Between school, work, household chores, friends, and all of the other responsibilities we have in our lives, we are so busy working to reach our goals that it is easy to neglect what matters most: our health and well-being.
Self-care is defined by the American Psychological Association as the providing of adequate attention to one's own physical and psychological wellness. Regardless of how efficient and hardworking we may be, we all need self-care, as we are not invincible robots built to work 24/7 while withstanding tremendous amounts of stress. Even if we were, the most powerful and productive machines still need to recharge their batteries every once in awhile. Self-care is our metaphorical charger; it is essential to regain our energy, combat stress, and get refocused. Without it, we run the risk of burning out or experiencing other adverse health effects caused by extreme stress.
Incorporating self-care into a busy schedule can be challenging; it tends to lie at the bottom of our priority list, and it’s the first thing we put off when deadlines start encroaching. However, with a little tweaking, any busy student or professional can fit a bit of much-deserved pampering into any hectic schedule, and here’s how:
1. Give your self-care plan some focus
There are countless amounts of ways to practice self-care, and that can be pretty overwhelming. However, before buying a dozen coloring books and signing up for a membership at your local yoga studio, try to pinpoint exactly what you lack the most in your current schedule, and brainstorm what you think will benefit you the most. Are you sitting at a desk all day, desperate for an opportunity to get active? Then try to incorporate physical activities into your schedule. Are you a busy bee with a resume full of leadership positions and a calendar crammed with various commitments? Try taking some time to relax. Whether you’re in desperate need for a creative outlet, some social interaction and support, adventure and new experiences, organization and control, healthy habits, a confidence boost, or just some fun, giving your self-care routine some focus makes it far more efficient and much less daunting.
2. Embark on a 30-Day Self-Care Challenge
If you have no idea where to begin, challenge yourself to do a specific self-care routine every day for 30 days. You can find hundreds of different 30-day Self-Care Challenges created by bloggers if you do a quick search on Pinterest. Pick your favorite, or just do your own thing. If you want to take an additional step, document your challenge publicly on social media, or privately in a journal to reflect on which methods were more effective for you.
3. Pencil self-care into your calendar
If committing to daily self-care activities seems like too much of a commitment, just pull out your calendar and schedule an appointment with yourself. If you pencil in time to entirely dedicate to yourself each week and stick to that plan, nothing can intrude on your self-care schedule, and you’ll have something to look forward to every week.
4. Make an appointment, register for an activity, or make plans with a friend
If scheduling in time for self-care doesn’t work because, let’s face it, it’s almost too easy to cancel an appointment with ourselves, try scheduling time with someone else. Make a hair or nail appointment, register for a Zumba class, sign up for weekly classes at your local art studio, or make plans with a friend – anything that establishes a concrete time commitment in advance and requires effort to cancel.
5. Make your daily routine enjoyable
If you have absolutely no time at all to spare, you can kill two birds with one stone by incorporating self-care into your regular daily routine. Blast your favorite songs and dance along while you get dressed in the morning. Invest in new makeup, lotion, bath bombs, and clothes to pamper yourself and increase your self-confidence. Walk the scenic route to class so you can take a few minutes to unwind. Study at your favorite coffee shop and buy yourself a delicious pastry. There are little ways that you can treat yourself each day without having to significantly change up your schedule- and you deserve to treat yourself.