The most common hurdle my clients face when creating a self care routine is a lack of time. Between work, chores, and social time, it can feel impossible to find the time for self care. But plenty of high-powered business owners and career women do it! So how do you make time for your self care routine when your calendar is jam-packed? Here are a few ways to get started.
Feel Like There’s Not Enough Time For Self Care?
You’re not alone! These days, we work more than ever and rest very little. And if you’re like most of my coaching clients, you probably feel too drained for self care by the time you’re done with work and household chores. It’s not uncommon, but it is dangerous.
Why You Should Make Time For Your Self Care Routine
Self care has been proven to reduce stress, improve productivity, and boost your overall mood. And in my professional experience, it’s often a “gateway drug” to a healthier life. A client might start out with a journaling practice, and before we know it they’re taking walks on their lunch break and eating more whole foods. Once you feel the benefits of just a few minutes of self care, you’ll become more determined to find even more time for a proper routine.
How to Make Time For Your Self Care Routine
Grab your calendar! Let’s create some space in your schedule for a self care routine. Here are a few ways to get started.
Audit your day.
Most clients who tell me they “don’t have enough time” for self care actually have plenty of time. They’re just using it inefficiently! That’s why the first step in making time for self care is auditing the time you’re already spending.
For one week, carefully track how you spend your time. This requires being really, really honest with yourself. If you waste half an hour scrolling through TikTok, write it down. If you snooze your alarm four times before you get up, write it down. If you take a million five-minute breaks throughout the workday to snuggle your dog, write it down. (Feel free to keep that habit, though!)
After you’ve tracked your time for a week, sit down with your list and highlight the time you feel could be spent more efficiently. The better you understand how you spend your time, the easier it will be to find little pockets of your day when you could be practicing self care.
Habit stack your self care activities.
The concept of habit stacking is one of the most underrated self care “hacks” out there. Basically, you create new habits by attaching them to your current ones. For example, if you drink your coffee on the patio every morning, you could start reading a book during that time to “stack” the two habits together. It’s easier to pair a new habit with an old one than it is to start from scratch.
Here are just a few ways my clients have “habit stacked” their way to more self care:
- Taking a walk during your weekly phone call with your mom.
- Reading or journaling over breakfast and coffee.
- Doing some light stretches while listening to your daily podcast.
- Listening to a guided meditation right before plugging your phone in for the night.
- Drinking a glass of water while you check your emails in the morning.
They might seem like small changes, but they can make a big difference in your overall mood during the day. Plus, when you pair a new habit with one you already love, you’ll actually get excited for the new one!
Wake up ten minutes earlier.
I know, I know. You’ve heard this one a hundred times before. While I’d never recommend everyone wake up at 5am to meditate for an hour before work (good for you if that’s doable!), I do recommend taking the first ten minutes of your day to do something for yourself.
Set your alarm for ten minutes earlier, and use those ten minutes to do some simple self care. Journal about your dreams before you forget them. Open the blinds and take some deep breaths. Stretch before getting out of bed. (Whatever you do, don’t reach for your phone!) Your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day, and even ten minutes can drastically improve your outlook.
Of course, this tip only works if you’re getting enough sleep to begin with. If you’re already running on fumes, take every minute of shut-eye you can get!
Outsource other tasks.
I know it’s easier said than done, but one of the best ways to reclaim your busy schedule is to outsource tasks that don’t require your individual attention. These might be business tasks, like managing emails, posting on Instagram, or balancing your books. Or they might be tasks in your personal life, like grocery shopping or cleaning your house. Yes, outsourcing is an investment, but it’s often worth it to get your time back.
Not sure what to outsource? Use the Eisenhower Matrix! This matrix breaks all your tasks down based on importance and urgency. Here’s how it works:
- Urgent + important tasks need to get done by you, and they need to get done soon.
- Urgent + unimportant tasks need to get done soon, but you could afford to automate or outsource them.
- Nonurgent + important tasks need to get done by you, but could probably wait for a less-busy day.
- Nonurgent +unimportant tasks can be eliminated from your to-do list altogether!
Once you put this matrix into effect, you’ll find that your to-do list is much shorter and your days feel much more open.
Try less conventional types of self care.
Self care isn’t all bubble baths and massages. There are plenty of other forms of self care that are much easier to incorporate into your busy schedule.
To determine if a task counts as self care, ask yourself, “Does this refuel me?” The goal of self care is to help your body and mind recover from the more draining parts of everyday life. It doesn’t always feel good in the moment (like exercise or paying bills), but you should feel refreshed and refueled afterwards.
15 Quick & Easy Self Care Activities to Try
If you don’t currently have a self care routine (or you want to try something new), consider these fifteen quick and easy activities!
- Take a ten-minute walk on your lunch break.
- Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning.
- Instead of scrolling on your phone, read five pages of a book before falling asleep.
- Give yourself a hand or neck massage.
- Journal for five minutes after you “clock out” of work for the day.
- Dance to your favorite music while tidying your house.
- Try dry brushing before your daily shower.
- Play with or snuggle your pet for a few minutes.
- Give yourself a hand massage at your desk.
- Congratulate yourself for something you’ve accomplished today.
- Sit in the sunshine for a few minutes to soak up the Vitamin D.
- Engage in a little bit of self pleasure.
- Spend a few minutes every day organizing your finances.
- Practice mindful eating by savoring your meals without distractions.
- Write down three things you’re grateful for today.
Remember, small changes create big results. Start with just one quick self care activity, and before you know it you’ll be creating an entire self care routine!