Eight self-care options for the incurably busy

Do you sometimes feel like you’re running on empty? Or in danger of burning out? Here are eight simple self-care tips for busy people.

For the Energizer bunnies of the world who keep going, going, going, life is a steady stream of reminders and to-dos.

But one of the tasks we almost never get to, is taking care of ourselves. In our day-to-day, we forget that we should be our number one priority.  

But who has time for that? 

There’s never enough time in the day. But with patience and small steps, it’s possible to practice self-care without ballooning your schedule. For instance, use mini-meditations to remove emotional contaminants from your mind. Tidy up your physical environment in small ways by removing clutter – just a little at a time.

Here are eight more ways you can check the box on the “take care of me” to-do list today.

1) Run a humidifier

One thing that takes very little time to maintain is a humidifier. Humidifiers can benefit your health in a variety of ways. Plus, it’s great for your skin – especially in dry climates.

Once you fill your humidifier with water and plug it in, all you need to do is refill it when it runs low. Depending on the humidifier you buy, this may only be every other day.

Just make sure you rinse it with hot water occasionally to kill any microorganisms that might gather. Or buy one of the new humidifiers that have germ-killing lights inside the filters.

2) Fix a small problem

With all of life’s demands, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Win back a sense of control by focusing on and solving small problems.

Choose one of those smaller tasks you keep putting off. Make that appointment to finally take family photos. Order all the birthday presents for the year. Replace that broken bathroom sink handle.

By taking a few hours to conquer these smaller problems, you’ll reduce your stress levels and reinvigorate your confidence.

3) Stretch to relieve stress

Because of our work and home lifestyles, many of us suffer from “tech neck” due to our smartphones or tight shoulders from hunching over a laptop.

While Pilates and yoga are great stress relievers, going to classes or doing in-home workouts take time. But stretches for tight shoulders are quick and easy exercises you can do almost anywhere with little to no equipment.

Your trapezius muscles in your neck and back carry more tension than any other muscle in your body, so set your burdens down and stretch them regularly.

4) Tidy up your closet

Jump on the minimizing craze and tackle your overflowing wardrobe. Too much clutter in your environment causes stress. A tidy space is a tidy mind, so clean and organize it.

But don’t attempt to corral the chaos in one day. Spread it out over a week or two. Start in the mornings when you’re getting dressed. Choose a few things at a time to keep, donate, or toss. By the end of the week, your progress will surprise you. 

5) Buy a favorite childhood toy

Self-care is about getting to know ourselves on a deeper level. That often involves revisiting our past. You can gain a better understanding of your whole self by connecting with your childhood again.

Almost everyone has a childhood toy they cherished. Try to find it online. If it’s no longer produced, check eBay or similar sites. Chances are someone has that doll or board game that brought you much joy. Find it and reconnect.

6) Clean up your social media accounts

Take a few minutes to run through your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to manage negativity.

Much like our overstuffed closets, friends can clutter our social media feeds with unhealthy stress – be it your uncle’s political rants or Aunt Negative Nancy. Control your feed’s emotional feng shui by deleting, muting, or blocking them until you can deal with it again. 

7) Connect with someone you don’t know

It’s amazing how good it makes us feel to connect with a stranger. Strike up a face-to-face conversation about the weather with someone on the bus. Or start a “Did you see that TV show last night?” discussion with the grocery checkout clerk.

Small connections go a long way in building a sense of connectedness and hope in our community. These are rare qualities in a world disconnected by takeout orders, self-checkout lines, and online purchases.

8) Re-arrange your workspace

Even if you’re a remote worker with a home office, the view can get stale after a while. So re-arrange your workspace for a change of scenery.

You don’t need a complete redecoration. Small touches will work. Try a new coat of paint. Soothing colors like yellows inspire creativity, while blues and greens are relaxing. Next, try repositioning your workspace near a window. Regular sunlight keeps us physically healthy by producing Vitamin D and emotionally healthy by regulating our circadian rhythms.

And consider upgrading your sitting desk to a standing one. Studies show the benefits of a standing desk include weight loss and improved work performance.

Small and patient wins the race

Whatever changes you make to improve your mental and physical well-being, make sure you take small steps. Complete overhauls, like crash diets, rarely work long-term.

Real change is slow going and consistent, so make sure your first self-care investment is in patience. Use small, daily wins to keep yourself motivated, and you’ll soon find your self-care regimen a success.

Read more tips on taking time for yourself

You can read more about why it’s so important to take time for yourself, and how to do it in these articles:

Photo by Volha Flaxeco