By Dr. Ceymone Dyce
There’s a lot going on.
Do you ever have moments where you just raise your hands & ask “what else is going to happen!?”
Self-care can already be a struggle when things are going well in our day to day but what about when we’re busy, overwhelmed, or just over it?
When you’re busy, taking care of yourself can feel like THE most daunting of tasks and something that can be placed on the back burner. As we become busier, the free time we have gets smaller and you want to make sure it is spent on things that matter. When you have a busy lifestyle, the last thing you want to think about is how to devote time you already don’t have to something that does not provide you some sort of instant gratification.
The problem is, that this mindset can unfortunately become a habit: putting yourself second to last. Much of the sickness we have today is stress related. Over time this buildup spirals out, and now the toxic wave has taken over since you did not listen to your body. You now have emotional distractors. To get back on track you want to focus on what is achievable, attainable, and practical for your busy routine. Instead of providing the general: “do yoga” tip, I want to provide a behind the scenes view on how to make self-care work for you.
Bite-size Self-Care For Busy People
Get Intentional. First and foremost, plan ahead. Put systems into place to help you win before you’re in danger of struggling. You should always have an emotional escape plan, ie. coping skills in your wellness toolbox. You may not always have the time to use them, but you should be aware of what they are. Don’t be afraid to actually write them down either. When I work with clients, I mention that we are all so plugged into our devices, why wouldn’t we place our coping skills there as well? I am a huge advocate of utilizing my mobile “notes” section for ideas and reminders. The goal for staying emotionally healthy when you have zero time is to keep the ideas tailored to your own needs so that you can be consistent and head back to the land of the stress free.
- Keep It Brief. There’s a reason why my work is grounded in the “bite-size” model; no one has the time! Jot down brief activities to help raise the spirits and make the day better. You’d be surprised how small increments over time help to alleviate the mood and change your thoughts and feelings. Personally, I am a huge advocate for skin-care as my self-care and wellness routine. I’m more interested in an activating bubbly face wash after my 12 hour work day, than heading to a group class. Why? It’s tailored to my routine, I can keep the process as long or as short as I need to, and it allows me to have a few moments of mindfulness at minimum, twice a day. Recently, I have really enjoyed winding down with PLANT Apothecary’s SUPERFACIAL Oil Moisturizer. The process of applying herbal infused facial oil, is really the best way for me to decompress after a long and strenuous day.
- Micro-Manage Your Free Time. Listen, you don’t have much of it so why would you not get selfish over the small minutes you actually do have? I suggest spending time with people who you actually believe are worth your energy and begin to filter out those who no longer serve you. From my perspective, free time is a lot like money – are you investing in the wrong circles?
- Find Support. Sometimes it’s nice to know that you are not the only person dealing with what life is currently serving you. When you’re busy, one of the last things you feel like doing is sounding like a broken record to people you feel may not even “get it”. Finding support as self-care is another under-utilized method I think deserves a shout-out, because there is nothing like a village of people who are likeminded and lift one another up in a positive light. This can be anything from finding like-minded podcasts to de-stress as you move about during the day, finding online social communities to voice your opinion and interact with others, or actual weekly support groups in real life for the challenges you may experience. Overall, the goal is to find relatable folks that sing your song.
- Practice The Power of Pause. Patience has been my biggest teacher. When you’re busy one of the hardest things may be to slow down. This can manifest in our thinking, speech, and even emotion. Allow yourself to pause and take a moment prior to a call of action. Give yourself an opportunity to evaluate and process. Often I have my clients envision a STOP sign before making decisions. For example: you’re trying to rush to the next deadline, but maybe you need to pause and utilize some of your deep breathing skills before you open that next email thread.
On my website Your Weekly Follow-Up, I provide weekly bite-size ideas for mental health and wellness, as I understand that self-care is not always easy nor is it always fun. There is an art to taking care of yourself and that does not mean it needs to be complicated. Your goal is to make your self-care so easy, that it is almost foolish not to complete it. You’ve got this.