Living the life you want means making time for yourself. Think you’re too busy? Try these self-care activities that you can complete in 30 minutes or less.
Plus, I’ve made a self care printable version of my journal page full of easy self care ideas to help you remember to make time to savor the moment and practice a daily self care routine.
Personal and Professional Commitments Getting in the Way?
If you’re anything like me, you don’t make enough time for yourself.
You know the routine. Everyday life fills your schedule to bursting, your time is planned and scheduled to the max, and don’t ask anyone for help.
You don’t want work or family to suffer. So you suffer, instead.
You give up sleep, skip meals, neglect your workouts, and forgo leisure time, with a nary a thought to enjoying the present moment or ensuring your mental health and well being are keeping up.
Before you know it, you’re exhausted, cranky, and you’ve lost sight of why you’re doing it all. Whatever “it all” means to you.
Sound familiar? It happens to all of us at some point. I think Moms are especially guilty of putting themselves last, and our excuse is almost always the same: “I don’t have time for myself.”
Of course, moms aren’t the only ones bad at practicing self care. Young professionals, dads, college students, and even grandparents fall into the trap of putting everyone else’s needs before their own physical health and emotional well being.
Oh, my friends, I’ve been there!
I was there last week, in fact…. I was working from home during Spring break with flu-ridden kids, and a husband away on business. In 5 days, I probably got a collective 18 hours of sleep. It was rough. I got everything done (largely because of my task-batching plan), but it wasn’t pretty for me, and there definitely wasn’t much self care going on, let along practicing gratitude and appreciating all the good things and people in my life.
(I do feel bad for the pizza guy who mistook me for a gremlin. If you’re reading this, Pizza Dude, you can come out of hiding. I’ve discovered self-care.)
What is Self-Care Anyway?
Self-care is any activity that helps promote your physical or mental well-being. This can be anything from taking your vitamins to taking a bath.
The trick is to train your mind to view these activities as essential, part of your daily self care plan, rather than self-indulgent.
Remember, taking a few minutes to yourself and to take care of yourself will help you meet the other needs in your life.
I’ve been meaning to incorporate self-care into my journaling routine for a while now.
After last week, I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer.
I finally sat down and made a quick list of my best self care ideas, with a focus on things that I could actually achieve given my other responsibilities.
30 Minute Self-Care Activities (AKA: Self Care Ideas Even Busy People Can Do)
You don’t need full days or even hours to practice self care.
Taking a few minutes for yourself can help you reenergize and restore balance to your physical and mental health.
I put this list in my Bullet Journal to guide me, but do whatever works for you.
If you do practice journaling, there’s a self care printable at the end of this post.
It’s a printable version of a self care journal spread, which you can tape/paste directly into your own journal or planner.
Rest & Relaxation Self Care Ideas
- Listen to music. Not while doing another task. Just listen to enjoy the present moment.
- Take a timeout for yourself. If you have kids, explain to them that you need to close the door and have a grown-up timeout.
- Take a bath or shower. A hot bath or shower can make you go from “gremlin” to human on a tough day, and a bubble bath is a great way to tune out the world and ease any tension in your body.
- Take a nap, or at least just close your eyes for 20 minutes of straight rest.
- Reduce your social media use, or commit to stop mindlessly scrolling social media feeds. You can track social media use with a habit tracker, uninstall apps from your phone, or use a social media blocker such as Freedom App on your computer browser.
- Watch your favorite movie, either by yourself or by establishing a regular family movie night.
- Take 30 minutes to read a book or flip through a favorite magazine. I just happen to have a list of 10+ Inspiring Books to Improve Every Aspect of Your Life
Practicing Self Care Through Creativity
- Free-write in your journal. If you need help getting started, check out our 52 Weeks of Self-Discovery Prompts or our post on Morning Pages.
- Draw, paint, sculpt, or practice art journalling.
- Spend time gardening
- Sing and/or dance
- Spend time on other hobbies, such as learning a new language, …or absolutely anything else you love to do!
Fostering the Supportive Relationships in Your Life
- Call a friend (texting doesn’t count) and have a genuine conversation about something important in your lives
- Write a letter to a loved one
- Meet up for a quick coffee, or intentionally schedule regular coffee dates with a friend.
- Research a support group in your area if you need help with a specific issue in your life, and make a plan to attend the next support group meeting.
- Cook and share a delicious meal with someone you love.
- Invite a friend over to play a board game.
Self Care Practices That Reduce Stress and Help You Practice Mindfulness
- Get in the habit of not chekcing email first thing in the morning, at least not before you take a moment for yourself with a morning coffee and gear up for the day to day.
- Practice yoga
- Go for a walk/run/bike ride
- Meditate or pray
- Write or recite affirmations
- Deep Breathing
- Set a goal to get some fresh air at least once every day.
- Track your emotional state in your journal, and look for any patterns that
- Offer a kind smile to a stranger
Self Care Ideas for Your Physical Health
- Make sure you have a healthy diet by tracking what you eat for a week, and how it effects your mood. If you don’t, make a plan to fix it by making small changes over time.
- Set up a fitness tracker in your journal to track physical activity
- Make yourself a healthy snack
- Focus on how you feel vs what the bathroom scale says. Body neutrality.
Give Yourself Permission to Practice Self Care
All the self care ideas in the world are useless unless you actually follow through and actually practice self care!
The most important thing to remember with self-care is that you should feel ENTITLED to it.
I know the “e-word” gets thrown around at lot these days with negative connotations. But in this case, we’re not talking about taking something. We’re talking about giving.
Give yourself time. Offer yourself respect. Make sure you have the tools you need to achieve your own goals while caring for your loved ones. Give yourself permission to be more than you are today. Give yourself the time and space to work on your mental health and your well being.
And give yourself to take a moment whenever you feel overwhelmed, and do something for yourself, so you can get back to a peaceful state or up your overall well being.
That’s it for me. In my experience a little self care goes a long way, so I’d love to hear from you. How do practice self-care in your busy life? Comment below to share you favorite tips.