Self-care isn’t about taking bubble baths when you should be doing something more important; caring for yourself ensures you make yourself a priority each day. While self-care can be difficult to prioritize every single day, it’s a necessity. After all, you don’t live to work; you work to live. However, it should go beyond vacations and trips to the spa. Self-care is something you can do daily, even if it’s just for a few minutes. But how do you prioritize caring for yourself when you’re busy? Between work, chores, and spending time with loved ones, it can be difficult to find any amount of time in your day to practice self-care.
If you understand the importance of self-care but can’t seem to find the time to practice it, you’ve come to the right place. Here are easy steps to start prioritizing yourself.
Set Aside Time
Planning will ensure you have enough time each day to spend practicing self-care. Of course, it depends on what your version of self-care looks like. To some, self-care involves exercise, but to others, it means setting aside time where they can focus on a hobby or activity they enjoy, such as reading a book.
The good news is you don’t need to set aside a large chunk of time to practice self-care, you can start by claiming 15 minutes a day for yourself. For some, losing just fifteen minutes a day is enough to induce anxiety because they feel like they have so much work to do and not enough time to finish it. However, taking time out of your day that allows you to focus on yourself and your needs can make you feel more productive.
Believe it or not, you can even practice self-care while you’re at work. For example, you can use your lunch break to meditate or hit the gym, depending on how much time you have. When you take a break from work and the rest of your responsibilities, you free up your mind and body to reset for a more productive afternoon, which is why so many experts agree you should be using your lunch break as a break and not working through it.
Essentially, even though you’re losing time for another activity, you’ll be more productive in all the tasks and chores you have to do after your self-care break.
Self-care means taking care of your body’s needs, not just doing what you want to do. Instead of eating food you might truly enjoy, such as a big greasy burger at lunch, consider eating right by switching to a salad for one meal per day. Even though it might not feel like you’re practicing self-care because you’re not doing exactly what you want to do, you’re doing exactly what you need to do to correctly fuel your body for the rest of its day.
As you probably know, eating junk food at work can make you feel lethargic and results in less productivity. Instead, eat a healthy meal that fuels your body and mind for a more productive day, which means getting more work done and reducing overall stress.
Even the busiest of people should find a way to regularly exercise. While sometimes getting up early to go to the gym can feel like a chore, you’ll eventually get into the habit of working out, and it might even become fun. Not only that, but you’ll notice a drastic increase in your energy levels and mood, which can help you be more productive during the day.
It’s a common misconception that doing multiple things at once helps you get things done faster. When you can’t focus all of your energy on one task, it can take you much longer to complete all of your tasks. Multitasking also decreases the quality of your work, so if you’re doing something important, you might notice small errors you wouldn’t have made if you were focusing on that one task. Making errors means spending even more time going back and making corrections, so there’s no reason to multitask.
Additionally, doing multiple tasks at one time can increase your stress levels. If you get overwhelmed, it can be difficult to take a step back and start working on a single task at a time.
Don’t Compare Yourself
If you’re someone who loves to scroll social media and learn about what’s going on in other people’s lives, it can be easy to compare your life to someone else’s. Remember, you don’t know much else about what could be going on in someone’s life, so there’s no reason to compare yourself to them. So the next time you get jealous that a friend you had in high school went on a three-week-long vacation to the Bahamas, take some time to look at and value all of the good things you have in your life that someone else might not have at this moment.
Instead of worrying about what you don’t have, focus on what you do have. By practicing gratitude, you can train your brain to be more positive in everyday stressful situations. Instead of worrying about the fact that you missed a deadline or your boss didn’t like your presentation, you can focus on the good things, including the things you have in your home life, such as your family and pets.
Practicing gratitude is easy, and you can do it any time of day. If you truly want to train your brain to be more positive, consider writing in a journal every night. You can simply list all of the things you’re grateful for to remind yourself why you should be happy.
Journaling also comes with other benefits, such as improved mood and can help you relax enough to fall asleep faster at night.
Start a Routine
Now that you understand all of the ways you can start prioritizing self-care, it’s time to add it to your daily routine. Again, all it takes is 15 minutes (or less) a day to start practicing self-care. Your self-care routine can include anything from using your daily acne treatment to walking your dog around the neighborhood; whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s something that will benefit your life in some way.
Becoming a Priority in Your Own Life
Before you can start prioritizing self-care, you must realize you should be a priority in your own life. Treat yourself the same way you would your best friend by never putting yourself down and trying to focus more of your energy on the good things you have in life.
Julia Olivas Julia Olivas graduated from San Francisco State University with her B.A. in Communication Studies. She is a freelance writer where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing and content creation. Outside of writing, she loves cooking, reading, painting, and her pup Ruby.