Taking easy, small actions contributes to your greater wellbeing.
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
We all know self-care should be a priority. But most of us don’t have the time to make it a priority.
Here is something that you probably didn’t know: The busier you are, the greater self-care you need. Doctors like Dr. Christiane Northrup have found that “being too busy can cause serious health problems.” When you don’t engage in self-care equal to your busyness, you create an internal imbalance, leading to higher stress levels and a decline in health and happiness.
Self-care is necessary to your optimal health and survival on this planet. If you want to truly thrive in your business and home life, it’s time to add nourishment to your routine. Feeling replenished from the inside out will bring you gifts of more energy, creativity and greater space for problem-solving and time for the things you love.
Here are five ways to add self-care into your busy schedule:
Decide that self-care is a priority
Making self-care a priority is harder when you haven’t decided to make it one. A wishy-washy commitment to self-care won’t make it happen. If taking care of yourself is truly something you want to focus on, then make a decision to make it a top three priority in your life. The International Center of Self-Care Research identified one of the struggles of implementing self-care to be changing old behaviors. Making self-care a priority will aid in your desire to build a new habit. Your inner commitment will lead to outer actions to support your decision.
Related: The Importance of Respecting Your Priorities
Add self-care to your calendar
If it’s not in your calendar, it may as well not be happening! When you are starting something new or taking a commitment to the next level, a plan will help you set the foundation for it. Once you’ve made a decision, it’s time to make a plan and carve out time for it. What days or times do you commit to your self-care? First decide when you will engage in self-care, add it to your calendar, then decide what you will do. If you are just starting out, pick 1-3 days where you will schedule self-care in. There are numerous self-care activities that you can do which range from caring for your body, your mind and your spirit. Perhaps you will schedule in time to move your body for 30 minutes, or take a long bath after work, or spend time cooking a nourishing meal for yourself. Think about what rejuvenates and energizes you. Create a designated time for your self-care to reap the benefits.
Related: The Benefits of Blocked Times on Your Calendar for Priority Tasks
Start with 10 minutes
Not sure where or how to start? Start with 10 minutes. Self-care doesn’t have to take long, it just has to happen. A 10-minute break can do wonders for your body and spirit. According to this study by Cornell University, spending just 10 minutes in a natural environment can improve moods and reduce blood pressure.
You can scatter 10-minute breaks throughout your workday. For example, you can schedule a 10-minute self-care break after every two hours of work. During those 10 minutes, you can go outside and bask in the sun, take a walk around the block, turn on your favorite music, or read 10 pages of a book that energizes you. Most importantly, turn off all distractions during these 10 minutes. A true break will give your brain and eyes a rest, so make sure to keep your environment as digital-free as possible during this time.
Related: 10 Simple Ways to Take Care of Yourself
Show up to your appointment with yourself
This is the most important step and cancels out all the rest if it doesn’t happen. How can you be true to your word and follow up with what you decided? We are so particular about being on time for doctor’s appointments, hair appointments and job interviews. Why are we not that particular to show up for appointments with ourselves? This one is of primetime importance. You can do all the planning and scheduling in the world, but if you don’t show up to your self-care appointment, you may as well have wasted your time planning. This is where the magic happens if you show up. Commit to showing up to your self-care appointment as you would for a meeting with someone else.
Stop worrying about doing it right, and do something
With self-care being a buzzword, people are caught up in what is the “right way” to do it. Don’t let this question and worry stop you from actually engaging in self-care. The truth is self-care is a personal act. What self-care is for you might be annoying for someone else. Some people love music and dance, others love quiet time and reading. This is your opportunity to discover your self-care preferences. At a very simple level, self-care is bringing the focus back to you and your needs. What do you need at this moment? What will help you thrive? Test, trial and evaluate. Don’t overthink it and go do that self-care thing.
As you sprinkle self-care into your busy schedule, it will start to become a habit. It will feel less of a scheduling exercise as your body will have a natural inclination towards it the more you do it. It’s okay if you find yourself with resistance in the beginning, this is totally natural. Our brains always find a way to stay in our comfort zone because it feels safe and familiar. Don’t let this discourage you, and instead focus on breaking through this starting barrier with a 30-90 day commitment to start. This is why the scheduling comes in handy initially.
Don’t think of self-care as a chore. Instead, think of it as adding deposits of joy into your day that nourishes and energizes you. Soon you will start to notice the benefits you are reaping from these small actions and you will look forward to your self-care breaks.
Related: How to Fit Self-Care Into Your Crazy Busy Entrepreneurial Days