Let’s be honest, we all know that “self-care” is important. But maybe we haven’t all bridged the gap between knowing it’s important and actually putting that knowledge into action.
If you haven’t prioritized taking care of yourself, it’s probably because of one of following 3 reasons:
- You think it’s overblown and a marketing gimmick
- You aren’t sure where to start
- You feel like you don’t have the time
I’m going to address all 3 of these concerns in this post. We’re going to discuss:
- What self-care is and why it’s important
- 7 important tips to get you started
- 47 ideas for easy and quick self-care activities
My goal is to equip you with the knowledge you need to make self-care part of your everyday routine – without taking any time away from all of the other important responsibilities you have.
The thing is, you don’t need to find a significant block of time, nor do you need extra money. It’s about maintenance and quality over quantity. You don’t need to set aside a weekend to recharge. You can make self-care a part of your habitual life.
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What is Self-Care?
Self-care is exactly what it sounds like: taking care of yourself. (It is literally defined as: “care for oneself”)
Anything that you do to nurture yourself and foster your health would fall under this category. It’s not really about long spa days (although they are lovely) and more about paying attention to your health (on all levels).
What this looks like in practice is going to vary from person to person and from situation to situation. And NONE of this is a suitable substitute for seeing a professional who is trained and licensed to diagnose and treat specific issues.
Practicing self-care at home is preventative health care. That is, it is meant to maintain and support your wellbeing, and to PREVENT the development of problems and illness. If you already have a specific issue or problem then you should go to a professional.
The 4 Categories of Self Care
Our wellbeing can be broken down roughly into 4 categories: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. These aren’t clear-cut and distinct groups. Everything is interconnected within a person. But it can be helpful to think of these four categories, especially because we tend to focus exclusively on physical health, and pretend that everything else will magically take care of itself. Which it won’t.
Each part of us supports the other parts. When we neglect one aspect of our health, the effects will show up throughout the entirety of our being. Nothing exists in isolation.
Benefits of Self Care
Maintaining your health is much easier than recovering from illness or injury. This is true across all kinds of health: physical, mental, emotional, AND spiritual!
Our interconnected nature makes self-care so important! Putting in the time to keep ourselves in balance will head off a lot of issues before they can develop into big problems.
And you don’t need to set aside a lot of time! Thank goodness, because the people who are most likely to be neglecting their own self-care are those who also have very little free time on their hands: moms, professionals, students… You know, the people who are dealing with a TON of stress on a regular basis.
I get it, you’re busy! And it feels selfish to sit and do something for yourself when there are so many very important things that need to be done. None of which, let me tell you, are going to get done at all if you don’t take care of yourself!
7 Self Care Tips
- Something is better than nothing. Don’t give up because you feel like you aren’t doing enough. Every second that you spend taking care of yourself is worth it. You don’t have to block out an hour every day. Take your 5-minute bursts where you can find them.
- Proper self-care is whatever nurtures YOU. Period. There’s no one right way to do it.
- Start small and add-on. Pick 1 thing that you can add to your regular routine and stick to it.
- Make self-care a habit. Consistency matters. Putting aside 15 a day spent on self-care is much better than putting aside 1 whole day once a month.
- Schedule time for self-care. Put it on your calendar or your to-do list. Make it a priority.
- Self-care is not selfish. You will be of no use to anyone else if you stop functioning. Remember, it’s about maintenance.
- Ask for help. You are not a rock. Or an island. If you are overwhelmed or confused, reach out to someone you trust or to a professional and ask for help.
Ideas for Self Care
We know how important self-care is. But there’s a BIG difference between knowing you should do something and actually doing it (story of my life HA).
So I have pulled together 47 good ideas for self-care that are easy and quick. You have to work within the boundaries of your life, but I guarantee you can fit one of these in TODAY.
Right now I’m trying to get my household ready for a giant move AND work consistently on my blog AND do everything else I normally do as a mom to 3 kids. And it’s A LOT. I feel pretty much constantly overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that need to be done.
I also know, from miserable experience, that if I don’t take time to care for myself then I WILL have some sort of meltdown at some point – I’ll get sick, or explode at something very small, or emotionally fall apart, or, more likely, all three at once. And I don’t really want to get to that point.
And I can keep myself from completely falling apart by making self-care a priority every day (well, almost every day).
Here are 47 ideas for self-care that you can do in less than 15 min.
47 Easy and Quick Self Care Activities
- Take a deep breath – Inhale, exhale. Take your time. Repeat as needed.
- Check-in with your 5 senses – Name 1 thing you can see, 1 thing you can feel, 1 thing you can touch, 1 thing you can smell, 1 thing you can taste
- Stretch – Reach up as high as you can, bend over and dangle your arms.
- Moisturize – give your tired skin a little love
- Keep a gratitude journal – Write down 5 things you are grateful for every day
- Drink water first thing in the morning – Start your day off right
- Dance – Move your body to music
- Meditate – Any kind of meditation will do! Just start
- Use your brain – Do a puzzle, learn something new, etc
- Nurture a plant – Water it, talk to it, SING to it. Take a second and pay attention to something green
- Help someone else – Take the focus off yourself and direct it outward. How can you make a difference for someone else?
- Talk to someone you care about – Video chat, pick up the phone, even text. Reaffirm your connection to other people
- Hug a loved one – Physical touch is important to human beings. We are fundamentally social creatures.
- Sit up straight – Stand up straight, chin up, shoulders back. Posture is important
- Put your phone down – Stop the mindless scroll for 10 min. Do something else.
- Eat breakfast – It doesn’t have to be a giant production, but get something nourishing in your body
- Say no – Be honest about what you can and can’t reasonably handle. Protect your boundaries
- Add a vegetable to your plate – Preferably something green and leafy.
- Cuddle a furry friend – Give some love to your pet (or someone else’s pet) (with their permission!)
- Step outside and breathe – Take a mini nature break and get some fresh air.
- Declutter one drawer or shelf – Set a timer and get rid of some clutter. Clear off anything that doesn’t belong.
- Take a shower – Even a quick rinse can do wonders for your mood.
- Read a poem – Try reading it aloud and listen to the sound of the words
- Write down what you achieved at the end of the day – Did you eat food? Cross 1 thing off your to-do list? Let yourself relax? These are all worth acknowledging and celebrating.
- Do something fun – When is the last time you played?
- Make your bed – First thing in the morning, preferably, but anytime will do.
- Sing – Don’t worry about how you sound, just have fun. Shut the windows first if you must
- Take a nap – A quick 10-15 min catnap can reset your mindset for the day
- Put on lipstick (or try a new color eyeshadow) – Take a minute to jazz yourself up. It doesn’t matter if you have nowhere to go.
- Write 5 things you love about yourself – Physical features, personality traits, quirks, accomplishments, anything that comes to mind.
- Change your sheets – There’s nothing like slipping into a fresh clean bed at night.
- Say a positive affirmation – Here are 5 powerful affirmations designed for daily use.
- Watch a cute animal video (or three) – This is my absolute favorite cat on Instagram.
- Watch a sunset (or sunrise) – Preferably while sitting outside
- Do a brain dump – Get out a piece of paper, set a timer, and start writing. Don’t think, don’t edit, and don’t stop until the timer goes off.
- Journal – Try using journaling prompts if you are not sure what to write
- Put on a face mask – Sit back and relax while it’s on. Don’t try to cram in a few extra chores!
- Guided meditation – I love Insight Timer for all kinds of guided meditations.
- Flip through a magazine – Pick one that you really really enjoy, but always seems frivolous
- Move your body – In any manner – dance, walk, jump, swing, flail about. Humans are meant to move. So take a minute and ENJOY your body in motion.
- Waste time – On purpose. Do something entirely unproductive.
- Color – If you haven’t tried adult coloring books yet, you are missing out!
- Organize a drawer – Pick a drawer, any drawer, and organize it.
- Stand barefoot in the grass – Feel the blades of grass tickling your feet and the coolness of the earth underneath.
- Look at the stars – You are, after all, a very small being in a very vast universe.
- Read a fairy tale – Read my post about why you should read fairy tales.
- Put on your favorite outfit – Something that makes you feel good about yourself. You know, the outfit you would want to be wearing when you ran into an ex.
Taking care of yourself is vitally important. It doesn’t need to involve a whole day of massages and bubbly water. Although it SHOULD sometimes IMHO. All you really need is 15 minutes to give a little love and attention to the most important person in your life: YOU!
And remember that self-care isn’t indulgent. It is a necessary and important piece of maintaining your overall health and wellbeing.
What’s your favorite quick self-care tip? How do you take care of yourself when life gets crazy and overwhelming?