Hey guys! As a busy full time blogger/student/employee with an addiction to fitness and love of adventuring, my schedule gets pretty full pretty quickly each week. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and end up working when you should be relaxing. I’m sure you may have caught yourself a time or two eating lunch at your desk or over your current project, in an effort to accomplish everything on your to-do list for the day! It seems like there just are not enough hours in the day!! Even with a killer scheduling system, it just seems impossible to do everything and still somehow find time for yourself. It is SO important, though, to set aside some me time and spoil yourself. This doesn’t always have to be something extravagant, although if you need that full day at the spa who I am to stop you!? (In fact, can I come too??). There are tons of little things you can sprinkle throughout your day to help keep you calm, collected, and cool. So here’s 8 Great Self Care Routines, to keep you in the right state of mind.
8) Embrace the Early Morning Silence
I love to sleep in. I love the feeling of hitting snooze and rolling over. The bed is finally warm enough, the room is finally cool enough. I could just stay in bed all day and I have. But, these are precious moments in the morning and taking full advantage of them can help start the day off feeling even better than if you stayed in bed.
I have a dedicated morning routine for my weekdays, which gets me up, out of bed, and wide awake to accomplish the day. Monday through Friday I hit the gym from 4:30am – 5:30am. This helps me get in and out before the gym becomes crowded. I get to start my day with an accomplishment, and it’s really a great feeling to leave the hot sweaty gym and walk into the cool morning breeze. After that I make my way home and start the coffee pot while I clean up. After I’ve run through the shower and before I start getting ready for work I stop. I pour my coffee and I sit in bed and watch 15 minutes of whatever re-run is on. This 15 minutes is sometimes my favorite part of the day. I don’t always have time to take lunch, or just sit when I get home from work. But I always have this period of time, and it helps me relax and maintain a calm front no matter what comes my way that day.
Once I finish my coffee, with this super cute I get ready for work and head out. On my drive I blast sing along music and sing as loudly as I can with all my windows down. Yes, it’s terrible for those poor folks on the road with me (all 3 of them) but it helps me get fired up for the day. This is another great opportunity to steal a few minutes to yourself. I can’t play music while I work (at my job-job or while blogging, or for school for that matter), because I get too distracted. But I love to sing and don’t always have time to throughout the rest of the day. Not to mention that belting out off-key karaoke makes it that much easier to talk with people early in the morning.
My routine may not be your routine. Maybe you can’t fathom seeing a treadmill before seeing the sun. Maybe you hate to sing or watch reruns. And that’s fine, you can create your own morning routine to take back those precious moments the rest of the world is sleeping away. You could also read a book, go for a walk, snuggle with pets, check your social media, or watch the news. Whatever makes you happy, take some time to do it in the morning and you’ll feel great the rest of the day!
7) Actually Take a Break and Enjoy it
Whether you are working from home or from a cubicle, you need to put the keyboard down and step away from the laptop for at least a few minutes every day. Depending on your situation, it might be best to leave the building all together. When I’m at my day job; if I take lunch at my desk or even in the breakroom, I will be asked about at least 3 issues. And yes, I could say “sorry I’m on lunch” but then I’ll just be stressed out thinking about it anyway. Sometimes I have to leave the building completely to take my lunch back. It’s nice to get away and let your mind rest for a short period, and studies show it will actually make you a more productive worker. You could use this time to catch lunch with a friend, have a picnic in the park, catch up on the news or read a few chapters in your book. Whatever you do, be sure to enjoy it!
6) Post Work Cool Down
Just like on my way to work, I blast music and sing at the top of my lungs on the way home. This helps me to re-engerzie and vent any frustration I’ve encountered throughout the day. I know a lot of people who use the gym as their post work outlet to cool off as well. But the idea is the same, to release any negative energy, power up positive energy, and create a blank slate. By the time I get home I feel so much better and I’m able to refocus my energy on one of the other millions things I need to get done. Maybe this is just a small change in your day, but it becomes a really impactful and meaningful way to de-stress.
5) Create a Night Time Routine
Whether it’s this blog, a paper for class, keeping up around the house, or with my family – I am working on something until bed time almost every night. But I learned a long time ago that staying up late one night, will inevitably cause less working time tomorrow. Think about it, how do you feel the next day when you stay up until 1am working on a project? You’re exhausted! It takes longer that next morning to actually wake up and become productive. Even once you start to get in the groove of things, it’s still a struggle to accomplish anything. You end up not getting to sleep until the wee hours again and lather, rinse, repeat.
Don’t do this to yourself! It’s so stressful to put this much pressure on yourself, and it can mess around with your body’s natural timing belt. Some studies show that prolonged periods of reduced sleep can lead to weight gain and health problems! Define a time to put the work away and take care of YOU! I have a hard stop at 9:00pm (remember I get up at 4), when I stop anything I’m doing. At 9:00pm the computer goes off and my PJ’s go on. I wash my face, brush my teeth and hair, and hop into bed. I take 1 hour to catch up on TV or read a bit of a book, and then at 10 it’s time for bed.
It doesn’t have to be as early as me, and maybe you don’t need a full hour to wind down. But by creating a routine and following it each night, it becomes easier and easier to put down what you are working on. And ultimately have a better tomorrow.
4) Don’t Waste Your Weekend
What time does your Saturday morning start? 9am? 10am? Maybe not until lunch? It’s tempting to be a little lazy. But you end up rushing around Sunday afternoon trying to get ready for the week ahead and cursing yourself for wasting all that time. Sound familiar? Sound relaxing?
You know what does sound relaxing? Not worrying about cleaning the kitchen all weekend. Set yourself up for success by knocking out your to-do list first thing. Wake up a few hours earlier and do your grocery shopping, do a load of laundry, maybe sweep the deck. The rest of your household is probably still sleeping their weekend away, and you’ll have started your morning out with a bang. Self-care doesn’t always have to be spending an hour in the bath. The best way to alleviate stress is to resolve the cause ASAP.
3) Of Course There’s Nothing Wrong with a Bath
Who doesn’t love a bath?!? It’s so relaxing. Such a peaceful escape from the world. I could go for a bath right now, matter of fact. But alas, today is not bath day – that’s Wednesday. I try to give myself an hour of real relaxation time at least once a week. It is carved it out in my planner, and it happens come rain or shine. I don’t care if I have a test the next day or family coming over for dinner, it’s my time. I draw a hot bath with some fabulous bath bombs, light some candles pour a glass of wine and turn on my favorite relaxing playlist. It’s pretty amazing.
I went 15 years without taking a bath. It wasn’t until my boyfriend’s deployment, I was so stressed, that a friend said to just go take a bath. It was one of those moments that has changed my life. Wednesday nights are what I look forward to on Sunday, and help me stay sane until Saturday. If you haven’t taken a bath in a while, think you’re too busy, or that it’s not that big of a deal – let me stop you right there. Try it, and then get back to me.
2) Spend Time With Your Family
My family drives me so crazy. Someone is constantly doing something they shouldn’t and the gossip flies like, well flys – constantly and annoyingly. But I love them and I love spending time with them. Whether it’s baking with my cousin, drinks by the pool with my sister, riding bikes down the boardwalk with my dad, or trying to explain the internet to my grandmother, nothing makes me feel more at ease than spending time with these crazy people. It’s a true comfort to experience the feeling of knowing your family is still by your side. Even if I can’t carve out enough time in my schedule to really go visit, I call someone every day. Maybe it’s just a 15 minute conversation, but it can completely change my mood.
So, when was the last time you spent real time with your family? Aside from the chaos that is Thanksgiving and Christmas (it can’t be just my brute), isn’t it something that always makes you smile? Next time you are feeling overwhelmed, call someone you care about just to say hi. Maybe that’s what you can do on the break we all forget to take!
1) Learn to Say “No”
The best self-care tip I can possibly give you is to not overwhelm yourself. If you have a day job and you can’t stay overtime, because you have plans or you have to pick up kids or you just want to go take a bath – just say “no.” When your family calls last minute and insists you come over for dinner, in 1- minutes, when you just put on PJs – just say “no.” It’s okay!!!!! You don’t have to be everything to everybody!! My #1 tip is to make yourself a priority and not feel guilty about it!
Now, go draw up a bath, call our sister, and get ready to go to bed. Tomorrow’s going to be your best day, because now you know how to make it so.
How do you find ways to relax when your plate is full? What’s the #1 thing keeping you stressed?