We know. You’re busy, and finding the time to take proper care of yourself can be hard. You can get so caught up in your thoughts and feelings and just day to day living, that you don’t realize you are not taking time to really listen to yourself, to “hear” the messages your mind is saying to you. It is important to take time out, because if you don´t, it won’t be long before you’re battered from exhaustion and operating in a mental fog where it’s hard to care about anything or anyone.
It’s not always easy to find time to spend with yourself and really check in with you. Because even when you´re doing something that’s just for you, like going to a museum or getting a manicure, it can still feel like just another thing on your to-do list, and not particularly emotionally, mentally, or spiritually centering. It’s all too easy to go through a whole day without doing anything that even remotely resembles self-care.
But what is self-care exactly? Self-care is to humans what gas is to cars; it’s the fuel that keeps us going. And without it, we might be able to run on fumes for a while, but eventually we’ll putter out and stall – or worse, crash and burn.
Taking care of our mental, emotional, and spiritual health gives us the fuel we need to live happy, healthy, and productive lives. And it also has a direct impact on our health.
And how do you do this? Well first of all, self-care isn’t something you do once and tick off the list. If you really plan to focus on figuring out how you can better take care of your mind, taking 20 minutes every day to devote to you and only you, is a great place to begin. Trust us, you’ll start feeling the difference after only a few days of practicing this!
And what exactly is daily “you time,” you may ask? Well, it’s just that: 20 minutes a day (at least) that you spend with yourself, with the intention of clearing your mind, getting centered, feeling internally in-tune, and checking in with your emotional well-being. To reflect on the day and your life.
The following ideas are some self-care activities you can fit into a short amount of time, usually with little cost:
Meditation is a great way to begin thinking about this solo daily activity, since the benefits of a meditation practice are plentiful. If you’ve been confused in the past by meditation, you’re not alone. Meditation is hard to define. Generally, it consists of focusing your attention as a way to calm the mind. Breathing is a common focus point in many different types of meditation. Because staying focused on your breath removes distractions, worries, and restlessness from the mind. For more information about the benefits of Meditation and how you can meditate we refer to our blog; meditation the ideal solution for stress
Spend more time in nature
There’s something about being outside that lifts your spirits. But spending more time in nature does more than just improve your mood – it can actually change your brain and improve brain function. You can take a long walk or go cloud-watching. Lie on your back, relax, and watch the sky.
Choose an activity you can do by yourself that feels centering and emotionally restorative
Maybe you really like to colour, or you’d like to start journaling about your intentions for the week. Maybe you want to just throw on a good playlist and dance all by yourself in your bedroom. You could start a compliments file, document the great things people say about you to read later. Have a good laugh by reading a couple of comic strips that you enjoy. Check in with your emotions, sit quietly and just name without judgment what you’re feeling. Write out your thoughts, go for fifteen minutes on anything bothering you, then let it go as you burn or bin the paper.
Pay complete attention to something you usually do on autopilot
Perhaps showering, driving, eating, or performing your morning routine. For example, when taking a shower; notice how the water feels on your skin, in your hair. Listen to the sounds of the water droplets. As you clean, apply soap to areas that feel tense and rub into them. Send your breath to those areas. How does the water feel running over your head, down your neck? Breathe deep into the scents around you. When you are finished showering, take a step back from the water before turning it off. Close your eyes and breathe deeply and feel ready for your day.
Put down the devices and unplug for at least an hour
If you’re attached at the hand to your phone (who isn’t?), one of the best ways to practice self-care is to put the phone down. Switch everything to airplane mode and free yourself from the constant bingsof social media and email. Too much screen time has been linked to all sorts of physical and emotional health issues including eye strain, decreased ability to show empathy and brain damage. So put down your phone and tune into the present moment. Your health will thank you.
When you get down to it, this 20 minutes a day is really about making more space in your everyday life to cultivate soundness and peace of mind, in whatever way works best for you.
What you do each day can also change as little or as often as you see fit. If one day, you need to lay down on the ground and close your eyes while listening to music, and the next day you need to journal for 10 minutes then stretch for 10 more, that’s totally cool.
Figure out what truly works for you. Find things that don’t feel like a chore, or a task, or aren’t otherwise overwhelming in any way. Consider how you can commit to giving yourself time to very literally just do you. Whether you set aside that solo time right when you wake up in the morning, or you take a midday break, or even if you decide to make it an evening ritual, set a goal for yourself to maintain this practice as a regular part of your routine.
And then, with this little bit of attention to your own self-care, the fog will lift. You’ll feel more connected to yourself and the world around you. You’ll delight in small pleasures, and nothing will seem quite as difficult as it did before. Like that car, you must keep yourself tuned up to make sure that you don’t need a complete overhaul.
Like the old saying goes, “your health is your wealth.” And practicing self-care is one of the best ways to protect your mental, physical, and emotional health. So up your self-care game – and up your health in the process.