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Quick Tips: Self Care For Busy People

When the phrase “self care” began to permeate mainstream media, I was one of those who acknowledged but dismissed the words. It’s a nice idea, I thought to myself, but who has the time?

I think a common misconception around the idea of self care is that it is a daunting, time-consuming practice that requires hours upon hours – and, if you’re like me, those hours are likely already dedicated to someone or something else.

Self care is commonly thought of as pampering, as something akin to a day at the spa or a shopping spree – a luxury that sounds lovely but is difficult to fit into an ordinary schedule. But self care shouldn’t be seen as a luxury, it should be seen as a necessity – and a necessity that can be easily, incrementally incorporated into the everyday.

Identify the need.

Odds are, you don’t really need a spa day or shopping spree to feel that you are caring for yourself. Rather, your need could be as simple as some extra peace and quiet – which could be found by waking up an hour earlier than your family, or by taking a leisurely walk by yourself at twilight. Before you scramble to “make yourself feel better,” first take the time to identify what, exactly, would really make yourself feel better.

Start small.

On a busy day, you may not have an hour to spare – but what about 15 minutes? Would 15 minutes reading under a tree or walking around the block or calling an old friend make you feel better and cared for? If so, give yourself those 15 minutes – with the goal being to eventually expand from there.

Schedule it in.

It’s so easy to become a slave to our calendars – and the meetings, appointments and errands that other people pencil in. Before your week fills up entirely, go through it and find a few time slots that you are able to take for yourself – and block them out. Really.

Be firm.

Say you’ve already scheduled a yoga or meditation class when a colleague wants to book you for that same time slot. Unless it really is an emergency, stand firm. Say that you are unavailable at that time. You don’t need to say why, and you definitely don’t need to apologize. Remember: Self care is not a luxury. It is an absolute necessity, required for both your physical and mental health – and you are the only one who can give it to yourself.

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