Self Care For Busy People: simple tips for recharging and relaxing that are perfect for someone in a busy season of life.
Self Care For Busy People
It seems that most of the talk around self care emphasizes activities that require a big time commitment. You might hear suggestions like go for a hike in the forest, or read a book, or take a bubble bath. But what if you don’t have a lot of spare time? Are there self care practises for busy people that require less time? Am I just too busy to take care of myself right now? And if so how am I going to get through this?
Let me start off our whole conversation with a reminder that there are seasons in life. You might be in a really busy one right now. You might have commitments to children, a spouse, aging parents, pets, work and career goals, community involvement, or be studying at school right now, or tons of other things. There are different ages and stages in life, and you might just be in one that’s extremely busy. But keep in mind that ages and stages are constantly changing, and it’s very likely that you won’t have to be this busy forever.
Keeping in mind this busyness is only for a season, remember you can do hard things. I remind you of child birth. You can do anything for a little while, and gaining a little perspective that it won’t be like this forever might just make you feel a little better.
Focus On Your End Goal
Also, try and keep the end goal in mind. If it’s a career goal, or schooling, or a big project remember why you took it on and how much closer you are to your goal than you were when you started and allow the progress you’ve made so far give you a little energy towards finishing it.
If your busyiness isn’t because of a particular season, you might want to reexamine your priorities. We do live in a culture that glorifies busy. Perhaps this is the universe inviting you to re-examine your goals in life, and re-think if your busyness is serving you, or if you’re serving it? It might be time to step back and think about the life you want to create and consider taking more steps towards it by doing a little editing. Only you know if you’re happy in your busy, or if it’s really time for a change.
You can not do it all. Our culture sometimes feeds us a lie that we can and should do everything, and the truth is we can not. The good news is that you get to choose what you will focus on and what you choose to lay down. Prioritize. Put the most important things first. Let go of some things. Ask for help with some things. Lay down control of some things. That will be hard, but it will be good. And give yourself permission to not do everything perfect. Done is better than perfect. Good enough is sometimes good enough.
There’s two main resources we want to consider here -time and money. Life is a Party is so often all about saving us money. And so many blogs are about DIYing, the Anthropology knock-off for less, and making homemade look handmade. But not this time. This time around the resource of time is in short supply, so we have to give ourselves permission to use more of the resource of money.
Meal planning is the perfect example. If you’re eating healthy meals, if you know what you’re having for dinner before the day begins, if the chicken is defrosted and waiting for you, you are winning. Eating well makes us feel well. So meal planning is a great way for busy people especially to practise a little self care. In terms of resources, choosing the more expensive pre-chopped fruit or veggies would be a good use of your resources. Ordering one of those meal kits could be a great use of your resources. Shopping for your groceries on-line since it’s much quicker might be a great change for you. Spending a little bit of your money to increase your quality of life could be a great choice.
I got a robo vaccum recently. Every single time I use it I think to myself that was worth the money. Book the cleaning lady. Hire the lawn service. Consider resting on the weekend instead of working at home on chores the whole time.
Book the vacation. If you have trouble un-winding at home -with all the jobs staring you in the face, then get away from home for your vacation time. Yes it will be expensive. And yes you could have used the money for something else. Yes it was a good use of the money for the season of life you’re in right now.
Small pleasures can add up to a big difference. I used to think “go big or go home” but I’ve been working on that and my new mantra is “it’s not all or nothing“.
I have found that making plans with friends is something I never regret. No matter how busy I am, if I book coffee, or lunch with a girl friend, or a night out with another couple I always enjoy myself. It’s something that really fills my cup up, and restores me. I love a chance to be with people I love and share my heart, my troubles and my joys and hear theirs as well. And if I don’t have time for a whole evening enjoying friends, then coffee and dessert, or breakfast are some great “small pleasure” options.
Often when we think of self care, we think of pleasures that are really time consuming. And there are points in our life when we will have time for those things, and they can be really good for us. But there are also seasons when we need to look for self care options that are are time thrifty, but still good. Taking a moment to notice the little blessings and savouring simple pleasures can be the way forward. Savouring a really good coffee or cup of tea, or noticing the sunset, or enjoying a snuggle with your pet -are all not too time consuming and can be so life giving. Look for these kind of moments and collect them like treasures.
Years ago when I was at the University of Toronto, I discovered students could go to the museum for free on Friday nights from 4:30 until closing. I tried to go when I could during those years, since it was just up the road from my University residence. What I found is that it really inspired me creatively. I specifically remember being inspired by the elaborate mosaic ceiling in the front entrance. It felt like I could stare at it for ages. I also loved the metal work with all its details in the medieval section, suits of armor and everything. And the ancient Egyptians elaborate jewelry was so gorgeous. I remember thinking to myself that when ever I was feeling out of creative ideas I must get myself to a museum or an art gallery for a few hours to fill me up again.
Honestly I haven’t been alone enjoying a museum for years and years. I don’t live downtown so it’s quite a commitment to visit and always involves bringing the whole family. But I have come up with a much quicker activity that has a similar result.
A few times a year, I try to sit down and brainstorm ideas for the upcoming season for the blog. Often I go get a good coffee and head to my local library. I sit in the magazine section. There’s comfortable chairs there, and a wall of windows that overlook a ravine. I leaf through magazine after magazine and start to compile a mental list of ideas as I collect inspiration.
This season I saw a beautiful rhubarb recipe and inspired me to create my own rhubarb recipe -see our Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream recipe here. I don’t even remember exactly what the magazine recipe was for? But it was beautiful photography, and got me thinking about rhubarb season approaching and got my own creative juices flowing. I can’t make it to an amazing museum or art gallery in a short about of time, but I can take half and hour, grab a coffee and head to the library for a little inspiration when ever I need to.
Finding Your Inspiration
Perhaps you used to love to read, but tell yourself you don’t have time like you used to. But, a few pages don’t take too long. Or how about a podcast? Or book on tape during your commute? It’s not all or nothing. Maybe there was a time when you had a big, beautiful garden that you loved to spend time in. But these days you certainly don’t have time for that. But, would a few pots on the patio be too time consuming.
If you used to love to cook, but don’t have time to meal plan and shop and cook anymore, would one of those companies that does the planning and shopping for you allow you to come home, put on some music, pour yourself a glass of wine, and enjoy making dinner again? It’s not all or nothing. Look for ways to economize your time, but still recharge your soul.
It’s not always easy in a busy season of life to make sure you’re taking care of yourself well. It is worth it. I’d love to know some of your tips and tricks for self care for busy people that you’ve discovered over the years too. Please leave them in the comments and we can all learn from each other.
With some self care for busy people tips, life really is a party.
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