15 Practical Self-care Ideas for When You Don’t Have Much Time

Life moves fast. Often we are guilty of getting so caught up in our daily responsibilities and busy schedules, that our self-care routines or making time for ourselves are the first to be sacrificed. Women, in particular, tend to put everyone else’s needs way ahead of their own. These self-care ideas can be a great help for those who are so busy in their lives that they don’t even have time for themselves.

Well, I am here to remind you: self-care is not selfish! Self-care Ideas are an incredibly important aspect of having a well-rounded, happy, and healthy lifestyle.

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Like the well-known quote from Deborah King reminds us: “You can’t pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first.” And it’s true! If we don’t strive to prioritize our well-being, we can’t show up the way we want to, for the important things and people in our lives.

But more than that, the moments you intentionally take for yourself encourage you to recognize your inner strength, resilience, and incredible capabilities. It improves your mood, decreases stress, & can improve your overall quality of life. 

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Below, I have collated a list of attainable, self-care Ideas, or little pieces to fill your cup, even on your busiest days. 

1. Breathwork 

Whether at your desk, on the morning commute, even walking your pet, set a 5-minute timer to practice deep breathing. Connect with your breath, allowing your mind and body to slow down. Deep breathing can help increase energy levels, reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve digestion. Try to make you exhale longer than your inhale, with a short pause before your next inhale. 

2. Drink Water 

One of the best and easiest things you can incorporate into your self-care ideas routine is drinking more water. Sometimes it helps if you grab yourself a water bottle you actually like and keep it in an accessible spot, so you don’t forget! A friend of mine uses one of those gallon-sized water bottles and it helps her drink enough water for the day! Besides detoxifying the body, increased water is linked to improved mood, clearer skin, and relieves headaches. Cheers! 

3. Daily Mantras 

Mantras are a daily dose of joy that you can easily incorporate into your day. I like getting my mantras in the mornings, and I suggest using the iOS app called Mantra. Download the app and each day you will receive an uplifting message to power your day! Mantras are meant to be repeated, so maybe while you’re brushing your teeth, or in between meetings, you can repeat the mantra to yourself to improve your mood and re-focus. 

4. Journal 

Even if you only have five or ten minutes, take a moment to write in your journal. Distance yourself from technology and put pen to paper. In your journal, you can reflect, set goals, write poetry, express gratitude, even share your fears – whatever you want, write it out. If writing isn’t your thing, try voice recording journaling! Regular journaling helps with memory, improves mood, reduces stress, and improves emotional health, as we develop a deeper connection with ourselves. It also allows us to be a little creative! 

5. Order your groceries 

This one may sound random, but it is buying back time for your future self! Phew! Most of your local stores will do at-home delivery or collection, which means you don’t have to spend 2 hours of your week at a grocery store & can instead do something special for yourself with that time. 

6. Connect with a loved one you haven’t talked to in a while

Make a phone date with your old college roommate or a family member that lives far away. Tell them in advance you only have 30 minutes but don’t beat yourself if you get lost in the moment. Catching up with people we love & haven’t had a chance to speak to is an incredible mood boost and is a reminder you are loved. 

7. Move your body 

Physical movement is an incredible gift you can give to yourself. Endorphins do amazing things for the mind, and you’ll instantly feel more productive. There are plenty of free resources online (YouTube!) for you to do a sweaty 20-minute session, or put on your favorite album and dance. 

8. Meditate 

I am a huge advocate for meditation & regularly meditate on myself and use the practice in every boudoir photography session. I suggest the following mediation to start: conjure up an image in yourself in your mind and repeat: “May I be happy. May I be healthy? May I be at ease.” You only need 5 minutes to do this. Meditation improves our self-awareness, concentration, alleviates stress and anxiety. 

9. Laughter 

Laughter is one of the best self-care ideas, and some days, we just don’t do it enough. Put on a silly video, read a funny magazine, or listen to a comedic podcast. Laughter makes us feel joyful but, impressively, it can reduce stress and improve the immune system. 

10. Create a vision board 

We have access to creating free vision boards with Pinterest – no more magazine cut-outs! Create, reflect, and contribute regularly to your vision board, which can be focused on whatever you wish. Your vision board could be about starting a new project, business idea, dream home, or visualizing what your dream life looks like. Seeing inspirational content curated by you is very soothing and motivating. 

11. Learn a new language 

With apps like Duolingo and Babel, learning a new language is at our fingertips and some only require 10 minutes a day. It’s a time-conscious hobby that will allow you to tap into a new part of your brain, challenge yourself and leave you feeling impressed and proud of yourself – & excited for your next vacation! 

12. Tidy your space 

Throw on some music or your favorite podcast and tackle a dreaded area that needs re-organizing or tidying. There is nothing better than an organized, functional space to feel less stress and increase zen in your space. Plus, this can only take 20 minutes! 

13.  Get outside 

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Fresh air should be a key part of your self-care routine and is quite easy to incorporate. Maybe it means spending 20 minutes tending to your garden (even if it’s a little herb garden!), having your morning drink on the patio, taking advantage of a local park, or doing some deep breathing or meditation while outside! Fresh air helps the immune system, is energizing, can improve our mood & can improve blood pressure and heart rate. 

14. Plan ahead 

Look at your calendar and prioritize yourself in the coming weeks and months. This can mean booking something a bit more “time-consuming” but equally important like a workout class, a hike, seeing a new film, a soothing massage, or scheduling a boudoir photography session. It does wonders for our mental health, too, to have something exciting to look forward to. 

 15.  Say No

Asserting boundaries and saying “no,” is a true act of self-love and self-care. Boundaries help us recognize what we need to do now, and what can wait for when we feel better, more energized, and have the emotional or mental capacity. By saying no, it means saying yes to number one! It frees up your time and allows you to carve more space for rest and restoration or time for a new hobby – all working to improve your well-being. 

15 Practical Self Care Ideas for When You Don't Have Much Time. Woman in a boudoir pose wearing heels and a furry vest but nothing else. Photo by Embodied Art Boudoir. Self care, self love, self care ideas, pampering, fast self care, practical self care, breathwork, save time, mantra, yoga, meditate, busy days, lower stress, boundaries, denver boudoir, photographer

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