Self-care sounds like the type of thing you do when you have free time. Reality is, do you ever actually have free time? In all honesty, we (including me) tend to push self-care to the very bottom of the to-do list, figuring we’ll get to it when everything else is done. But it’s especially when we’re busy that we need self-care more than ever. If you’re overwhelmed or have a lot on your plate, it’s crucial to take even a few minutes to boost your mental and physical health.
You can’t run on an empty tank.
When we are busy, we use more mental and physical energy to cross off those items on our to-do list. We are rushing around more, doing more things, and slowly depleting our energy supply. Without putting fuel back in our tanks, we end up running on fumes–which quickly leads to burn out.
If you think things are tough now, then trust me–you don’t want to slide down the burnout hole. Once you’re truly out of gas, burnout can take months–or even years to recover from. Worse yet, running yourself down makes it far more likely that you’ll get sick. While the to-do list certainly won’t take care of itself, self-care helps alleviate some of that overwhelm. It gives you the energy to keep the momentum going.
You’ll be more productive in the short and long-term.
Ever notice that your best ideas always come to you in the shower, on a walk, or when you’re going to bed? Self-care gives your mind and body a chance to unwind, so you can attack your to-do list feeling refreshed. Skipping this step could cause your to-do list to take more time to complete. It can even keep you from completing it at all. I’ve certainly made mistakes while working on projects at four a.m. that I wouldn’t have made after a good night’s rest. Make sure that in the midst of your busy schedule, you leave time to allow yourself some rest and to relax.
Self-care is a habit, and so is neglect.
Some people always remember to water their plants, and some people don’t. Some people never eat breakfast, and some people never skip it. When we are busy, we have a mindset that I will do this later, or after I’m done, I can relax. However, there are plenty of busy people that work exercise, healthy eating, downtime, and even naps into their schedule on a regular basis. If you truly feel that you can’t slow down at all, remember that self-care doesn’t have to take hours. It can be something as simple as treating yourself to a cookie or giving yourself 15 minutes each day to read. One of my favorite things to do is listen to a podcast while I’m doing the dishes or running. Even self-care while multitasking can have positive benefits.
Self-care isn’t just for people with a lot of time or money.
It’s easy to fall into the mentality that self-care is only for people with a lot of extra time or money. While a day at the spa can be nice and relaxing, self-care can be a free bubble bath at home or a night spent watching Netflix. Self-care is whatever relaxes you and isn’t just for people who have a ton of extra money or time. It’s possible to pamper yourself on any budget or with any amount of time.
In the midst of overwhelm, taking time out for yourself can seem impossible. However, if you want to show up (and keep showing up) as your very best, balance is key. Treat yourself as your most valuable asset, and start wherever you are.
*This post was originally posted to Yoga With Allaya.