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It’s vital to build self-care into your routine and life in general, but this can be difficult to do if you have a busy or overwhelming schedule.

Here is the ultimate self-care guide for busy people:

  1. Schedule
  2. Prioritize
  3. Do a Little a Lot
  4. Create a Morning or Evening Routine
  5. Be Flexible

Many busy people end up caving into stress because they don’t know how to find time for themselves. Let’s take a closer look as to how we can avoid becoming overwhelmed through a healthy self-care regimen.

1. Schedule

When you live a busy life, it may feel like your schedule has no openings whatsoever. If you can barely keep up with the tasks that are required of you, how are you supposed to fit in any extra free time for yourself? It can honestly seem like an impossible task.

As silly as it may seem, you might just have to schedule in time for self-care. If you don’t, you’ll probably just come up with excuses (“I don’t have the time”), and then you’ll never end up taking care of yourself. Find a gap in your day or week, whether it be big or small, and schedule some time for yourself. Even five or ten minutes can make a huge difference.

Schedule it, but also make sure you stick to it. Once you’ve scheduled it, make sure you understand that this task of self-care is a necessity. It’s not optional. Also, be realistic with how much time you can set aside and what you can and cannot commit to.

2. Prioritize

Like I mentioned, once you schedule time for self-care, you have to stick to it. However, it’s hard to change your mindset to consider self-care a necessity and a priority. This is why you have to learn to prioritize.

You may feel like you don’t have the time for self-care, but in reality, you probably just need to rethink the importance of certain tasks. Maybe you can’t get rid of any of your tasks, but perhaps you can reschedule when you complete them. Just do it tomorrow.

Self-care is a priority: it’s as simple as that. You have to work it into your schedule. Maybe that means you don’t spend as much time on social media or technology. Maybe you have to cancel plans with someone. Sometimes it’s okay to be selfish, and this especially applies when prioritizing self-care.

3. Do a Little a Lot

Self-care doesn’t have to be some ridiculously extensive thing. You don’t have to spend hours every day of the week taking care of yourself. Sometimes a little goes a long way.

Self-care is more effective if you do a little of it consistently rather than doing it for a long time every once in a while. If you do a few minutes of self-care every day, it is probably going to be better for you than doing it for two hours once or twice a month.

Start small and work your way up to something more elaborate. Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Almost anything can be considered self-care as long as you are enjoying it and it makes you feel good (within reason, of course).

4. Create a Morning or Evening Routine

A great and effective way to work self-care into your routine is by incorporating it into your morning and/or evening routine. Before you start your day or before you go to bed, take a little time for yourself. It’s probably not a great idea to wake up and immediately start working or to go to bed right after working tirelessly for hours. That kind of routine is exhausting and potentially overwhelming.

To be clear, you don’t have to practice self-care in both the morning and the evening. If you don’t have as much time in the morning or your schedule is more inconsistent in the morning, perhaps saving self-care for the evening is a better choice. Personally, I always get really tired an hour or two before I plan on going to bed, so instead of trying to continue doing work during that time, I work on self-care. It usually helps me sleep, and it’s a great way to wind down after a long day. However, if you prefer to work up until you fall asleep, it’s perfectly fine to start the day with a great self-care routine.

5. Be Flexible

The most important part about consistently practicing self-care is your ability to be flexible. You have to be flexible with your schedule and be willing to move things around or adjust plans as needed. Be flexible with your priorities and your willingness to rethink what is truly most important in your life. Be flexible with your routines: change can be good.

Most importantly, be flexible with your definition of self-care. A lot of busy people believe that self-care isn’t feasible for them, but this is simply not true. You don’t have to go to a spa or on some crazy adventure to practice self-care. It can be much simpler than that. Just taking a few deep breaths can be considered self-care.

As important as self-care is, you must also be flexible with self-care itself. Scheduling is great, but don’t be so rigid with your schedule that self-care becomes a chore. It should be enjoyable, so if it becomes unenjoyable, you may need to change something about what you’re doing. It’s okay to switch up your self-care routine once in a while. Do what’s going to make you healthy and happy.

What Are Some Self-Care Options?

Maybe you want to practice self-care but have no idea where to start. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Meditate
  • Read
  • Journal
  • Write
  • Listen to music/create/play music (sing or play an instrument)
  • Relax in the bath
  • Skin care (face mask, serums, even just washing your face)
  • Art (draw, paint, color, etc.)
  • Crossword, word search, etc.
  • Exercise
  • Rest
  • Breathe

How Can I Hold Myself Accountable?

No matter how much you want to consistently practice self-care, chances are you will struggle at first. This is a hard habit to build, and you may genuinely forget to do it. How can you hold yourself accountable? There are a few options.

One possibility is to simply write it down. Busy people typically utilize calendars, planners, or anything that will help them keep track of the endless tasks they must complete. If you think you are going to forget about the self-care you need to do, write it down and add it to the list of other things you have to do. You’ll feel more obligated to do it, and that means you won’t just let it slide.

If writing it down physically isn’t going to help you, then utilize technology. Put a reminder in your phone. It’ll be able to remind you wherever you are and you are less likely to forget about it. If all else fails, have friends or family members hold you accountable. Ask them to text or call you with a friendly reminder to complete your self-care.

Sources: Lifehack, Ashley Rachel Coaching