Self-care for people who don't have time for self-care

Raise your hand if you're feeling stressed out, tired, or overwhelmed. Everyone? Okay.

If you're in counseling already, or you're thinking about making an appointment, you've probably heard how important self-care is to your mental health. One thing I hear often in my work as a counselor is that people don't have time for things like restorative yoga practices, reading for pleasure, and going for walks in the woods. 

I get it. I know how hard it can be to intentionally practice self-care, when you'd just rather zone out in front of the TV at night- especially with the days getting shorter this time of year! But what if it didn't need to be so hard? What if you could just do one small thing to make more time for yourself? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Use your calendar. Whether it's on your phone or in a planner, prioritize your well-being by scheduling time for yourself. Maybe you've been wanting to start your day with prayer or meditation. Set your alarm for a few minutes earlier than you normally would, program your coffee machine to start brewing automatically, and savor a few moments of peace before the day starts.
  2. Make the mundane meaningful. If you drive to work or school, try using that time to listen to uplifting music or a fun podcast. Use public transportation? This is a great opportunity to read that book that's been sitting on your nightstand. If you've wanting to exercise more but feel like you have neither the time nor the energy to start a routine, try squeezing it in while you're doing other things. For example, do calf raises or squats while washing dishes or folding laundry. A little goes a long way, as they say.

  3. Notice where your time goes. For one day, keep a log of everything you're doing- don't do anything different from your normal routine. Maybe you'll notice that your 30-minute Instagram scroll was leaving you feeling unsatisfied. Or that emailing your boss while watching Netflix, cooking dinner, and playing fetch with your dog wasn't as effective as you'd hoped. 

Start out by trying just one of these ways to make more time for yourself. Chances are, you'll feel less anxious and more in control of your time- and life. 

Counseling is an investment of your time and finances, that's for sure. If you're ready to make therapy a part of your self-care plan, you can get started today. Schedule an appointment to take the first step.