You’re “busy” — that’s a given. Between the extra-long work hours, to the time spent keeping your household afloat, you don’t have many hours, or even minutes, to spare. You run full throttle from the moment you wake up until you finally close your eyes at night.
The only problem with your go-go-go mentality is that you may be sacrificing your sense of well-being. You might feel overwhelmed, exhausted and unable to do the things that make you feel like the best version of yourself. So, it’s time to regain control of your out-of-control schedule and start prioritizing you, at least for a little bit of time each day. The following are eight ways to do exactly that.
1. Meditate ASAP
Before you hop out of bed in the morning — or immediately after you stand on your feet — take five to 10 minutes for a quick meditation. Meditation can remind you of all you’re grateful for, which can, in turn, out you in a better mood as the day goes on. Those who have incorporated a simple morning session find they feel de-stressed after even five minutes of deep breathing and positive thinking.
2. Take up a Hobby
A surefire way to make time for you? Schedule it, pay for it and put it in your calendar. The work you do is probably something which you already feel passionate about, but finding a hobby — a relaxing, non-work-related one — will help you unwind.
3. Get Some Exercise
Perhaps your hectic schedule prevents you from working out the way you used to or the way you’d like to. However, the de-stressing and feel-good benefits of working out make the effort worth your while.
Plus, there are plenty of creative ways to sneak exercise into your packed schedule. For example, you might be able to swap your car or public transit commute for one on foot. You might also want to wake up a few minutes early so you have time in the morning before work to exercise without your workload getting in the way later. No matter what, pencil exercise into your planner and stick to it like it’s a work engagement and, we promise, you’ll feel amazing.
4. Make Bath Time, Spa Time
Okay, so you can’t have an aesthetician come out and give you a facial and massage each night, no matter how badly you want that dream to come true. But you can turn your nightly or morning shower ritual into an experience that’s even more relaxing than the two-minute rinse you typically give yourself.
Light a candle and grab a sweet-smelling bar of soap as you hop into the shower. You might also want to turn on a playlist of your favorite music. And, when you get out of the shower, a soft, fluffy towel will be the best way to end your experience on a cozy night. On nights when you have even more time to spare, hop into the tub for an even longer, more relaxing soak.
5. Stretch It Out
Here’s a good one for when you start feeling stress and tension building up midday. Take a few minutes to stretch at your desk. A quick eight-stretch routine can help you diffuse tension from the places you’re most likely to carry it. Your shoulders, neck and lower back will all feel so much better for the few minutes you spend limbering up, which means you’ll feel better, too.
6. Solve That Nagging Pain
It may seem like everyone you know has lower back pain, and that it’s just part of growing up and growing older. But that nagging, non-stop pain that’s bothering you is not something to be ignored.
There are so many sources of lower back pain, but there are even more ways you can remedy the situation, whether with a professional or at home. You could replace your mattress or your shoes to improve your posture. You could stretch out your lower back — at your desk or elsewhere — to diffuse tension when it rises. Or you could perform exercises to strengthen your back and dull the pain over time.
And, of course, if none of these solutions help dull your pain, a professional can help you. See a doctor or chiropractor to help solve the problem once and for all.
7. Chat With Friends and Family
During your commute, while you cook dinner, just after you put the kids in bed… these are all times when you’re free to chat and when other adults will probably be able to talk, too. Catching up with those closest to you makes you feel grounded, happy and resilient.
Consider even talking with your fellow colleagues at lunch or on a quick ten minute walk. Easing your stress levels, especially when at work, will help take the pressure off and or solve a problem you’ve been facing at work.
Plus, if you’re feeling stressed or nervous about something, there’s nothing like a parent or a best friend to build you right back up.
8. Schedule Your Home Routine, Too
Your work schedule is mapped out to a T, but your home life feels a bit more chaotic. We’ve mentioned a few self-care tips that require you to pencil time into your schedule, but this one requires you to create a separate plan for nights after work.
Figure out how much time it’ll take you to cook dinner, clean up and take care of any pet or kid duties. Then, give yourself time to prep your lunch for the next day, hop in the shower, watch shows on the DVR, read, have a cup of tea… whatever it is that helps you wind down and fall asleep. A good night’s sleep should be built into your home routine, of course, because that’s your fuel for getting through the following day.
Now, It’s All About You
Okay, okay, it’s not all about you, but you should never completely lose focus of your own needs and desires. The happiest, best version of you is the one that’s going to be the hardest working and most successful, so why not embrace the above tips? You’ll be happy you did.
By Lexie Lu
Lexie Lu is a freelance designer and blogger. She enjoys researching the latest trends and always has a cup of coffee in close proximity. She manages Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.