UAB Medicine News


Scheduling in Self-Care: How Much Time Do You Have Today?

Isn’t it ironic that moms tend to make the least time for self-care but often need it more than anyone else? Self-care is a trendy term used to encompass big and small actions that we take to fulfill our personal needs. Moms often think that their schedules are too busy for self-care because too many people need them nearly every moment of the day. But it’s tough to be the best mother, partner, friend, or employee that you can be if you don’t take care of your own needs first.

Contrary to popular belief, self-care doesn’t require a weeklong vacation, a weekend getaway, or even more than just a few minutes out of your busy day. Here are some self-care ideas that you can try with just 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, or an afternoon to feel happier, healthier, and more fulfilled with life.

Types of Self-Care

Self-care often is lumped into just one category, but it’s important to care for yourself in every unique aspect of your life. For example, physical self-care involves getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising. Mental self-care includes activities that help you clear your mind and focus, such as keeping a journal, challenging yourself with hobbies, and making time to relax.

You can boost your emotional self-care by developing positive friendships, jotting down a list of things you’re thankful for, and expressing your emotions. Prioritizing the important people in your life promotes relationship self-care, and practicing mindfulness and volunteering supports spiritual self-care.

To achieve a well-balanced life, try different types of self-care depending on how you’re feeling and what your needs are that particular day.

Self-Care with Any Amount of Time

  • 10 Minutes: There are plenty of self-care activities you can engage in even if you only have 10 minutes or less to yourself in a day. One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to slow down, which is easier said than done. To help you take a break with limited time, download a meditation app on your smartphone, such as Headspace or Calm. Other self-care activities you can do in just 10 minutes include stretching, self-massage, journaling, and sipping a cup of tea.
  • 30 minutes: Thirty minutes may not sound like a lot, but you can make the most of a spare half hour by doing something positive for your mind, body, and soul. This is a perfect opportunity to apply an at-home facial or do a few yoga poses with your favorite YouTube, app, or DVD instructor. Other options include listening to music, reading a book, taking a long shower, and drawing a sketch of something beautiful.
  • One Hour: If you have an hour to yourself today, consider getting outside to go for a walk or run while soaking up some fresh air and sunshine. Exercise is a wonderful stress reliever and can be squeezed in between kids’ appointments, work projects, and meal times. You may want to spend your self-care hour getting a manicure or pedicure at your local nail salon to improve the way you look and feel. Other options include practicing a musical instrument, dressing up and trying a new hairstyle, trying a new recipe, and soaking in a relaxing bath with essential oils.
  • An Afternoon: Every once in a while, moms deserve to clear the calendar for an afternoon all to themselves. Consider booking a massage appointment or visiting your hairdresser for an updated cut and style. This is also a great opportunity to pursue a new hobby by taking a class at a local rec center, art studio, or community college. You might also try going for a solo hike in the woods, purging your closet of clothes you don’t love, browsing shops in a nearby town, or binging on your favorite Netflix show.

Create Your Own Self-Care Rituals

To take the best possible care of your health, aim to make self-care feel like second nature and become part of your daily routine. For example, maybe your morning routine involves doing some stretching, showering, and eating a healthy breakfast. A lunchtime routine is ideal for breaking up a stressful day with a little mediation, reading, or a brisk walk. Then before going to bed, establish a bedtime routine that helps you relax, such as writing in a journal while listening to music.

Always remember that self-care isn’t selfish. In fact, it’s one of the best preventive health measures you can take, and that’s something that will benefit every mom tremendously.

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