I know what you’re thinking: ‘I don’t have the time to take care of myself! Do you have any idea what my planner looks like?!’ It turns out that the moments when you need to practice self-care most are exactly when you are least prepared to take the time out. So if you think you’re far too busy to practice self-care, think again! Refreshing yourself and restoring some energy doesn’t have to take much time or effort. Often, it’s not about the task you’re performing to make yourself feel better, but the fact that you are doing it actively. Consciously completing something successfully is really good for your soul, and this can be the smallest task. Here are my quick fixes for self-care, which come in especially handy when I’m having a stressful time (e.g. all of third-year)!. Some of these things will be no-brainers, but it’s good to keep a list for yourself so that you can quickly pick out something to do when everything gets a little overwhelming.
1. Quick Pamper: Run yourself a bath, put on a face mask, or even just take the time to cut your nails. For an instant fix, just wash your face or exfoliate. This could even just be a long shower!
2. Give a friend/family member a call: This call doesn’t have to be about you and how stressed you are at the moment. Listen to someone else and it will give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
3. Give someone a hug: Bonus: you get one, too!
4. Go for a walk: I’m not talking about a massive adventure here. This can literally be just around the block, or to Tesco. Bonus: get yourself some fresh food and hit two birds with one stone!
5. Make yourself a hot beverage: Turn this into a ceremony! Rather than absent-mindedly making yourself a cup o’ joe, maybe try a loose leaf tea, time the immersion length and drink out of your favourite tea cup. You get the jist.
6. Prepare a meal: Same concept as the tea. Rather than absent-mindedly munching on whatever you can find, make sure that you are aware of what is entering your body and engage in the whole process of nourishing yourself.
7. Clear your space: At home, bring your dishes downstairs. Make your bed. Move clutter away from your desk to gain some clarity. If you are on the computer, delete some items that are unnecessary. A quick way to do this is to declutter your ‘Downloads’ folder or empty your Trash (feels amazing).
8. Change your clothes: If you’re at home: put on something you would wear to leave the house in, rather than constantly wearing loungewear. You will feel so much more ready when you put on a fresh set of clothes that isn’t just a promotional T-shirt from Klute and your holy joggers. At the very least, change out of your pyjamas to feel prepared for the day.
9. Write a list: I’ve learned to love lists! All the things that are worrying you, all the tasks that seem too big to manage and are keeping you from getting on with what you need to do: write them down. It may seem like an intimidating thing to do – visualizing all the things you are afraid of, but at least now, you have a grasp of them and can then shut them out properly by closing your notebook. Out of sight, out of mind.
10. Mini meditation: Close your eyes, eliminate all noise and focus on your breathing. If you struggle with this in the beginning because there’s too much noise in your mind, drain it out with some instrumental (!) music. All you need is ten minutes.