Imagine your perfect self care day. Does it includes massages and mani pedis? Maybe a relaxing bubble bath with wholesome food? Or perhaps you’re picturing a day in nature and away from it all?
When we think of self care and our “ideal” self care activities, we usually think of expensive activities. Some of them are expensive in the traditional sense of spending money. Yet, most (if not all) activities that first come to mind are expensive in terms of one our most invaluable resources: our time.
Our time is sacred because we can never get it back. And while we can always make more money, we can never generate more time. There’s only so many hours in the day, time off from work, and days in the week.
But just because you’re a busy woman, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice self care in your daily routine. There are actually plenty of fully integratabtle self care activities that you can do without dramatically changing your everyday lifestyle. We just don’t talk about them as much because they’re not as glamorous as lounging in a bubble bath sipping champagne.
If you want to develop a sustainable self care routine, you don’t have to limit yourself to time-expensive self care activities. In fact, I argue that a routine built on time-expensive self care activities isn’t sustainable at all! We can’t run on 100% all the time. So, we can’t expect our self care routine to do the same.
But before we can dive into these awesome, fully integratabtle self care activities, we have to talk about one of the biggest reasons you can’t seem find the time for self care.
Self Care is the Standard, Not the Exception
With the launch of Self Care Master, the top two struggles I hear about when it comes to building a self care routine are (a) finding the time for self care and (b) even if you find the time, you feel hella guilty. Surprisingly, these common problems more intertwined than you might think.
Related: If you’re consumed with guilt every time you practice self care, be sure to read up on How to Overcome Your Self Care Slump.
I have to say, self care guilt is REAL. And it’s especially common when you’re just starting out. So much so, that I refer to this guilt is “beginner’s guilt.” The more practice you get, the less it appears.
It’s like getting into a new exercise routine. You do that first workout and you’re sore the next day. It feels awkward, you’re stiff, and if it was a leg routine, you can’t even sit down to go to bathroom without your quads turning to jello. But if you keep at it, go week after week, and maintain the routine, your body adjusts, you get stronger, and you even start to enjoy it.
Self care is the same thing! But instead of breaking down muscles, you’re breaking down bad mindsets and building them into better ones. You’re using the activities to keep yourself emotionally and mentally stable and strong.
Ok. So here’s the kicker.
Once you finally believe that you’re worth it, you don’t have to find the time for self care. You just make it.
Because self care isn’t just a luxury anymore. It’s not selfish. It a necessity. In fact, I go as far to say that neglecting yourself is actually the selfish act.
Why do I say that? Because as natural givers, we get emotional satisfaction and fulfillment from taking care of other people. But if we’re too ragged, worn down, and exhausted to do that, we aren’t doing ourselves (or the people who need us) any favors.
So again, once you believe that you’re worth it, you can start to make self care a standard of living and not just an occasional treat.
Now, I’m not saying that suddenly your day revolves around self care and everything is perfect. I definitely get the struggle of being crunched for time (I’ve been a math student and working…and that was ROUGH). So, I also want to show you there are self care activities that you can do without dramatically changing your routine (or suddenly defying the space-time continuum and creating on more hours in the day).
7 Self Care Lifestyle Changes You Can Start Today
One: Eat Mindfully
We eat everyday, all the time. Well, all the time if you’re anything like me. But with the fast-paced lifestyle we’re all living today, we’re skipping breakfasts, eating in our cars, and scarfing down take-out all the time.
I absolutely love food and believe that enjoying it is part of living a full life. Whether you’re eating food for your body or food for your soul, it’ll mean so much more if you’re present during the process. Not only that, but you can also improve your relationship with food and limit emotional eating when you eat mindfully.
Related: 10 Totally Free Self Care Activities
Two: Keep Your Morning
Your alarm goes off. You hit snooze. It goes off again. You pick up your phone, look at the time, and groan. You know you should get up, but you’re not quite there mentally. So, you browse your Facebook, take a peek at Instagram, and maybe check your email. About 10-15 minutes later, you slowly plop out of bed and get your day started.
As a blogger (and former student with afternoon classes), I’m all too familiar with this routine. I have a bad habit of letting social media wake me up. But the problem with this, is that you start your day with the needs of other people. You see all your friends’ Facebook statuses, get emails from your boss and you mom, and see everyone with their Instagram perfect lives.
Everyone else’s lives and their needs set the tone for your day. But you don’t get to focus on yourself and just be you. Instead, spend time in the morning waking up the way you want to or even create a morning routine to make sure you start the day right.
Three: Self Love Hygiene
This idea struck me the other day and I was browsing through Bath & Body Works. They were having an awesome 75% off sale and their lotions and body washes (basically the only time I can ever afford them).
Self care can be tough to grasp. It’s so abstract and it can be difficult to picture in your everyday life. So, I decided to purchase a body wash with the intention of making it my “self care” shower gel.
Whenever I use that shower gel, I try to be present in the moment, think body positive thoughts, and focusing on the good things I’m looking forward to during the day (or calming thoughts if I’m showering at night).
Sometimes we just need a tangible reminder that we’re worth it. So getting products that you use everyday specifically for self care can create that. We aren’t going extremely out of our way in terms of money, time, or effort. Yet, we’re still making self care a part of our daily routine.
Bonus: If you shower in a morning, throw on a hair mask at night to wake up to luscious locks!
Four: Maintain a Sleep Schedule
I’ll be honest. If sleep was a love language, it’d be one of mine. Ever since high school, I’ve always needed a regular sleep schedule (and lots of it).
With the glorification of “business” in our culture these days, sleep has fallen by the wayside. Everybody is fueling themselves with coffee and energy drinks. But nothing beats the real thing. If you keep a regular sleep schedule (going to bed and waking up at about the same time everyday) you’ll get the consistency your body needs.
Bonus points for good sleep hygiene too! For example, no long naps, watching TV or doing other activities in bed, and turning off electronics before bed.
Related: Self Care Newbie Mistakes to Avoidb:
Five: Driveway Meditation
Sometimes before my mom would come inside from work, she would sit in the garage (after turning off her car, obviously) for 10-15 minutes. Now that I’m living on my own, I catch myself doing the same thing. I pull into a parking space at my apartment complex and just sit there for 10 minutes before coming inside.
There’s nothing in particular I’m doing. But more than anything, I just want a moment to myself before I get home and have yet another long to-do list to tackle.
Other than our poor family dog who anxiously awaited my mom walking in the door, no one minded the extra 10 minutes she took to herself. My boyfriend doesn’t mind waiting a bit before we start dinner. To everyone else, it’s just part of the time “until you come home.”
But for you, this the time for you to decompress from your day, have a moment of peace, and be by yourself. Even if you’ve got a busy family waiting at home, they’ll be fine waiting the extra few minutes for you to gather yourself and reset for home life (especially if you’re coming from work). Even at that, your interactions with everyone at home will probably be better off if you’ve had an otherwise stressful day!
Six: Park at a Distance
Everyone is sooooo busy these days. We’re constantly going, going, going. And it gets exhausting! Sometimes it feels like we just need a break and need to slow down.
I started doing this in high school when I was feeling particularly stressed and overwhelmed. If I want to slow down my day, I park farther away from wherever I’m going. It’s especially good on days where you’re running errands!
As you’re walking into Target, go slowly. Don’t just dash in to grab your stuff and run. Take your time, walk with intention, and slow down your day. I promise it’ll make you feel so much better!
Seven: Turn Off Notifications
This was an amazing tip from Think Creative Collective (a blog and business for creative entrepreneurs). I went through my phone and turned off notifications for all my apps except for messages and my phone. I also arranged my phone screen so that I just have 3 apps on the front screen.
Now, whenever I go on my phone, it’s out of action and not reaction. I’m choosing to check on the goodness that happening in the Facebook group, not reacting to my phone buzzing and frantically half-assing my responses.
This trick is a lifesaver to keeping me from feeling like my digital life is just me running around like a headless chicken. I can choose when to engage in social media and have a much cooler head when I do.
Want a daily reminder to prioritize your self care routine? Download my FREE self care planner printables! You get four colors and two formats to try. Enjoy!