How to Practice Self-Care as a Busy Woman: Priority One is YOU!

Apr 5, 2024 | Main Blog | 0 comments

Ever feel like you just don’t have enough time in the day for me-time?

Maybe you’re juggling deadlines at work, taking care of your kids, or carrying out commitments you made with your friends. Sometimes, when life turns into one blocked-out calendar, the last thing that gets prioritized is time to yourself.

But self-care isn’t something to scoff at. This is time spent taking care of yourself, recharging your energy levels, and ensuring that you’re not burning yourself out.

With National Self-Care Day taking place on April 5, take this as your cue to start prioritizing your mental health.

Here are some strategies to help you practice self-care when you have a busy schedule. If you want to live a happy and fulfilled life, then there is no excuse for putting off your mental well-being.

  1. Set clear boundaries

Like many women, I struggle with being a people pleaser and saying no to things. I’ve often experienced weekend remorse on Monday mornings, feeling drained after attending a million commitments.

When it comes to making time for myself, I’ve learnt to set boundaries around my time and to say no to things that simply aren’t a priority. This might mean saying no to the occasional late-night drinks with friends, or the non-urgent evening call from work. A lot of the time, I’ve found that if I explain just how important it is for me to get time to myself, people will listen and respect this.

I’m not saying that you should miss a friend’s birthday party in favor of spending the night at home – but sitting out of the occasional hangout is perfectly acceptable. There will always be social events to attend, and your friends will learn to respect your priorities if you set up clear boundaries.

It is also perfectly reasonable to ask your work not to message you after a certain time or when you’re out of the office. If you stay firm on this, they will find a way to work around it. Remember that you can also block time out in your calendar if you feel like you need to put firmer boundaries in place. Set your status to Busy, so everyone knows not to disturb you.

  1. Make the most of idle time throughout your day

Let’s be honest. The perfect moment for self-care is probably never going to arise when you have a million things going on in your schedule. Sometimes, you just have to make do with whatever time you have available. That starts with idle periods throughout your day, however short they may be.

Your commute time to work might not feel like the ideal time for you to practice self-care, but you also shouldn’t take it for granted. If you’re on a busy metro, put on some noise-cancelling headphones and play a meditation or deep-breathing soundtrack. If you’re driving into work, try putting on a motivational podcast to get you feeling more pumped about the day.

Your lunch break is another opportunity for you to practice self-care. Go for a quick walk around the block or find a quiet space in your office and practice meditation or breathwork. If you’re working in a business district, see if you can find a massage parlor nearby where you can drop in for a quick 30-minute massage during your lunch break. Look for a nearby gym where you can pop in for a quick workout – even a short stretch on a gym mat can be really rejuvenating.

The goal is to make better use of the small pockets of time that are already scattered throughout your day.

  1. Establish good morning and evening routines

How you start and end your day has a huge impact on your mindset and productivity during the hours in between. No matter how busy you get, you can always take small steps to improve your mornings and evenings.

Start with building a few simple self-care habits into your daily routine. As you’re getting ready in the morning, practice saying positive affirmations to yourself. If you’re likely to forget, write down a few affirmations on a Post-it note and stick them on your bathroom mirror.

Think about your goals for the day. What are you looking forward to? What do you hope to achieve? Jot these thoughts down in a quick to-do list – writing down your tasks will help alleviate the mental load that goes into thinking about these tasks throughout the day.

In the evenings, spend five minutes de-stressing by reflecting on your wins, however small they may be. Write down a few things you were grateful for in a gratitude journal.

Try to limit your phone usage – this will help you clear your mind and get to bed a lot faster. Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and with the right evening routine, it won’t take you any effort to do.

  1. Ask your support network for help

There is no shame in asking the people around you for help. Whatever your stress load looks like, remember that there is always someone you can offload a portion of your stress to, even just for a short while.

Ask your partner or a family member to look after your kids for one afternoon while you spend some quality time alone. If you know someone who isn’t too busy on weekdays, why not ask them to help you drop off or pick up your kids from their extracurricular activities?

If you’re stressed at work, talk to your manager to figure out the meetings you must attend, versus the ones where they or someone else in your team can cover for you. Your manager’s job is to help you do your job more efficiently, so it’s also in their interest if you ask them to help you better manage your time.

Don’t be afraid to delegate work or tasks that don’t need to be done by you.

Look into meal delivery services to help you save on dinner prep – meal delivery has come a long way and there are some really healthy options out there. Having a stack of meals banked up in the fridge can come in super handy for the evenings when you’d rather jump into a hot bath and de-stress.

If housework is taking up too much of your spare time, look at hiring a cleaner for the occasional deep clean. You could always limit costs by hiring someone to clean out only the toughest areas of your home, like bathrooms and kitchen appliances. You’ll be amazed at how much time and effort this saves you.

Her Nexx Chapter invites you to join our free Community where women from around the world are connecting with each other’s stories, exploring different experiences, and transforming ideas.

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