In a perfect world, we’d all have plenty of free time every evening for a hot bath, a glass of wine, and 20 minutes of meditation while waiting for our face mask to work its magic on our pores.
Unfortunately, most of us have busy lives full of appointments, late nights at the office, and all kinds of other distractions (hello, Netflix) that keep us from focusing on ourselves.
Some days all we can do is fall into bed, hopefully remembering to wash our face and brush our teeth.
So, what is the solution for those of us who don’t have loads of free time for self-care?
The good news for those of us stuck in the real world is that self-care doesn’t always require us to set aside several hours and gobs of money to spend the day at the spa getting a massage and facial (though a spa day is time and money well spent when you can swing it).
All of us can take just a few minutes out of our busy schedules to practice self-care, thereby helping reduce our stress, refresh our mind and body, and revitalize our mindset so we can better handle all the obstacles life throws at us.
Here are just four ways anyone can practice small acts of self-care throughout the day.
You don’t need to devote hours of time studying the basics of mindfulness / meditation these days (although you can if you want to), as with most other things, the internet has you covered. There are plenty of guided meditations available on specialized sites, and even YouTube has a huge variety to choose from.
In addition, there are meditation apps such as Headspace that will give you reminders that it’s time to meditate. Best of all, you don’t always need a lot of time to meditate! Headspace has a three-minute setting if you need to gain some clarity in a hurry.
Just a short walk around the office can do wonders for your state of mind. It also can lower your blood pressure and help you focus.
If you can take your walk along a more scenic backdrop – or, even better, outside your place of business – it can provide an even more centering experience.
At a minimum, remember to step away from your laptop periodically and stretch a little.
Yes, even just a few deep, slow, even breaths can have an effect on the way you feel.
Take time to focus on your breath and how it feels entering and leaving your lungs. Do this periodically throughout the day to give yourself a regular mental health boost.
Don’t skip breaks or lunches just to get a bit more work done. Lots of studies have shown that the longer you spend at work without a break, the less productive you’ll be over the course of the day.
That means those skipped breaks and lunches are making you get less done, not more! So make sure you take the time that’s yours to get yourself refreshed and ready for the rest of the day.
Stress can have a number of adverse effects on our body and mind, so self-care is a necessary (and unselfish!) way to make sure you’re mentally and physically prepared for the tasks we need to perform throughout the day. Without it, our health can decline, leaving us vulnerable to illness, fatigue, and mental instability.
When we’re in the midst of a hectic day, self-care can seem like an unattainable goal, but if you take the time to perform small acts to destress and center yourself throughout the day, you might find that you feel better about your job, your workload, and yourself.
Start incorporating some small changes into your routine and you might just be amazed at how much of a difference it makes in your life.