Does this sound familiar: you’re so busy making sure everyone else is cared for that you forget to take care of yourself. This article has two main sections: Section 1 lists some inspiring self care ideas for crazy busy lives, and Section 2 has some ways to reduce overwhelm.
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Table of Contents
Don’t skip this part…
Self care is vitally important for maintaining any external relationship. A relationship requires give and take. But if you haven’t taken care of yourself you will have nothing left to give. Not only will the relationship suffer, but your health will too. (That is why caregiver burnout is so high.)
Chronic stress is a known risk factor for many different health conditions. Not only mental health conditions but also physical ailments such as high blood pressure and heart attacks.
So even though these self care practices may seem light and fluffy…there is substance to taking care of yourself.
What kind of person are you?
If you’re a person that goes, goes, goes…then perhaps you need to slow down. Try some of the gentle, relaxing tips outlined in Section 1
I’m saying this without judgement. But if you are a person that is admittedly lazy – where you find refuge on the couch every night watching TV – yet you’re still stressed, then this means what you’ve been doing isn’t working. It’s time for you to get in motion. Start moving your body, or create something for yourself instead of always consuming what others have created.
Pay attention to the movement self care ideas (like stretching, yoga or dancing), and to the artistic and hobby ideas (where you’ll create something).
Section 1 – List of self care activities
Keep in mind (be mindful)
The most important thing to remember when taking time for yourself is to be in that moment and enjoy that moment. (Be mindful.)
Don’t run yourself a nice hot bubble bath with scented candles burning only to lay there and make to do lists in your head or think about the ten other things you could be doing around the house.
Clear your mind and enjoy the activity you have chosen.
Take a bath
I already hinted at this one. Add your favorite bubbles or bath salts.
One time try just relaxing quietly, the next time try listening to an audio book (try a free 30 day Audible trial) or reading.
And if you’re going to journal like the lady below, let your creative side loose.
If you are rolling your eyes at this one, you must not have seen the coloring book below. 🙂 This one is “Mandala Coloring Book for Adults” and is available on Amazon.
There is something quite satisfying about coloring, maybe it’s all the colors? 🙂
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Go for a walk
This is simple… but beneficial. Enjoy your surroundings. Not only does walking help your physical body, but it also elevates mood and eases anxiety.
I know this one doesn’t sound fun, but if you are inflexible like me, it can do wonders if you can do it regularly.
If you don’t know where to start, here is video from YouTube that highlights some easy, seated stretches.
Find a cozy spot to curl up and read a good book. If it’s warm out try sitting outside to read, enjoy that sunshine.
If you are looking for a good book to read, check out The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn.
Enroll in a yoga or Pilates class
How many miles have you put on driving your kids to sports or music lessons? Its time you start doing some of things like this for yourself too.
Writing down your thoughts, goals and dreams can be therapeutic.
Try a bullet journal: they can be a great creative outlet, and help you get more organized (which can also lower your stress).
Write some fiction
Don’t write thinking it’ll be read by anyone else…because it probably won’t be. So don’t worry about it.
Write a story that YOU’d want to read.
If you want a little prompt you can check out journals such as the one below. (It is available on Amazon.)
Try guided meditation.
There are plenty of free apps available to try. And don’t be intimidated that you can’t “get it” right away. It is a practice. It takes time, and its benefits are touted by everyone from top level CEO’s to busy stay-at-home moms.
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Take time to work on an art project such as painting, sketching, or cartooning, or look for a class. You could also try ceramic or stained glass.
And don’t let some off-handed remark someone told you when you were 8 about you “not being artistic” hold you back. You’ve been holding onto negative things like that too long, or shall I say they’ve been holding you back too long!
Art can be such an amazingly personal, expressive experience. So start creating!
You’ll think “Oh but others won’t like it” but that isn’t what it’s about. Its about the experience, not the result.
Sew, Knit or other Needle Work
A lot of people have forgotten how to sew, or never learned in the first place. And you don’t have to get fancy and try to sew a wedding dress…just start with something small. It can be sew easy. 🙂
See if it gets you into the zone: that mental headspace where you are fully engaged in the moment and time has no meaning.
If you want to learn more about sewing and self-care check out sewliberated.com
If you want to try knitting but don’t know where to start, check out the series of videos available here.
The knitter Jane Richmond, is a very talented young lady with lots of great patterns and beautifully designed books. Below is her “Clarke Pullover“. Looks cozy doesn’t it.
Spa at home
Give yourself a facial, manicure or pedicure.
It doesn’t have to be an all-day affair, just a short foray into the land of “feeling” pretty.
Our feet bear the burden of our entire weight – the whole day long! They deserve to be taken care of.
You can get a dedicated foot bath machine complete with heating & massage, or you can just use a plastic tub or large bowl.
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Plant a Garden
Plant a haven for butterflies, birds and bees and get immersed in the sights, sounds, and smells of the natural world right in your own backyard.
Getting your hands dirty in soil has a grounding effect. It is rejuvenating in a way that is hard to explain. (At the very least it gives you an excuse to get a manicure.)
Take a Beach Day (by yourself)
Imagine the sand between your toes, the sun drying the water off your skin after nice, peaceful swim and the warmth of your favorite towel wrapped around you. That’s what a personal beach day could be (and should be).
Clean your vehicle’s interior
Why do we only clean our vehicles right before we’re going to sell them? This self care idea may not seem as sexy or indulgent as the others, but you’ll feel a sense of relief that’ll last for days.
Resume a Childhood Hobby or Instrument
Did you have a hobby that you loved as a child or teen, but it has slipped away as the years passed?
Did you love to play a musical instrument but now you “can’t find the time”?
Pick it up again. Does it still spark joy?
Close the blinds, turn on your favorite tunes and dance like no one’s looking…because they aren’t! It’s just you and the music.
Sip a cup of tea
Create your own tea ceremony with the preparation and consumption of your favorite tea in exactly the way you want.
Below is a video showing the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
Eliminate Overwhelm – Section 2
A huge part of self care is addressing the issues that stress us, and reducing this stress if we can.
For instance, if your morning routine of getting everyone ready for work and school is absolutely plaguing you, then change it! This doesn’t mean you give up and send your kindergartner to school without a lunch…it means you address the pain points and resolve them.
Make a master list of all the things you are overwhelmed by.
Then go down the list and ask yourself, “Why is this overwhelming?” How can you make it less overwhelming?
Pick a small thing, and figure out how to reduce this pain point. Let it snowball from there.
Plus, jot down the things that disrupt the flow of your day. (It could be getting your kids’ lunch ready, the cluttered mess of Tupperware cabinet, checking multiple email addresses, etc…)
Example: Is your kitchen a complete mess? Clean it. But don’t just do what you’ve been doing. Start eliminating what you don’t need and organize the rest. Get your kids and partner to start helping out.
Self Care Ideas to Reduce Overwhelm
- Delegate jobs and duties to other members of your family (are you still doing the laundry for your teens?) If you’re overwhelmed by the number of things you have to do in a day then reduce the number of things you do.
- Automate tasks if possible. What can you outsource to technology?
- Plan ahead and have tomorrow morning prepared tonight (clothes picked out, breakfast prepped, lunches prepared)
- Buy a slow cooker (and learn 5 “go-to” recipes) – nothing as awesome as coming home to prepared dinner, and now you can experience that too! Plus it helps with the next point.
- Leftovers are your friends. You probably didn’t expect to see this on a “self care” list, but it can be a subtle life-changer. Start making larger dinners if necessary so that your family can have leftovers for lunch. (If they “don’t like leftovers”, then see the point above about delegating out jobs.)
- Set aside an emergency money fund. (Savings buys peace of mind.)
- Get the thoughts out of your head and down onto paper. Sometimes just writing it down can help.
- Sleep (ever notice how much shorter your fuse is when you’re tired). Plan to get adequate sleep
- Have fun. (Remember fun? Find it again. Embrace it.)
Was lack of organization on your list of stress-inducers?
If you need some home organization inspiration to help you eliminate overwhelm, check out these articles.
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