I used to think “self-care” was mani/pedis and massages. 🤷🏼♀️ And while that’s still always a good time, I know NOW that taking care of yourself is SO MUCH more… and yet also, can be so much quicker.
While my favorite “self care moments” are my 🌲 solo walks in the woods, 🧘🏼♀️ yoga classes, and 😴 meditation time, I can’t always set aside 45+ minutes when I have work and kids and family commitments and all the everyday-living chores and responsibilities. (adulting with kids 🤷🏼♀️)
So here’s a few TOOLS I like to try out when I DON’T have time for a long me-sesh but also know I need to “fill my cup.” (And some of these are just proactive steps I’ve already set up and just have to follow. 😅)
Seven Ways To Take Care Of Yourself When You’re Short On Time
1️⃣ Set Boundaries
I set boundaries around my work hours – AND I communicate them. Even though we CAN be available to respond to students at any given moment, we don’t HAVE to be. (And we shouldn’t be.) Communicate when your students can expect to receive a response from you, and stick to it. You’re giving yourself “off hours” and you’re modeling that THEY don’t always need to be “on” either.
2️⃣ Limit Notifications
I turn off notifications. I hate seeing that stupid red bubble on my email app, and I compulsively have to clear it whenever it pops up. But if I open it, I typically also feel the need to respond. And if I don’t respond, I just end up crafting my response in my head all night long. So my solution? Turn off the notifications! Your VIPs know how to reach you. Everyone else can wait for your office hours.
3️⃣ Shake It Out
I shake it out. Seriously – shaking activates the parasympathetic nervous system, signaling your brain to calm down and let go. So give a little wiggle if you’re feeling a little stressed.
4️⃣ Laugh Breaks
I laugh. I have 3 kids under six years old (for at least a few more days), and it’s not *uncommon* to have moments where literally all three of them are screaming, crying, hitting, grabbing, *the works.* When everyone is literally losing their shhhh, sometimes I manage to take a step back, take in the total absurdity of it all, and just laugh. Sometimes they start laughing, too.
I pop in headphones. I don’t use this one enough, but I should. We all have those feel-good songs that bring to mind good memories or people you love. On the flip side, we all have those songs that make us cry every time. #carcry anyone? Whatever way you go – lifting your mood or shedding some tears – music can be pretty magical.
I picture my happy-place. It changes periodically – currently it’s my living room, all decorated for Christmas, with a cozy coffee and my kids playing nicely on the carpet. (In real life, they’re probably arguing over magnatiles or scattering bits of random dress-up around the house. 🤣) But this is MY happy place vision, and it can be whatever I want it to be. It brings me joy and coziness either way.
I practice gratitude. I have a lot to be thankful for, and I take some time to think about those things. Sometimes, it’s hard to do when the things I’m grateful for are the things stressing me out — my kids, job, wonderful husband 🤣, family as a whole, 🤷🏼♀️ whatever. In those moments, I like to swipe through old photos or videos, baby pictures, vacations and adventures, milestones, even messages or screenshots. My kid might be driving me up the wall – or work might be stressing me the F out – but being back in that other moment, it’s easier to smile.
Obvi this list isn’t comprehensive. It’s also just some random personal preferences. Some are research-based, some I just have stumbled across and found helpful. I hope one of these resonates with you, or you can find something else that does. 💖