Finding time for self-care is a struggle.
As a college student and part-time employee, I struggle to make time to take care of myself. I find myself equating my self-worth to my productivity. When I do make time to go for a run or watch a couple episodes of a TV show, I feel guilty when I think about all of the more productive things I could be doing instead.
Can you relate to this? Do you find it difficult to relax or feel guilty when you do nothing?
Indeed, these are common feelings, but the truth is: You will meet all of your obligations with more motivation if you take better care of yourself. Even taking 30 minutes in your day to meditate, practice yoga, or recharge goes a long way for your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Here are six ways to squeeze self-care into your busy schedules.
1. Extra Exercise
Making a commitment to exercise regularly can be daunting when it feels like a large and serious time-suck. But short but frequent workouts are just as impactful and important as intense and lengthy gym workouts. In fact, Dr. Claudia Chae said in the Los Angeles Times that she suggests exercising vigorously at least one to two times per week for at least 11 to 24 minutes per session.
"If you can increase the frequency, you can get even more benefit," she stated.
Here are some tips to fit in quick exercise sessions in your day:
- Sign up for a gym close to your job. This way, you can do a 30-minute workout on your way to or from work.
- Leave your workout clothes out and ready to go. When you come home, you're then all set for a quick walk or run.
- Set a consistent time to exercise. Maybe it’s a 30-minute walk before work, during lunch, or after work. Stick to that time. Consistency is key.
2. Listen To Your Body
We have to tell our bodies “no” all of the time in our everyday lives. “No” - I can’t go to the bathroom until this meeting is over. “No” - I can’t eat that much or that particular food. “No”- there’s no time to be sick or tired.
But, keep in mind: Your body is on your team. It shares your goals, and sometimes it knows how to get you there better than you do. So, listen to your body when it’s communicating with you! If you have a headache, sit down for a few minutes and drink some water. If you have relentless cravings, eat something nutritional and tasty.
Cooperating with your body’s wants and needs takes less energy than trying to suppress them, and you will ultimately be able to exercise, work, and play with more strength.
3. Squeeze in Some Yoga
There is room for yoga in your day!
Can you think of a better way than yoga to wind down after a long day at work? Find a yoga studio or a gym near you that offers yoga classes in a variety of styles. This is an easy and convenient way to fit breathing and stretching into your daily schedule.
Another option: You don’t have to go to a gym or yoga studio to take a yoga class. Pack your mat and find a local park or beach. This way you can unwind, breathe, and connect with nature! No outdoor space nearby? No worries! You can roll out your mat on your floor and practice on your own. Consider bringing your kids in on the yoga fun too! A few minutes of yoga at home every day can help the whole family make positive strides toward establishing healthy habits.
4. Do Absolutely Nothing!
I mentioned earlier that I find myself equating my self-worth with my productivity.
Sometimes I don’t allow myself to have a good day unless I get some work done. Sometimes my work takes over entire days, weeks, and months. Oftentimes, I go way too long without allowing myself to relax or have fun. If you feel a similar pressure to be productive all of the time, join me in tossing that pressure out the window!
I challenge you to spend at least one hour this week doing nothing that you deem productive. Whatever looks like fun to you, do it! Your work is important and people depend on you every day. But, your joy and well-being is just as important - if not more.
5. Learn Something New
Here at Pretzel Kids yoga, we are big believers in learning new skills to better your life and the lives of children.
For you maybe this means signing up for a pottery class or joining a running club. Or, maybe you follow your passion and get certified in a new skill that will help you earn more money doing something you love. For example, the online Pretzel Kids Yoga Teacher Training Course is a popular choice among teachers and moms who want to learn to teach kids yoga. If you've got limited time, no problem. You can take the self-paced, online Pretzel Kids yoga certification course from the comfort of your couch (no more excuses!)
So, take some time to find a class, course or indulge in a new hobby!
6. Create Something
It’s time to get in touch with your creative side! There are so many opportunities to create something on the regular. Here are some simple ideas for everyday creativity:
- Try cooking a new recipe for dinner. Experiment with new flavors and enjoy cooking as an art form rather than a chore.
- Write a haiku at the end or beginning of each day. Haikus are fun and simple to write. The first line is five syllables, the second line is seven syllables, and the third line is five. This will give you a moment to be creative in your day and it will also capture what you’re thinking about, which is cool to look back on.
- Use a posterboard to create an ongoing collage. When you see stickers, pictures, or pages you like, put them on your collage.
- Do you commute on a bus or train frequently? Use that time for journaling some self-reflection. You can also take 30 minutes a day to journal from anywhere!
- Write your plans and to-dos on a whiteboard or planner. Add some doodles and color to it. Decorating is a soothing process for some people and it will make your list of responsibilities pop!
No Excuses - Make Time for Yourself!
We get it: It’s difficult to fit self-care into your everyday lives. It can be easy to feel like there’s little to no time. And even if there is time, you may feel guilty for using it to relax instead of being productive.
But self-care is crucial for your health. These six simple and quick suggestions should prepare you to spend at least one hour per week on yourself. Are you ready to give it a go?
About Ocean Noah: Ocean is a content writer at Pretzel Kids yoga. Originally from Los Angeles, Ocean moved to San Francisco to study creative writing at San Francisco State University. She writes fiction, blog posts, and op-eds. Ocean is thrilled to write for Pretzel Kids, as her mother is a yogi too!