Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. It’s all well and good to have an arsenal of self-care strats that involve spa-level bubble baths, vacations with your best pals, or trips to the manicurist. But what happens when you need to take care of yourself at the office with a looming deadline or when your very full house is driving you crazy? How can you take time out from the responsibilities of your super busy day-to-day life without getting totally sidetracked? (Or take a time out FROM your time out when you end up in an internet spiral of news stories that kinda freak you out?)
These ten ideas can be accomplished in 15 minute intervals. And they’re perfect for those times you’re feeling frustrated or near giving up. The reality is, those moments can pop up at any time. You can’t always pour a glass of wine and settle in to watch 4 straight hours of Grey’s Anatomy. But you can do SOMETHING.
Call a time out. Take care of yourself. You’ve got this!
READ A BOOK
Diving into a good book is OG escapism and I hate to see it fall by the wayside because folks feel like they don’t have “time” to read. I get it. Maybe you don’t have time to chill at a coffee house for hours on end as you blaze through the pages of your favorite sci-fi series. But you’d be amazed how much you can read in 15 minute intervals. And you’d also be amazed how much more nourished your mind will feel than if you’d spent that same time reading Buzzfeed listicles.
Case in point – I just finished this book (highly, HIGHLY recommend) which I devoured over the course of a few days in 10-20 minute chunks. Mostly during breaks while working.
FOCUS ON THE GOOD
When you’re freaking out about what needs to get done, it can be incredibly calming to focus a few moments of time on what already has. (Related: I like this approach for life, too. Check out my REVERSE Bucket List.)
Reflect on your accomplishments from the day so far. How did they make you feel? You could even start a notebook that’s totally reserved for your REVERSE To-Do list. Call it your Shit I Got Done book, if you like.
Feeling extra proud of something? Post on the internet and let the people know! Those “likes” will feel good. However, it will also force you to re-contextualize your accomplishment for an outside audience which I think is a worthwhile exercise in “here’s why what I do is cool.” (See also: Don’t Hide Your Hustle.)
Even if you don’t plan on racking up steps for your FitBit, popping out for a breath of fresh air and a change of scenery can do a world of good. Of course, if you can squeeze in a walk around the block, go for it!
TAKE A REST
If you’ve ever felt next-level exhausted, with a mountain of tasks still barricading you from peaceful slumber, you know that getting anything done can feel like you’re slamming up against that mountain over and over with no hope of summitting.
So quit slamming and take a second to chill. Give your body a minute to rest. Let your eyes relax (especially if they’ve been glued to a computer screen). If you’re someone who has been blessed with the ability to power nap, take one. If not, simply set your head down for a few minutes. Find a comfy spot away from your tasks and just cuddle up. Or lay on the floor, reach your hands over your head, and take the biggest breath you’ve taken all day.
Warning: You might want to set a timer for this one. Just in case ya actually do knock out.
CHAT WITH A FRIEND
Don’t just fire off a text or hop on What’s App. G-Chat and Facebook messenger don’t count either. Dial that telephone and get a friend on the horn! See what they’ve been up to that day. Maybe they can commiserate with whatever’s going on in your world or maybe you’ll find something they say wildly inspiring. (You probably have one friend who is perfect for the former and one that’s perfect for the latter. You’re probably picturing them right now.)
Maybe your self-love honorin’ self craves a more face-to-face interaction. Snag a friend to run an errand with you or grab a cup of coffee. Pop into someone’s office to run an idea by them instead of shooting them an email. Sometimes it takes being around another human to get back to the best version of ourselves.
Ok remember when I said books were the OG escapism…well, meditation is even more so. (The OG-est OG!) Lucky for us, there’s literally an app for everything these days, even OG escapism. So if you don’t have a meditation practice or are completely new to the idea, you get a little guidance.
This list of The Best Meditation Apps of 2016 is a fine place to start. Try a few and pick your favorite. Ommmmm.
TAKE A SHOWER
So, unlike all the others on this list, this one may not always be possible. But I thought I’d include it anyways. Here’s why:
- Showers are literally liquid sleep. If you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter and then felt strangely refreshed after a shower then YOU KNOW.
- You’re more likely to have a creative epiphany when you’re doing something monotonous.
- There are tons of fun products to try (like this one or this one)! Treat yo’self!
- Sometimes you start working as soon as you wake up without taking a sec to actually get ready for the day. Shout out to my work-from-home hustlers! You deserve a morning routine…even if it happens at 2 pm.
Doodle, color, decorate your planner, write a poem! If you’re feeling uncreative (at work, in your home, regarding a problem), remind yourself that you ARE creative. Activate the parts of your brain you want to tap into by FLEXIN’ ’em!
GET THE BLOOD FLOWING
If you’ve been sitting for hours – Stand up and move around to get the blood flowing in your legs and feet. Do a forward fold to get the blood flowing to your brain! I used to have a co-worker who took breaks to forward fold all the time and no one ever thought anything of it. In fact, she started converting people to the powers of hanging out upside down!
If you wanna really go for it, do a handstand!
If you’ve been standing for hours – Put your feet up for a few minutes. If you have the option, get your legs up the wall. You want the blood flowing in the opposite direction. Rotating your feet/ankles, small squats/plies, and hamstring stretches will also feel amazing.
Solo dance party, anyone? Yes please!
(Need inspiration? The Best Songs For A Solo Dance Party. With categories like “When you wanna get your diva on” and “when you’re feeling down and you need a reminder that you kick ass.” Obsessed.)
CHAT WITH A THERAPIST
By using websites like BetterHelp.com you get access to a network of licensed, accredited, and experienced counselors who can help you with a range of issues including depression, anxiety, relationships, trauma, grief, and more. By going digital, you get the same experienced help you would expect from an in-office counselor, but with the ability to communicate when and how you want.
Do you call a time out to love on yourself when you’re feeling over-whelmed or frustrated? How do you practice self care? Let me know!
P.S. How to invest in yourself and how I practiced self care after the election.
10 thoughts on “11 Ways to Take a Time Out and Practice Self-Care”
I absolutely love the “Shit I got done” list! I am a total list person and this sounds even better than crossing something off my To Do list! Brilliant!
It feels really good to sit down and write out all the stuff I actually get done in a day. Often way more than I think I’ve accomplished!!! 🙂
I love a good shower and then cuddling up with a book! Thanks for sharing 🙂
You’re welcome! That sounds like a great recipe for self-care, Diana.