard that we need to make time for self care. We must “fill ourselves up” in order to have anything to give to others we are told. While some of us struggle with feeling guilty for taking time to ourselves, even those who don’t can find it very difficult to work self care into a busy lifestyle.
Do a little self care exercise with me.
- For the next couple minutes think about fun things that you would enjoy doing if you had a week to yourself. (Stick with me for just a minute. Don’t jump ahead!)
- Next take a couple minutes to think about what you would enjoy if you had a day, or even a few hours to yourself.
- Now think through some things that you enjoy doing when you have 5-30 minutes to yourself.
Which category was the easiest to make?
Most of us have many ideas about what we could do with a week of vacation, especially if a cook and nanny were provided! We can easily think about fun things to do on a day off or with a few hours to ourselves. While it’s fun to think about these things, for many of us those times are not a regular part of our lives. Waiting for the occasional vacation or day off can leave us feeling depressed, anxious and stressed.
Most of us DO have short breaks throughout the day, even if only for 5-10 minutes. What if we made the most of those breaks and incorporated small joys into our day one break at a time? Start by brainstorming small things that refresh you or bring you joy. Make sure that there are 10-15 things on your list that could be done during these short breaks.
Everyone is different, so my list may not look like yours. The important thing is to be intentional about taking care of yourself even for a few moments. Feel free to look at my list for some ideas to get you started.
- Take a long hot shower.
- Snuggle up with a book. (I keep one in my purse for these very moments.)
- Go outside and take some deep breaths of fresh air. (Listen to see if I can hear any birds or other "nature noises.")
- Lay on the floor & stretch my arms and legs out as far as I can.
- Do a downward dog, upward dog, and warrior poses (yoga).
- Deep breathing while imagining that I'm at the beach.
- Savor a small piece of dark chocolate, taking the time to taste all of the flavors.
- Sit in silence. (It's my favorite thing to do at 5:00 am when it's still dark out & I'm the only one up. I sip coffee while doing it.)
- Turn on some music and dance around my kitchen.
- Do 10 air squats or a BIRTHFIT functional progression movement.
- Make my baby giggle. (Typically tickling her, giving her kisses, or lifting her up above my head.)
- Get a drink of water or make a cup of tea.
For more on self care check out the following resources.
You are worth the investment!
Ultimately, how we feel affects every area of our life, including your health, productivity, and relationships. It is worth the investment to intentionally care for yourself in both big and small ways. Incorporating these simple joy breaks can be a first step in making self care accessible to you!