Finishing. That’s where the magic is.
Linda Caroll

10 Ways to take care of yourself when you are busy

Trying to think of how to feel good when you’re rushed and tired can be difficult. We often tell ourselves things like “it will be ok once after I get this done” or “I just need to make it to the weekend”. We struggle on until the busy phase passes then hope we will feel better afterwards. Be honest, feeling this way and struggling sucks, doesn’t it?

I believe that you should be taking extra care of ourselves during busy periods. If you are using a lot of physical and mental energy rushing around, you need to find a way to replenish that energy. After all, you cannot pour from an empty cup.

I have created a list of small and simple ways to take care of yourself, ones that can be squeezed into a busy, stressful day as often as you want. Don’t think of this list as prescriptive, you do not need to do all of these every day. Pick the one that sounds the easiest and work on doing it regularly, if you like, you can then build from there. The focus is about feeling good rather than feeling like you have another task.

10 Ways to Look After Yourself

Breathe — Taking three long slow breaths and focus on each breath moving in and out through your body. Pausing to breathe slowly provides you with a chance to stop for a few seconds and to slow yourself down by concentrating on the breath. If you are somewhere suitable, you can boost the calming effects of this, by raising your shoulders as you breathe in and then dropping them as you breathe out, moving in time with your breath. When we are busy and stressed we can often carry tension in our shoulders so this can be great for shrugging the stress off.

Surround yourself with a scent you love — Wear your favourite perfume, burn scented candles, use essential oils. Some smells have been scientifically proven to boost our mood. If there is a smell you love, surrounding yourself with it may help you feel calmer and happier. At the very least you will create something pleasant for yourself during a tough time.

Music — Listen to your favourite album while in the car or shower, download music you love to your phone, use earphones so you can listen to music while you are working or moving around. Put the radio on and maybe even sing along! Music like smell has the power to boost our mood, this is another little way to inject fun into a stressful day.

Take breaks — This can be tricky if you are in an environment without scheduled break times (hello, stay at home parents and self-employed folks!). Have a designated time to eat and take a coffee break. Come away from the computer, set the kids up with an activity that they can do themselves for 5 minutes or use nap times. Avoid multi-tasking while having a break, the washing, e-mails and other projects can wait. Give your break the same attention that you give your important tasks.

Wear something that makes you feel good — Wear an item of clothing that you love or something that you feel great in. This has an effect on your mood in a similar way to the music and the smell tips. All three focus on your senses and by appealing to your sense of smell, hearing or touch in a positive way, you can surround yourself with things that feel good.

Get outside — Take the laptop out to the garden, take a walk in the park, take one of your breaks outside. Getting outside has been proven to reduce stress, improve our memory and concentration as well as providing you with a well-deserved break. My family and I have started taking a walk together somewhere once a week. We usually find the time on a Sunday which leaves me with a feeling of having blown away the cobwebs of the week, just in time for Monday.

Give yourself an honest compliment — What one thing can you compliment yourself on today? Does your hair look great? Do you have an amazing talent? What is great about you? Remind yourself, that you are an awesome person.

Cheer yourself on — Encourage yourself, recognise that things are crazy and stressful right now and you are doing a great job of handling it. You are doing your best and that is enough. Be your own cheerleader, tell yourself how awesome you are for facing each challenge you face.

Say no — Say no to any extra responsibilities when you are busy. This is not the time to commit to having more things to worry about. There is always going to be the opportunity to help out your friends, family or work colleagues. You do not need to take on more responsibility out when your plate is full.

Plan time out/something to look forward to — Book a time off, set it into your planner or calendar, plan something fun or do nothing at all. Put your busy life on hold, press the pause button, everything can wait a few hours. My favourite time-off activity is to sit in a coffee shop with a book for as long as I can possibly manage. That time out is mine to think about nothing other than what I am reading and whether I want another chai latte.

Use this list to inspire some of your own ideas, why not comment below and share your own self-care tips. Do you crave some you time for yourself?