We’ve all had those days where our planners look like a Picasso. But nobody’s paying you and you’re losing your hair trying to cross off items on your to-do list. Life is crazy, and in this age of “treat yo self,” we wonder how that’s actually possible with only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. Self-care doesn’t come easy; it’s something you’ll have to advocate for yourself. At the same time, there are simple and inexpensive ways to give you a deep breath and a brain break. Time and money may be tight, but here are 5 easy ways to implement self-care into your daily routine.
1. Put on a face mask
And light a candle while you’re at it! Face masks are one of my favorite ways to practice self-care because it forces me to slow down even for the 15 minutes it takes to dry. I like Say Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask; it smells good and makes my face so soft. I made it my routine last semester to do a face mask every Wednesday night since I had a lighter schedule that night of the week.
2. Get movin’
I’m no marathon runner, but I like to be active to take care of myself more than just to look good. And you don’t even need a gym membership to work up a sweat. Take a walk in your neighborhood or on your campus. I like to use the Sworkit app for its free yoga routines. No weights, no being confused on how to work this machine.
3. Journal it out
The power of the written word astounds me—it has the power to turn the abstract into something tangible. When you’re feeling overwhelmed or just have lots of thoughts, put a pen to paper. I make this part of my morning routine even if just for several minutes.
I’ve adopted a stream-of-consciousness approach: write any and all feelings, thoughts, ideas, doubts, questions no matter how weird, mean, judgmental or off topic. Sometimes I’m stressed and don’t even know why; I like to make a list of my stressors. It’s so encouraging and sometimes funny to look back at what stressed me out one year ago because life truly does go on, even if it didn’t feel as if it would in that moment.
4. Choose community
If you really want to, you could bury yourself in a pile of work, but life is so much more than our checklists and careers. Each Sunday afternoon I like to plan my week, and I’m always sure to plan at least one coffee date with a gal pal no matter how crazy my week looks. Quality community time is essential to a purposeful, hopeful life, and coffee is just one of means of getting that!
5. Book a “me date”
It’s really okay not to have plans or a meeting every single night of the week. When I’d see a blank day in my planner, I’d feel an urge to fill it, to find something to do, to hang out with someone. All good things, but life catches up with you. Sometimes you don’t realize you haven’t taken a breath in a few minutes or maybe an entire week. Don’t be afraid of “me time”—make a date of it! Find a movie on Netflix you’ve been wanting to watch. Check out a book from the library. Organize your desk. Clean your closet.
Self-care is an incredibly beautiful thing, but it’s hard to come by in this age of go-go-go. It is possible to get rest without spending $80 on a massage or taking the day off from work. Life shouldn’t revolve around you counting down the days till your week long vacation; self-care is an everyday thing. Take a deep breath, and “treat yo self!”