EatingHealthy Mindset

How To Practice Self-Care Even If You’re Super Busy


I bet you love the idea of self-care, but do you practice it?

And maybe once in awhile, you squeeze in a bubble bath between cleaning up from dinner and going to bed… but if you’re reading this, you probably don’t get to what makes you feel good often enough.

I want to say up top, there’s no right or wrong way to practice self-care. It’s different for everyone. For me, self-care is giving myself permission to zone out, sleep in and slow down.

As someone who is the living definition of a “busybody, ” I have to put myself in a time-out once in a while.

It’s not easy.

What exactly is the point of self-care anyway?

“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

That’s a quote that sums up self-care pretty well. Basically, if you don’t take care of YOU, then you can’t give your all every day to the things that matter to you: your family, your work, your relationships, etc.

Self-care is not just about taking a moment to relax and recharge. While that’s part of it, the other part is being able to rely on yourself to feel happy.

Your happiness and life satisfaction can’t always come from external factors. It’s on YOU to take care of yourself and do the things that bring you satisfaction.

You can’t wait for the time. And you can’t rely on other people to make you feel whole. It’s your responsibility.

Maybe you know how important self-care is. And if you do, how come you’re not giving yourself the care you need on a regular basis? My guess is time and mindset. Keep reading to learn more.

Why is self-care so hard to find time for?

A couple of reasons:

  • Our society glorifies being busy. We fill our time with “obligations” that really don’t matter to us. That’s why we feel like we don’t have time.
  • When it comes to self-care, we often see images of beauty products, candles and meditation tied and may subconsciously believe that’s how we should be doing it, even if those activities aren’t what we’re into.
  • We have responsibilities that tend to come before self-care. Whether you’re a student, a parent or you have a demanding job (most of us do), it can be tough to justify time to ourselves when there’s just SO much to do.
  • Our mindset around self-care blocks us from taking action (more on this below).

By the way, if you feel like you’re always short on time in general, read this in-depth post about my BEST time management tips.

At the end of the day, a lot of us struggle with our priorities NOT lining up with what we are actually doing with our time.

We may want to indulge in self-care on a weekly (or daily) basis, but our schedules don’t reflect that at all. That might be a good place to start when thinking about why you rarely feel like you have time for the stuff you want to do.

And maybe it’s a combination of lack of time and lack of confidence that self-care is the right thing to do if it means pushing aside all other responsibilities for a period of time. I mean, how can you relax when you know you have a mile-long to-do list?

Sometimes, we improve the lives of others by putting ourselves first.

Why? Because then we can be the best employee/parent/relative/significant other/friend etc. How can you be your best when you don’t feel your best?

If you struggle with feeling selfish about practicing self-care, I want you to think about how you can GIVE more when you give to yourself first. You almost owe it to the people you care about in life.

You can’t always rely on other people to pick you up to make you feel your best. It must come from within and it starts with doing the stuff that makes you happy.

Self-care ideas you may not have tried yet:

I asked my Instagram followers to send me their favorite forms of self-care. Below is a list that includes most of them, as well as my own personal favorite self-care methods.

This is to remind you guys that self-care is NOT just face masks, spa days and bubble baths – even though those totally count, self-care can be anything that makes you feel like the superstar you are.

  • Meal prep!
  • Sleeping in and working from home
  • Working out (and letting my mind chill for a sec)
  • Taking myself to dinner every Friday
  • Unplugging and putting my phone away for a few hours

From the community:

  • Running, swimming, pretty much all the sports
  • Taking a walk around the neighborhood
  • Not rushing home from work
  • Window shopping
  • Enjoying a glass of wine
  • Napping
  • Meditation
  • Reading!
  • Singing and playing an instrument
  • Planning stuff
  • Bullet journaling and regular journaling/writing
  • Using a gratitude journal
  • Drawing and doodling
  • Stretching, foam rolling
  • Crocheting, knitting and other crafts
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Walking your dog
  • Making soy candles
  • Enjoying some quality hammock time
  • Beer in the shower
  • Making cards
  • Date night!
  • Deleting social media apps
  • Using apps like Headspace and Calm
  • Baking
  • Watching TV
  • Cleaning and doing dishes
  • Tending the garden
  • Manis/Pedis/massages/body treatments
  • Talking on the phone to a relative or friend for a long time
  • Buying yourself flowers or something cozy

There’s no right or wrong to self-care practices, as long as they are positive and add value to your life.

Note that some of these self-care activities don’t take that long. For example, using a gratitude journal could just be five minutes before bed.

And when you’re not rushed, cleaning can actually be very soothing. Just throw some music or a podcast on while you do it, and you’ll forget that you’re doing a chore.

All of the responses from my community reminded me that our hobbies are also a form of self-care! It’s truly a matter of making time for them.

How do I make time for self-care?

The first step is adjusting your mindset so that you CAN make yourself a priority. You are worth it. You’re important! You deserve care.

Making self-care a priority means you never skip it, like brushing your teeth in the morning.

Below I’m going to share a few tips on ways to make sure self-care happens in your schedule no matter what. You can use all of them, or just the ones that work for you. Whatever works best!

Time tips for self-care:

1. Say NO! 

If you want more time in your weekly schedule you have to start saying no. Then you can say YES to that oh-so-important “me time.” Say no once in awhile to friend gatherings, meetings that aren’t really necessary, post-work happy hours, work events, networking events – anything that you are only gonna do out of politeness, just say “no.” I stopped going out three nights a week and said no to invites so I could stay in and have time to myself, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

You can’t do it all… so just don’t!

2. Make it part of your routine

One of my followers told me she makes self-care part of her morning routine (see screenshot below). I know you can find ways to squeeze in some stretching, movement, writing, reading or whatever it is during your pre-work or post-work/pre-bed routines. Try it out and see what happens!

3. Put self-care on the calendar

This is my personal favorite. Schedule in self-care time on your calendar (like how I schedule in Friday night dinner dates with myself) and don’t let anything touch it. Treat it like a sacred event that you plan other stuff around. This works best for me!

4. Read this post on time management

I linked it earlier in the post, but want to share my article about getting stuff done again because it’s that helpful. No matter what your time-related issue is, I have you covered in this post.

I hope that after reading this, you have a few ideas to apply to your life. It’s so important to take care of yourself every week at the very least. You’ll feel less stressed, happier and healthier inside and out.

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