If you’re anything like me, you often find yourself frantically wishing time would slow down.
I regularly struggle with the feeling that life is pulling me in 100 different directions. There are so many different aspects of life to be passionate about: whether it’s a job on its way to becoming a dream career, staying in touch with family and friends, or just small pieces of our everyday routines that are near and dear to our hearts. A few of these things are mandatory in life, a few are not, but all of them are things that bring happiness and joy.
I’ve found that making a little time for yourself is the secret to putting joy back into a busy schedule.
Here are a few ways to practice self-care even in the midst of a busy lifestyle:
Make yourself a priority.
None of these aspirations will become reality unless you set aside the time to practice self-care. I experience days where even a spare hour feels impossible. I promise you that it’s not. Set aside your homework, close your laptop, and take some time for yourself. Treat yourself as you treat important meetings, to-do lists, and other valuable people in your life. Your inbox can last an hour without being checked. You are worth it.
Take time to do the things you love.
Imagine how you would spend your days if you had no work on your agenda. For me, it would involve cooking (but not doing the dishes), hitting the yoga mat, and reading a juicy novel in bed. Obviously, it may not be realistic to accomplish all of these things in one day when more pressing matters take up much of your time and attention. However, notice the types of things that bring you joy and seek them out as often as possible. What if we all took a little time each day to do something we love?
Make both your working and relaxing time meaningful.
My mama taught me this lesson from a young age, and I gotta hand it to her, it’s a good one: make whatever you’re doing really count. So, if you’re going to work – really, really work. Create a distraction-free space, and get down to it.
I have found that I can be most productive if I work without stopping for 20-30 minutes. I turn up the tunes (or, not! You do you) and really get in the zone. After that, my brain is ready for a break. Try out a few different techniques and see what works for you.
Alternatively, when you are taking a break, make that really count as well. When you stop to take some downtime, allow yourself to truly relax. A 20-30 minute break can do wonders for refreshing your mind and body, but not if you spend those 20 minutes worrying about what remains on your to-do list. Or, ahem, scrolling on your phone (guilty).
Overall, remember to be gentle with yourself.
Sometimes, our best intentions to say “no”, to stay on top of our schedules, and to be well-rested and well-prepared, fail. We end up having a busy day, week, or month. When this happens, above all remember to be gentle with yourself and remember that you’re only human. Do your best and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to reach unattainable goals. Remember that whatever is stressing you out will always end eventually, and you will have a fresh start moving forward!