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Self Care for People Who Don't Have Time for Self Care

Google "self care", and you will find over 2 billion articles. Most focus on why it's so important, and give a list of specific ideas, ranging from extravagant to low/no cost. Typical suggestions include spas, weekend friend getaways, soaking in the tub, and any number of products for sale. If those work for you, meaning you do them, enjoy them, and they contribute to your overall health, wonderful! But for many of the women I've worked with over the years, these just don't work. And what is self care, anyway? It's more about what you do to maintain all aspects of your health and mitigate the stressors in your life. And that means something different to everyone.

For most of us, the biggest challenge to self care is lack of time. We often work around this by looking at exercise as the answer for self care, stress relief, and fitness, and we make it count! We crush our workouts, then get right back to our daily demands. It makes sense, as women are juggling more and more responsibilities and often treat exercise the same way we try to stay on top of everything - multitasking. Maximize the benefit (fitness, stress relief, health), minimize the time! I'm not saying that you should stop exercising, but I do think it's worth evaluating whether your approach is working for you. Be aware that intense workouts, while beneficial in some ways, also raise the level of your stress hormones. If you're exercising regularly, but still feel frazzled or edgy, consider changing up the kinds of exercise, level of intensity, and frequency.

Yes, we know that neglecting our physical and emotional needs leads to poor health and also makes it harder to take care of the needs of those who depend on us. Yes, we know that we deserve to be healthy. And yet, it feels like one more thing on a long list of to-dos. So how can we make self care doable?

Start Where You Are


Start by paying attention to how you treat yourself. Would you treat a friend that way? Remind yourself that there are no prizes for most burnt out, or unhappy, or unhealthy.

Time Bandits

Time is a challenge, so protect it. Identify your time bandits. Sometimes these are habits we've established, like going down the social media rabbit hole, and sometimes it's the people pleasing habit (for more on that topic, read this). Either way, without awareness, we can't make a conscious choice that's compatible with our values. Hint: this is not an easy step, and may take some practice.

Name Your Reasons

Get clear on your whys for self care - there are no right or wrong reasons, but you need to dig deep to maintain your motivation. Start by asking yourself why, then explore why that reason is so important to you.

Try a Small Step Forward


If you aren't sleeping at least 7 hours every night, your work begins here. If you are getting enough sleep but still feel frazzled, or there are things out of your control impacting your sleep (kids, hormones, etc.), make downtime a priority. Even if it's just for 5 minutes, sit down, put your feet up, and close your eyes.

Nourish your Senses

Listen to some calming music (for more on that read this). Go outside and take in the natural world or look out a window at the clouds. Keep a plant or some flowers where you'll see them often. Stand up and stretch. Tune out the world while you slowly enjoy a piece of fruit. Experiment with teas to find one you enjoy. Light a candle. Try some essential oils. Massage some lotion into your skin.

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude journals are great, but if journaling's not for you, keep it simple. Try telling yourself (aloud or in your head) one thing you're grateful for every time you brush your teeth. Hint: tying this habit to something you already do will help you remember.

Speak Kindly

When life seems a struggle or you've had a setback, counter the voice of your inner critic by saying things to yourself (preferably aloud) that your kindest friend would say to encourage you.

Lean on Your Friends

A walk with a friend - two and/or four legged - can do wonders for you.

Self care is always a work in progress. Keep experimenting until you find what works for you.

I hope you found this information useful! Sharing is caring, so please share on social media, or forward to friend. Thanks! Have burning questions about your health & fitness? Email me here.

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