There’s always 100 reasons why you don’t take time to look after yourself. But be honest, do you honestly not have time for some of the ideas below? Come on! Even Barack Obama always had time to work out every day, and his schedule was fairly hefty.
So come clean with yourself, you are probably choosing not to make time for self care. It will be different for everyone, but it’s fairly simple :find a few things that make you feel good. And just do them. And then do them again.
Don’t choose things that you think will be good for you. Choose things that actually feel good to you.
Here are some tiny things, that can bring a bit of self care, peace and calm into your day. None of them are big things that require any commitment or investment. And of course they don’t replace the big stuff like getting your head sorted, but they make each day more enjoyable. Sometimes that’s all you need to put a tiny crack on your habit of not looking after yourself. A few days of this, and the light will start to pour in. And where is the harm in that? What are you waiting for?
If you honestly only have 2 minutes
- Light some candles
- Open your windows and take a deep breath
- Ask for help – big or small, but reach out. Tell someone what you need from them, then leave it there.
- Reach out. Send a message, write a note to someone, call them as you are driving, compliment someone as often as you can. Make a loving connection every day.
- Check in with your emotions. Sit quietly and just name without judgment what you’re feeling.
- Create some space by saying No to one thing every day. It might be the request for volunteer time, or the draining dinner invitation, or the food you simply don’t want to eat. No is a complete sentence.
- Delete something from your to-do list. Seriously, if it has been there longer than a month -does it really need to be done?
- Lie on the floor. Stretch properly.
- Choose one exercise that you can do for 2 minutes, a plank, a squat with your back against the wall, jumping jacks. Close your eyes and just count.
- Put on your favorite upbeat music and shake your booty. Alone is fine. Just a few minutes will shift your mood.
- Give yourself a scalp massage. Better yet ask a loved one to oblige.
- Get positive feedback. Ask somebody to tell you what they love about you
- Change the wallpaper on your phone or computer to be a photo of anything that makes your heart swell. It might be a loved one, or a happy memory, or a quiet place that is special to you.
- Sit in wordlessness in a quiet room for a minute. Hold your hands up, close your eyes, and ask yourself “How do I know my hands exist”? Sink into your body, go quiet, and feel what is happening in your hands. Delight in the peace of it.
- Have a chat to your cat. Or you dog. Or your baby. Tell them what’s on your mind, see if they mind if you download for a bit. Hug them afterwards and say ‘thanks for listening’
- Change the sheets on your bed.
- Step away from whatever you are doing, and take yourself outside. Bask in the sun. Or sit and enjoy the breeze, whatever is going on with the weather. Close your eyes and breathe, and feel it on your face.
- Stroke a pet. If you don’t have one, go to a friends and be nice to their pets. They will love you for it. So you will also earn brownie points.
- Keep a journal. Write what’s on your mind. Just one sentence every day quickly builds to a very fulfilling habit. Don’t edit, just keep writing. Put your journal next to your toothbrush and do it every night before bed.
That’s a great start. If you are feeling more generous and can give yourself a whole 15 minutes, try some of the following
- Designate a space in your house that is your happy place. Best case is every woman has a room of her own, desk, chair, personal space. A quiet corner will do too… A comfy chair, pretty cushion, foot stool. Decorated exactly how you like it. Go there often and give yourself 15 mins space.
- Find someone in your family who is good for a foot rub. Tell them exactly how you like it, and offer then something they really want in return. It might be a nice meal, sex or to be left alone!
- Audit your social media feed. Pause a moment as you review each post and ask yourself how you feel when reading it. Instantly block / mute that post if it feels heavy. Find things that make you feel light and read them instead
- Do a mini meditation, a 10 minute guided mediation is easy, and gives your mind something to grab onto as you initially might struggle to rest into it. I love the ‘Insight Timer’ app for free on-demand meditation, handily organized into categories like stress, or peace or sleep.
- Find bite sized movement and exercise that works for you. Try a 10 minute stretch, or a short online yoga class, a walk around the block before you pick up the kids from school. Stand up from your desk and walk 10 minutes to get lunch. Walk the length of the beach while someone else builds sandcastles with the kids. It doesn’t have to be a 2 hour commitment! Do it every day.
- Do a mini declutter. Pick up a bag, and go around the house filling it with stuff you don’t need. Or clear out the junk drawer. Put it straight into the boot of your car. Drop it your nearest charity shop, or school donation point. Transform the guilty energy of unused stuff into a generous gift to someone in need.
- Fix that small annoyance at home that’s been nagging you—the light bulb that’s gone, the cluttered drawer.
- Sit in the sun for 10 minutes whenever you can in winter. Try having your coffee outside.
- Get into nature. Often. A calm bench in a green park or overlooking the ocean. A walk in the bush or along a beach. Add it as often as you can. Take 10 minutes if you are early for an appointment, park near the beach / park and breathe it in for a short while. It will do much more for your soul than reading your phone for 10 minutes in the waiting room!
- Drive by the beach or park on the way home from school. Even on a busy day. Tell the kids this is “10 minute fun time”, let them run and scream while you take some deep breaths and just relax and look at the sea, or the trees or anything calming
- Climb on a swing and feel the wind in your hair.
- Try a foam roller, ease any aches and pains
- Make a shrine to loved one who is no longer with you. A photo, a piece of memorabilia and a flower is all you really need. Let yourself smile every time you look at it.
- Do some wave watching. Sit at the beach and watch the rhythm of the waves
- Make a salad, or a smoothie. Congratulate yourself on how healthy you are
- Wake up tired eyes, lie down with chilled chamomile teabags, or chilled cucumber slices on your eyes
- Give yourself a manicure.
- Get the kids, and the family pet. Help the kids dress the pet. Take photos. Laugh a lot.
- Walk around your house and take some photos of ‘today’. Think like a photo journalist sent to snap the daily life of the famous. Take photos of your view, your people, your mess, your things that make you happy. Along the lines of ‘a day in the life of…’
- Buy a hammock. Get in it as often as you can.
- Go onto ticketek (or similar), find an event that would thrill you for later in the year, and book it.
- Cruise the ‘Give a Little’ website, and give $5 to someone who really needs it
- Have a shower in the dark. No lights on. Its surprisingly relaxing and calming.
- Get up 15 minutes earlier and create some ‘white space’ in your day
- Take a short nap. Set the alarm on your phone, then completely relax.
- Create a Calming playlist, and a Feel Good playlist. Just the music you want, its not for anyone else. Listen to them!
- Breathe deeply into your tummy while sitting at the lights, your body is physically unable to be stressed when you do this.
- Get up 15 minutes earlier, and proactively plan your day. The things I really want to get done today are…
- On a cold night, put your PJs in the clothes dryer before you put them on. Preferably while taking a relaxing bath.
- Walk an extra block before picking the kids up from school. Just park further away, or if you don’t think they are up to the extended walk, loop a block before you go and get them.
- Walk around your house and find 3 things to give away to someone who needs them. Put them straight into your car, so you can drop them to the hospice shop, or the needy person you have in mind, next time you drive past.
These things are tiny. they take less time than you would spend on the average day checking social media, showering, or watching TV. If you honestly still feel like you can’t fit self-care in, perhaps it is time you thought about what your priority is. Self care is not a luxury, it is what you need to do to keep functioning.