I’d like you to close your eyes for a minute and picture a self care act. Seriously, do it.
I bet you pictured a long bubble bath with a vase of flowers on the side of the tub, classical music playing in the background, and no kids in sight.
I’d also bet that you haven’t had that in a long long time. Me either. Who has time to prepare all that? (If you do, GO YOU. Take advantage.)
The good news is that self care doesn’t have to take hours and hours. In fact, most of my self care techniques take less than 5 minutes a day. It’s about taking advantage of as many opportunities as possible and know what constitutes self care for you.
The bad news is that I cannot tell you exactly how to cover your self care needs in 5 minutes a day. What I mean is that, self care is a very personal act. Only you know how to recharge yourself. But I can get you started…I hope.
How to Fit in Self Care
1. Make a list of everything you find relaxing. Talking with friends, doing your nails, reading a book, meditating, doing the dishes (okay that may be a stretch). It doesn’t matter what it is or if it’s a typical form of relaxation. If it’s relaxing for you, write it down.
2. Look at your schedule. Is 5 minutes a day feasible or could you instead of 10 minutes every other day, 15 minutes three times a week, etc. If fitting self care in every day is stressful it’s not going to be worth it. It’s also possible that 5 minutes at a time may not be worth it for you. You may need more time to really relax for the benefits. Know yourself.
3. Match up your list with you schedule. If you decided you have 15 minutes three times a week determine what activities you can do in 15 minutes.
4. Commit. Let’s be honest, the hardest part of self care isn’t finding the time or deciding what to do. The hardest part is actually doing it. Every time I have a free 5 minutes I wonder what I can get done – start laundry, dishes, bathroom in peace?
5. Vanquish guilt. I have so many friends that feel guilty for taking time for themselves. Don’t!! Your kids need to see that you choose to be healthy. They can sacrifice 5 minutes for your sanity.
My Self Care Habits
I’d like to outline my self care habits to (hopefully) inspire some people. My husband works on call which means that I rarely have a set time with built in child care. That means I have to take advantage of kid free time whenever I can get it. Sometimes I have absolutely no warning that he will be available to give me a break.
So I fit my self care in at nights, randomly throughout the day, and the few times I can fit in when my husband is free. It’s a grand mish mash of time in little pockets.
I read, watch TV, knit, play music, meditate…and most often, take a bathroom break alone.
Yes, my big self care secret is hiding in the bathroom for 5 minutes at a time whenever I need to. My kids are old enough that they don’t bother me (the threat of seeing my wipe is enough to keep them away) so I use that time.
Quick Self Care Ideas
Here are ten more things you can do for 5-15 minutes a day (though this list is not all encompassing…not even close). And of course, you can easily spend more time if you want!
- Exercise (run, yoga, hula hoop, stretch, pilates)
- Crafting (Knit, crochet, needlework, sew, paint, draw)
- Music (Listen to music, play music, write music)
- Meditate (There are apps for guided meditation or just go it alone).
- Cell phone (apps for games can be so fun and fairly relaxing)
- Beautify (Make up, hair, nails, try on clothes – whatever makes you feel beautiful)
- Cook or bake (It can be healthy stuff too, if this relaxes you!)
- Anything in the bathroom. If you can get in the bathroom without kids banging on the door then you can take self care time in the bathroom. Shower, primp, just sit.
- Close your eyes. Find a quiet spot (if that exists) and just close your eyes.
I won’t lie – sometimes I put on the TV for my self care time. Or I take my time during their video game time. It’s all about finding those pockets of time. I can do the dishes while they run around. So when they are occupied, it’s me time.