5 Self Care Tips for Busy People
Self care is important for everyone. Its a focused and intentional way to manage your emotional state when life becomes overwhelming and a little crazy. Intentional support of ourselves gives us the tools to keep going when we are feeling physically, emotionally and mentally challenged. Maybe you are in a high-stress job, a challenging relationship, studying for exams or constantly feel under pressure. Situations like these often feel like they are beyond our control. And that is why self care is important and quite different to self maintenance. Today we uncover why you should use self care to improve your daily life, save your sanity and make dreams into actionable goals and the self talk that can get you there in around ten minutes.
Self Care Versus Self Maintenance
There are lists of self care tips that include having a massage, pedicure or buying fresh flowers. They help, but often they are quick dopamine hits. That is, they don’t last. Self care is about doing things that take care of you emotionally. Its anything that nourishes you and improves your quality of life; and puts it back into perspective. Self maintenance is mostly about taking care of yourself day-to-day. Brushing your teeth, showering, eating well and exercising. Don’t get me wrong, when you are at the bottom of a chasm even doing these simple things can take a huge amount of effort. That’s why its self care is different for everyone. Its just as important to work your self care muscle as it is to get your sweat on doing your favorite activity if not more so.
It ranges from the most basic things like eating healthy food to keep you fully nourished and energized, making sure your home is clean, organized and functioning, making sure your bills are paid to more advanced self-care methods, like journaling, self-talk or meditating, following a new sleeping regime that suits you, or studying to grow or move up or beyond the corporate ladder.
Why do we need self-care? When you are not a priority on your own list, when family, job and other things need taking care of first, your needs and wants often get pushed way down the list into next year. You stop listening to what you need. Making time for yourself is not about ignoring everyone or everything else but becoming aware your own needs, and being strong enough to do something about it before something breaks.
Nourish Yourself Back to Happy Using Self Care
Here are 5 things you can do to stay focused and intentional, manage stress and nourish yourself back to a happy place.
1. Take Regular Breaks
To avoid mental fatigue, brain fog and even bad posture, take regular breaks throughout your day; especially if you work in front of a computer. For most people the sweet spot is working for 45 minutes and breaking for 10-15 minutes. Working from home makes this easy; 10-15 minutes might be for stretching, reading or going for a short walk in your garden outside. Easy but not simple. Use a timer to keep you on track. Try not to swap one screen for another like scrolling or replying to messages on your phone, social media or online shopping. Your eyes need a break from screen time too.
This is a great rule if you are a parent, looking after someone elderly or who needs care. Regular breaks, even if it is a tea or coffee alone, will help you pause long enough to go back with a renewed level of energy and tolerance.
Breaks can mean ‘other’ breaks too. Especially if you have family members who make you feel less than, drain you or at times even bully you. Get your power back by being less available until you have the energy and bandwidth to deal with them. It could be days or weeks; sometimes longer. If you have friends who trigger you, please don’t keep them as friends just because you have history. For family, friends and work colleagues alike, you may need new boundaries and new rules if you want these relationships to work. Sometimes you need to speak up and voice it, sometimes you don’t need to.
You know what to do. Take steps to look after yourself and do it.
2. Stick to Foods That Keep You Healthy, Fueled and Energized.
Eat well. Eat clean. They say our stomachs are our second brain and that there is constant communication between the two. Ever noticed that when your stomach or digestion have a problem, the brain gets brain fog and its harder to concentrate? Ever noticed that sometimes you work better when there is nothing in your stomach and your mind is clear? Its a sweet spot between having enough fuel to keep going with clarity until you run out.
Quality food, fresh and nutrient dense will keep you healthy, fueled and energized during the day and adds to your endurance. Self care means becoming aware of foods or drinks that slow you down; make you feel drowsy or even unwell. Whether its dairy or gluten, wine or whisky, sugars or sodas, coffee or cigarettes, if you know they don’t serve you, remove them from your diet. Sometimes its difficult; especially if you enjoy them but if they give you a migraine, headache, hayfever, reflux, slow you down or make you anxious, cut them out.
3. Sleep More and Sleep Better
The quality of your sleep is very important. If you know your body well, you know how much sleep you need, the best time to sleep and how you feel after a bad night’s sleep; whether its from too much alcohol, if you are over-tired, overthinking, worrying, or indigestion. Most people neglect sleep. In fact, most people don’t get enough sleep.
Sleep is an essential part of being healthy. It’s also one of the easiest things you can do to improve your quality of life. If you have problems falling asleep, staying asleep or waking in the morning begin by looking at how many hours you sleep then;
- go to bed earlier. Start with half an hour, then an hour, then two hours to slowly get your body used to the new sleeping time.
- take a vitamin like magnesium or melatonin to help you sleep.
- stop working at your computer at least 3 hours before going to bed.
- remove phones, laptops, ipads and even televisions from your bedroom and remind yourself that the bedroom is for sleeping.
- look at your alcohol consumption. It could be the sugar content that is keeping you awake.
- use a sleeping machine that plays tunes like birds singing, rain, ocean waves or so many other things to choose from to help you drift off to sleep.
- keep your bedroom at a slightly cooler temperature. You might feel cozy all rugged up but overheating your body will waken you.
4. Journal Like It Will Save Your Life!
I hope you agree that living a healthy life isn’t only about your physical health or what you do at the gym. While they will definitely help, true holistic wellness focuses on your mental, social, and emotional health and journaling can be a big part of the self care journey.
Its a tool on how to manage your life. Write your thoughts and create a record that you can go back to and see how you have changed and progressed. Use it as a source of inspiration. Its one of the best things you will ever do. Keep your journals or throw them out, but the jabit of journaling will help to look at your life for a better relationship with yourself. This is a place where you can ask questions like ‘is it true?’.
So many times we pigeon hole ourselves and put ourselves in a box, judging with, ‘I’ve always been a failure’, and feel miserable for the rest of the day. But ask, ‘Is this true?’ Have I always been a failure? Well, no, of course not. Then start creating a list of where success was there for you, when it was easy. Look for evidence in your life when you did succeed, when you came through. And if you did it once, you can do it again. Use this to build confidence to try again, keep going, or start on a new path.
You can use journaling prompts but these can make you overthink your life and prime your answers and sometimes even make you spiral down, keep you stuck or even procrastinate.
Journaling has been proven to help with mental health, anxiety and stop overthinking. It exposes what is really troubling you in a safe and trusting environment. It gives your heart and mind a voice and builds confidence. This is not about being perfect. Putting it down on paper. Sometimes you might be negative, sad, angry or feel guilty. But if you take the time to discover other options, what’s good in your life, reflect and learn what you want instead, this is the first step towards creating a life you love and doing it in a way that will strengthen you, not destroy you.
If it scares you, write it down and sit with it. You might feel confused at first; so sit with it. Answers will come. Listen to your heart; it knows. You might get a full download of what you need to do; you might only get the next step. But that’s better than feeling stuck, frustrated and feeling alone.
Journal it and remind yourself what your perfect life could look like. Look at your life with a tourists eye. You might be surprised what treasures, insights and secrets you might discover about yourself. Then use these to build a better life. Use them to plan, do, create and be the person you always wanted to be. It might be in a different way, on a different path.
It might be better!
Journaling is a way to balance and integrate your inner child, with all its fears, with the growth and wonderment you are destined to be, if you bring it to the surface and follow the guidance you heart will freely give you.
5. Self Talk Yourself Into Happy
I like self-talk. Its more than affirmations; which are great too. Self–talk is your internal dialogue. The mind chatter that you say to yourself, day-in, day-out. We are mostly oblivious to the short thought snippets that go on 24 hours a day. Even when asleep. Short sentences like ‘not good enough!’, ‘I knew it wouldn’t work’, ‘I’m such an idiot’. That’s self talk that I don’t like.
It’s not uncommon for most of us to keep a running dialogue inside our heads.
Self-talk can be positive or negative. Its only when you catch these thoughts and really pay attention that you realize you’ve been playing someone else’s outdated script. ‘You’ve never been good with money,’ from a parent or ‘you will never get it,’ from a teacher. Still playing years later, and triggered when things challenge you, you automatically slip into one of these self talk recordings that never stop, even if you try to ignore them. Well, if you want to stop the diminishing self talk like ‘you never finish anything you start,’ or ‘you’ll never lose weight,’ then its time to pay attention and start making positive changes using self talk.
It’s influenced by your subconscious mind, and it reveals your thoughts, beliefs and ideas. Self talk won’t necessarily give you all the answers or have you thinking you’re fantastic all the time, but it can help you see the situation from a different perspective, remove the subjective negative spin and give the positive stuff some room to move in.
Here’s an example – ‘I am such an idiot! I screwed up! What will I do now?.’
If self talk like this comes up, you want to move away from judgement and give yourself some room. First, ask yourself:
- Who said this to you the very first time?
- Where did this idea come from; teacher, parent, friend, coach, family member, boss?
- Is this belief based on facts or just someone’s opinion to do things their way?
- What makes me still believe this, even though its years later?
- Do I still think its accurate?
This next step is important. Think about and think about or write down the times and situations that make this statement a lie.
Look for evidence of everytime:
- you’ve been successful in your life; the size doesn’t matter, it all counts,
- someone complimented you, promoted you, recommended or thanked you,
- you’ve felt uplifted and confident about your life, your skills and your future,
- you’ve felt like anything is possible,
- where others have done this successfully; if they can do it, then so can you.
You can see how this can really change things and that one bad experience shouldn’t be a life sentence.
So, why self talk? Simple. When you feel great you take action, you feel anything is possible, you become an invincible, efficient machine. Things get done faster and life feels like life is on your side. Its synchronicity. Imagine, 110 days like that in a row, what could you accomplish?
So, how do you go about including self-care in your daily routine? You can make it part of your daily to-do list as part of your morning ritual. I do it whenever an old belief comes to haunt me. You can have more than one self care list too. One for getting healthy or losing weight, or looking after your money, changing your spending habits or being more successful in our career.
For those who live and die by self talk, its a must to do it everyday; its non-negotiable like brushing your teeth or breathing. While journaling can help you find the source of these old programs and decide on new ones; self talk can help you rewrite them and install new ones in your subconscious. And you can do it in less than ten minutes; each day.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and find them userful. If you liked this blog, please comment or join our email list for more ideas and tips on how to live a gloriously fulfilled and sustainable life.