I absolutely LOVE the self care movement! Especially self care Sundays: I am all signed up for those. Sundays are my selfish day to fill my cup so I can give my best during the week.
One thing I don’t love is that if life gets busy, “self care” can have a reverse effect: where we beat ourselves up for not doing self care. It does sometimes teeter dangerously toward harmfully high self expectations.
For people who have high profile careers, are entrepreneurs, or new mama bears especially, finding an hour for exercise and another 15 minutes for a Korean skin care routine and then another hour for a morning routine and another 30 minutes for meditation is unrealistic.
Instead of being self care, it becomes another chore. And that defeats the purpose entirely.
However, self care is important, especially if you’re run off your feet. Self care heightens focus and productivity, as well as giving your confidence, your mood, your self esteem and your immune system a boost.
So how to balance it?
TIPS FOR AN EASY SELF CARE ROUTINE
MAKE LESS DECISIONS | I eat different variations of basically the same thing at each meal, pre-select my wardrobe, and only ever buy white sheets. It’s boring, but it cuts out so many decisions, making space for more important ones.
Successful people like Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs are known for this. Barack Obama is a fan too, saying “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make”.
He believes that we can only make so many decisions in a day. Why use half of them trying to decide what to eat? DON’T SEEK PERFECTION | Whilst this #noexcuses stuff can be motivating, it can also erode self esteem when there’s just physically not enough hours in a day. Sometimes self care is about saying, “You know what? I did my best today”.
SOMETIMES, MICRO HABITS ARE BETTER | A 9-Step Korean skincare routine, hour-and-a-half long workouts, spending a whole Sunday meal prepping, hour long morning routines, night routines that begin at sundown, and self care Sundays work great… IF they work great for you.
They can work great for some. But they won’t stick if you’re busy because they aren’t sustainable. This can lead to you giving up on the whole thing.
Instead, try budgeting each healthy habit for just two minutes. This way, there will be time to get it done. Here’s how it could help you build a daily self care routine:
Instead of a 20 minute transcendental meditation, try this effective 3 minute morning meditation by Deepak Chopra.
Instead of an hour long workout, try committing to 15 push ups, 15 sit ups, 15 squats, and 3 sun salutations.
Instead of an hour a day of cleaning and housework, try 5 minutes of tidying, putting one load of laundry in the machine, and 1 minute of putting clothing away.
Instead of an hour of morning pages, try 2 minutes of gratitude journalling.
Instead of reading a book a week, try reading 1 page every day.
Even though this seems counter intuitive, you can be more consistent, because it doesn’t take up a lot of time. This consistency gets better results in the long run.
The best part is, once you’re doing the activity, it’s easy to build on it if you can - but if not, you’ll still feel better than if you’d done nothing at all.
JUST FLOW | Let the day unfold and look for opportunities to sneak in a little self care as you go.
Work quiet? Rub in some hand cream.
The kids went down early? Run yourself a hot bath instead of flying into the shower.
Your client running late? Maybe you can quickly sneak in a few squats and sit ups. Seek opportunities for self care rather than trying to plan a routine.
PRIORITISE | Work out what is MOST important for you to feel good. Do you feel gunky without a good skincare regimen, or is exercising more important? Are you doing something because you’ve seen it on Pinterest, or do you truly find it helpful?
Stick with what makes you feel good, prioritise it, and forget the rest.
HEALTH AND FITNESS FOR BUSY PEOPLE
WORKOUT INSURANCE POLICY | I set aside 5 tiny minutes before bed to stretch. That way, if my day gets too crazy to workout, I at least moved. Bonus: it really helps me sleep.
On waking, I do gentle yoga to wake up, then a set of 15 squats, 15 push ups, and 15 sit ups. It wakes me up and motivates me for the day. Plus, if I don’t get onto my yoga mat later, at least I’ve toned my butt and stretched my muscles.
ON VITAMINS | Whilst vitamins should NEVER replace a healthy balanced diet, I take vitamins daily. This ensures my body is getting all the importance nutrients. My immune system gets a little boost too.
(Please check with your doctor to make sure these vitamins are okay for you first, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition or are/planning to be pregnant/breastfeeding).
DO A WORKOUT YOU HAVE TIME FOR | I love Blogilates. Cassey’s energy is upbeat and motivating. Plus, her monthly workout calendars are free.
It’s completely done for you – taking the guesswork and time out of planning a routine. All you need is Youtube and a yoga mat and you’re good to go.
Each day focuses on a different body part and contains 3-5 videos, each one roughly between 3 and 15 minutes long. I just do as many videos each day as I have time for.
If that’s a three minute video, fine. If I can fit in the whole day on the calendar, fantastic.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO EXERCISE IN THE MORNING | The most important thing about exercise is to do it as and when it feels best to you. I love to work out in the morning because it’s over and done with.
However, sometimes when life happens, I do pilates after dinner.
The best time to workout is the time it suits you. It’s more sustainable and relaxing and you’re more likely to stick to a routine.
If that’s first thing in the morning, fantastic. If it’s right before you go to bed, that’s fine too.
BEAUTY ROUTINES FOR BUSY PEOPLE
KEEP IT SIMPLE | I love the idea of a 9 step Korean skincare system. In reality, I don’t have a lot of time to spend on my skin. So I keep it simple.
In the morning, I cleanse with water, tone, do a quick face massage with serum, and moisturise with an SPF moisturiser. In the evening I cleanse with this foaming cleanser, alternate a facial scrub or vitamin C treatment, pop on a night cream and slather my body with lotion.
On Thursday and Friday nights, when I have a bit more time, I’ll add a purifying face mask. On Sundays, I’ll squeeze in a body scrub and a collagen sheet mask. MULTI TASK | I’ll slather my hair in a masque treatment on Sunday morning; then wash it out at night. Before I put on my gloves while washing dishes, I’ll put on an ultra-hydrating hand lotion.
CHOOSE A TANGLE FREE HAIRSTYLE | This serves two purposes. Number one, it’s healthier for your hair, leading to less breakage because you’re not pulling it with a brush all the time.
Number two, you don’t have to spend as much time doing your hair. My go-to faves (or they were, when I had long hair) are braids and messy buns.
These styles can even be worn across two days. A tight braid on day one becomes a loose, romantic boho braid on day two; whilst a tight bun on day one becomes a messy bun on day two.
DIY | I do most of my beauty treatments myself because I often can’t get time to get into a salon. I can do most of them sitting on front of the TV watching a movie with my husband on a Friday night.
With a little practice and some Youtube tutorials you can perfect the art of becoming your own beautician.
MORNING SELF CARE ROUTINE
KEEP IT REAL | A morning routine for productivity isn’t realistic (and defeats the purpose) if it takes until midday. Work out what you have time for in the morning and stick to that.
NO SKIPPING BREAKFAST | But you don’t need to be having a cooked breakfast or oatmeal with the lot, either. Combine fat, carbohydrates and protein for a balanced meal.
I almost always have some variation of quick cooking oats, nuked and ready in seconds. Smoothies make a great healthy portable breakfast.
Supermarkets sell fantastic smoothie mixes in their freezer section now, making it an even faster choice. Just pour some frozen smoothie mix into a blender, add your milk of choice, coconut oil or peanut butter for fat and Greek yoghurt for protein. Winning!
PRAY ON WAKING | When I first open my eyes, I spend the first 30 seconds in a simple prayer. I ask the Universe for guidance and express my gratitude for the day ahead. It sets the tone for my day, connects me to spirit and takes hardly any time.
MEDITATE IN 4 MINUTES | I love these guided meditations from Bexlife. They only take a couple of minutes, are so beautiful and effective and I just love Bex’s energy.
WRITE YOUR TO-DO LIST ON POST-ITS | Stick them up in order of priorities on your desktop. A friend taught me this once and it was a game changer. You can move them around and add to them as your priorities change. They’re always in sight and in mind, and when you’re done you just take off the Post-It.
BEDTIME SELF CARE
PLAY RELAXING MUSIC | This takes no extra time but is so relaxing. It gets your mind right for a restful night’s sleep. Bonus points if you play it before going to bed as opposed to switching on the TV.
MANIFEST WHILE BRUSHING YOUR TEETH | I use visualisation to prepare for the next day while I’m brushing my teeth. I visualise myself waking up early and lady bossing all over tomorrow. I see myself having time and energy to complete my to do list.
This is so powerful I don’t even need to set an alarm clock. I just visualise myself waking up early in the morning, at 6 am.
WEAR PJS THAT FEEL LUXURIOUS AND LOOK CUTE | The more comfortable and sexy you feel, the more relaxed you feel. I recommend satin PJs, cute sweats, or boxers and tee sets with some house shoes for summer.
In winter, I wear my softest, fluffiest robe and cute PJs with some UGGS. (I am seriously so in love with my purple UGGS – I wear them every day all year round. Like walking on clouds. Do yourself a favour and get on the UGG train).
LIGHT A SCENTED CANDLE IN YOUR ROOM | and spritz your pillow with lavender spray about five minutes before bed. This freshens the air, and lavender is a natural sleep aid. Don’t forget to blow out the candle before you get into bed though!
MAGNESIUM OIL | Massage it onto your legs for a restful night’s sleep. Magnesium is proven to help with sleep and it is best absorbed through the skin. I love this one.
Self care doesn’t have to be time consuming. Whilst I would LOVE to spend three hours a day on self care, I don’t have that kind of time.
I spend an hour on my self care all up each day, give or take. It’s an appointment with myself I cannot break.
The rest of the world has my undivided attention for the rest of the time, but that hour for my self care each day is non-negotiable.
With a little creativity and self compassion, you can still prioritise self care whilst juggling a busy schedule. This will help you to keep your cup filled so that you have more light to share with the world.
Now I would love to hear from you. Comment below with your favourite ways to add self care to your day!
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