We all know self care is important, yet many of us struggle to find the time to fit it into our lives on a regular basis. However, not practicing self care regularly can take a negative toll on both our physical and mental well being. Not finding the time to take care of ourselves can cause stress and burnout in our lives, which is why I wanted to touch on a few ways to find time in our busy lives to squeeze in some self care.
The first step in the process is figuring exactly what self care means to you. Self care can be very different depending on the person. There is not one set activities that defines what self-care is, and it can look very different for everyone. For one person it may be exercise and planning their meals. For another person it may be finding the time to read or paint. And, for someone else it may be a spa day or spending an afternoon shopping. It really depends on you and what you enjoy. What makes your soul happy and leaves you feeling refreshed.
Ultimately, what is comes down to, is showing yourself some love and making the time to do something that will truly benefit your mind, body, and soul.
So, once you figure out what type of self-care works best for you, you then need to figure out how to find the time to fit that into your life regularly. That is what I am going to talk about today! I know from personal experience how hard it can be to find the time for self-care. I work full-time. I have a toddler. My partner works out-of-town for a week at a time, so in a way I am a single mom 50% of the time. I run two blogs in my free time. And I obviously have to maintain my life (i.e. cleaning, groceries, etc.). I find it SO hard to fit in some “me time”, and the thing is, I know I am not even half as busy as some other people out there.
So, today I am going to share with you 6 little hacks I use to fit self-care into my life regularly.
1 | Multi-task
A form of self-care I enjoy in my own life is listening to podcasts. The best part about this task is that I can squeeze it into my life while I am doing other things. For example, it is easy to throw on a podcast when I am cleaning my house, cooking dinner, while I am driving, or while I am exercising. I still get to stay caught up with my favorite podcasts, which is something I truly enjoy and that makes me happy, but I also get other things done at the same time, and I am not using any additional time to listen to the podcasts.
The best part is, using this strategy has actually made cooking and cleaning a lot more enjoyable for me. I never use to enjoy cooking, and it was just one of those things I needed to do. But now that I have paired the task of cooking with a great podcast, I actually enjoy the cooking process so much more.
Multi tasking can work in various areas of your life when it comes to self care. Reading in the bathtub rather than taking a shower. Entertaining your child by getting outside for a nice long nature walk. Listening to an audio book while you run errands. Exercising while you watch your new favorite show.
Related Reading: 14 Easy Tips to Improve Your Time Management Skills
2 | Thinking Outside the Box
I love to read, and reading is definitely a form of self-care for me. I use to read before bed, but honestly, since becoming a mom, I am lucky if I make it to bed without first falling asleep on the couch. So, I needed to find a different time where I could fit in my reading. I utilize nap time and evening for other tasks, so I needed to get creative, and guess what? I now read more than ever before. You see, I take the train to work. Monday to Friday I spend 30 minutes on the train each way, for a total of 1 hour. That is 5 hours a week that I am just sitting on the train looking out the window. TA-DA!!! This is time I can easily utilize for some self-care. So, I started keeping a book in my purse, and I now read on the train most days.
Now, I won’t lie, some days I simply scroll through Instagram for the full 30 minutes, but that is okay. Some days that is how I feel like spending that time, and there is nothing wrong with that. That is MY time. Those 30 minutes to and from work are all mine, and I love them.
Second, I use my lunch break. I am lucky enough to get an hour lunch break everyday, so what I typically do is eat my lunch which takes approximately 15 minutes (max), and then I do something I enjoy. I work in a library, so some days it is as simple as finding a cozy corner and reading. Other days I go for a walk outside. Other days I walk a couple of blocks up to the mall. And, sometimes I meet my girlfriend for lunch who works close by. Instead of sitting in the lunchroom or eating at my desk, I take full advantage of my hour long break, and I get my self-care in.
Nap time is another amazing time of day to fit in some self-love if you’re a mama! During my maternity leave it was my favorite time of day!!! (I love my daughter, but come nap time I was definitely ready for a break!)
So, I want you to take a hard look at your daily routine and see if there are any little spots where you can squeeze that self care in!
3 | Temporarily Track Your Time
So, ever since my phone started telling me how much screen time I use weekly, I decided to really pay attention to where I am spending (or wasting) my time. I was SO shocked to see how much I was actually on my phone. I was actually a bit embarrassed.
I was always complaining that I was so busy and I had no free time, and yet I was able to spend that much time on my phone, aimlessly scrolling through Social Media. Wow. Talk about a wake up call.
What I recommend is taking a few days, or even a week, and track exactly how you spend your time. Write down everything from how long you shower, to how long you watch TV. You will most likely be surprised how much time you waste, or spend doing unproductive tasks. Once you assess your time management, you may be able to find more time to squeeze in time for yourself!
4 | Plan it Out or Include it in Your Routine
Something that helps me make time for self care is actually planning it out. I write it down in my planner every week to help myself stay accountable. Twice a week, I block out 20 minutes to an hour for self care.
Another way to ensure you get your self care in, is by turning it into a habit and making it part of your routine. For example, maybe you want to start journaling. Block out a 30 minute time slot every day before bed (or whenever works best for you), and commit to using that time to journal. Eventually, after doing this for a few weeks, it will become a part of your everyday routine.
Related Reading: Time Blocking: The Time Management Tool That Will Change Your Life
5 | Let Go of the Guilt
Letting go of the idea in the back of our heads that self care and taking time for yourself is selfish, is the first step and actually making the time for self care. Self care is not selfish, it is necessary!
Self care helps us avoid overwhelm and burn out which in return allows us to be more present and available to our partners, children, and other important people in our lives.
You should never ever view self care as selfish and never feel guilty for taking some time to care for yourself!
6 | Ask For Help
This for me is one of the biggest struggles when it comes to finding the time for self care. I need to ask for help sometimes. In order for me to take the time to go get my hair done or spend an afternoon shopping, I need someone to watch my daughter. Now that can easily be my partner, he is her father after all. But I struggle with this, and I don’t really know why. Some part of me simply feels bad to say hey I want to spend the day alone or spend a few hours on myself, so you need to stay here with the babe. I have no idea why, I know he would gladly have some daddy daughter time and never give it a second thought. But it’s ME. I feel bad asking for help. I feel like I should be able to juggle it all, and I shouldn’t have to ask for help, but I also know deep down that is unrealistic. We don’t have family close by, but I would feel the same asking a family member for help so that I can go pamper myself for the day. It’s ridiculous, and I know that, but it’s something I struggle with in many areas of my life. I don’t want to be a burden.
So maybe you’re a mom that needs to ask for some help from the grandparents so you can go out for dinner with your hubby. Or maybe you’re a student, who also works full time, and in order to fit in self care you need your partner to help a little more with the errands and the dishes. No matter what your situation looks like, were all busy! Don’t be afraid to ask for a little help to be able to make that the time for yourself.
I’ve come to learn people really don’t mind helping if you just ask nicely and show your appreciation.
So there you have it! Those are my 6 little hacks for squeezing more self into your life. Now, I want to know yours! Drop a comment below and let me know how you find the time for self-care in your own life, and what self-care means to you!