It can feel impossible to make time for self-care when you have a packed schedule. How are you supposed to squeeze in one more thing? But it’s essential for everyone, so let’s go over how to practice self-care for busy people.
Self-care doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out (or expensive) thing to experience the benefits. Especially when you’re busy, it provides an opportunity to feel nurtured and cared for when there are so many other things going on.
When you understand the value of self-care, it’s easier to find ways to make a small amount of time in your schedule. With the right tools, you can create a quick and effective self-care routine. Studies show that regular self-care can make you more productive, but that’s not the only reason you should do it.
Caring for yourself feels good. It proves you are worth it and deserve the time and energy. It’s a way to honor yourself and gather the strength you need for the rest of your day.
I’ve listed three practical strategies for incorporating more self-care, even if you’re super busy. Plus, 15 quick ways to show yourself some love. Let’s get into self-care for busy people!
Welcome to Practical Self-Care! It’s a year-long, 12-post series on Plants and Pondering dedicated to exploring all aspects of self-care. Understanding and practicing self-care has changed my life.
If you’re brand new to self-care or you’re looking to deepen your practice and hone in on the best ways to care for yourself, this journey is perfect for you!
When you’re taking care of yourself, it makes everything in life more manageable. You can be more productive, creative, emotionally balanced, and have the energy to work toward your goals with your best effort.
With that being said, let’s get started on Practical Self-Care together!
Self-Care Strategies for Busy People
I’m going to keep these short and sweet. The whole point is to see the self-care benefits in a short amount of time, right? Here are three self-care strategies for busy people.
1. Make it part of your routine
An easy way to practice self-care regularly is by making it a part of your routine. Add it to the list of things that you’re already doing daily. That way, you don’t even have to think about it, and you won’t take time away from something else.
What you add depends on what you’re looking to get out of your self-care. If you want to have a clearer, calmer mind, try to meditate for a few minutes while your coffee is brewing. If you wish to sleep better, it may help to read a book right before bed instead of scrolling through your phone. And stretching is always a good use of a work break!
When you build self-care into your routine, it doesn’t use much more time than usual. Try to incorporate self-care in a way that’s not disruptive to your busy schedule.
2. Combine it with something else
This strategy is perfect for more mundane tasks. Take some responsibility that you have to do and find a way to make it better.
A simple example of this is to listen to an audiobook or podcast while you do chores. Or, light a candle to enjoy while you work. I’ve been listening to personal finance books lately as a way of learning and practicing financial self-care.
Life is often full of tasks that we must complete, but we don’t necessarily enjoy doing them. You can add that feeling of coziness and comfort by layering self-care on top of these tasks.
Combining self-care with chores allows you to practice mindfulness. Consider how to make the things you’re doing more enjoyable for you. Yes, you still have to fold the laundry, but how can you make it a better part of your day?
3. Don’t feel guilty
Feeling guilty about self-care is something that I’ve struggled with a lot in the past, especially in college. I felt like I couldn’t justify taking the time to unwind when I still had homework or studying to do.
But this is such an unhealthy mindset to have!
Time practicing self-care is not time wasted. Even if you want to do a more luxurious activity or something that takes more than 15 minutes. You’ll actually find that you’re more level-headed, energized, and productive when you’re taking care of yourself properly.
Regardless of what your schedule looks like, you deserve time to rest. Productivity does not have to be the end all be all goal in life. You are doing enough simply by being.
If you do feel guilty, I encourage you to reflect on those emotions. Try to understand where they are coming from and how you could shift your perspective. Discover what self-care means to you and what blocks are preventing you from feeling the full benefits.
15 Self-Care Ideas for Busy People
This one is super simple but also easy to forget about when you’re busy. Drinking enough water allows everything else in your body to function better. It’s just good for us. Try keeping a water bottle with you at all times to help you stay hydrated.
Meditation does not have to be complicated! It can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths and clearing your mind. Meditation is one of the most accessible forms of self-care to do when you’re busy because it can be done anywhere and at any time.
Make a To-Do List
At least for me, staying organized is critical when I have a lot going on. Use a to-do list or planner to keep track of all your tasks. It takes some time upfront, but once you get in the habit, it helps you stay on top of everything.
Listen to an Audiobook
Audiobooks are perfect for combining self-care with other tasks. Get a few chapters in while you do laundry or wash the dishes. The key is to pick a book you’re actually excited about, so you’ll be more likely to keep listening. Don’t worry about whatever popular book everyone else seems to be reading, and just go with what seems fun to you.
Get Enough Sleep
This might be the most important one on the list. When you’re getting enough sleep, it makes the rest of your day go smoother. Sleep is crucial for emotional regulation, cognitive function, and your overall mood.
Do a Quick Workout
Workouts don’t have to be long or intense to be beneficial. If you’re really busy, try to squeeze in just 10 or 15 minutes of exercise. The mood boost you get will likely be worth the time you took out of your day to do it.
Watch a Funny or Uplifting Video
The internet can be a lot of different things. Use your breaks online to watch a video that will make you laugh or feel inspired. It’s even better when you can pass it on to a friend!
Use the Fancy Soap
I mean this literally, but also in the sense that it’s okay to splurge a little on something and enjoy it. Plus, using a more luxurious soap can make you feel more pampered without taking up any more time than you’d usually spend in the shower. Life does not always have to be the most tactical or efficient option.
Take a Day Off (or just a few hours)
I’m pretty sure the world will not stop spinning if you take a day off. Taking some time for yourself can help you recharge, avoid burnout, and approach your responsibilities with a fresh perspective. Do whatever sounds fun to you, whether it’s a day full of activities or a tv marathon on the couch.
Call a Friend
Breaks between meetings, appointments, or tasks can be an opportunity to connect with your loved ones. You may feel better after having a quick chat with a friend instead of scrolling on your phone for an extra 15 minutes.
Have a Healthy and Energizing Snack
We all have some idea of the foods that give us energy and the ones that make us feel more sluggish than before. Having a healthy snack is a very literal form of self-care. Plan ahead by shopping for foods like this and bringing them with you when you’re out for the day.
Wear a Cute Outfit
When I’m not feeling happy about my outfit choice, it can throw off my mood for the day. Within what’s situationally appropriate, wear clothes that make you feel confident and comfortable. It’s an act of self-care that’s subtle but powerful.
Spend Time with Your Pet
Spending time with pets can help reduce stress and ground you in the present moment. Take a few minutes to play with or watch your pet. Acknowledge your gratitude and the things you love about them. If you don’t have a pet, there are endless cute animals to appreciate online, too.
Take a Walk (or breathe some fresh air)
Taking a walk may not always be possible, depending on the weather and where you live. Still, there are so many proven benefits of walking and breathing some fresh air. It’s another excellent use of time for when you’re taking a break from work.
Reevaluate Your Schedule
There’s a possibility that your schedule now is just not sustainable in the long run. It may be worth evaluating the commitments in your life and identify where you’re overextending. If it’s possible, try cutting back to a level where you have enough time for self-care and relaxation to avoid burnout.
So here are my best ideas and strategies for self-care for busy people! I hope you’ve found at least one activity that you want to try.
Seriously, everyone deserves time to practice self-care and self-love. It is not selfish or a waste of time. Even if it seems like there are no extra minutes in your day, I promise it’s worth the effort to make a little time for yourself.
What’s your favorite form of self-care when you’re busy? Let me know by leaving a comment!
If you want to keep the self-care train rolling, check out more of the Practical Self-Care series: