Too busy to care? Ack. But we get it – the term 'self-care' might make some people cringe. The words can conjure up thoughts of lavish indulgence, and all the things we were taught to hold back from. But self-care doesn't always mean Himalayan-salt baths in Moroccan rose water or a languorous candle-lit dinner (although, sometimes, why not?). Self-care is an act of checking in with your mind, body and soul; of re-centering, and of forgiving and letting go. The opposite of grand gestures, self-care is made up of simple acts that beg you to pause, breathe and stay present. And maybe most importantly, to be kind to yourself.
Here are 30 "small" acts of love you can do for yourself throughout the day, no matter how much (or "little") time you have – from 50 seconds to 50 minutes.
Drink lemon water. Anytime of the day, but especially first thing in the morning.
Close your tabs. How many apps or tabs are you looking at right now? Which ones can you close? Close your screen windows too, and open an actual one.
Switch your position. Have you been sitting down? Stand up. Have you been moving around? Take a seat.
Make tea, or coffee, but don't rush.
Stretch. Your neck, if your work involves staring at the screen. Your ankles, if your work involves walking or standing.
Clean up. Working on a cluttered desk? Put away items that are irrelevant to your work, including your phone if you're in need for some deep focus.
Allow yourself to daydream. Are you feeling stuck? Let loose. Stare out, or do something that you do everyday, but differently or in a different order.
Walk outside and look at the sky. Like, really look. The sky is nature's way of entertaining and comforting you. From clouds to stars, sense their connection with you.
Snack on something you like. Chocolate or popcorn or cacao nibs?
Write (or rewrite) your to-do list. Your to-do list is the pesky but good-natured ghost that haunts you. Go through the list, organise the tasks, get them done.
Thank yourself for the choices you've made. Pat yourself on the back for the hard work you've done.
Literally take a step back and take a wide view of whatever you're doing. Then restart and enjoy, whether it's a spreadsheet or a painting.
Oxygenate. Close your eyes, then take a few deep breaths.
Free write. Let words just pour out from your mind onto paper, uninterrupted, without analysis or considerations for grammar. Do it for 10 minutes straight. Then put it away.
Check off your to-do list by single-tasking. What's just one thing you can do in 15 min? Stick to that one thing only. Go buy milk at the corner store, fold your laundry, or clean your dishes.
Listen to your current favorite song, over and over. Don't forget to shake that thang.
Take a power nap.
Make a call to someone you love. Just because. End it in 15 minutes.
Allow yourself to be distracted for 15 whole minutes. Watch funny videos or read a blog post, or do some online window-shopping, but do it with intention. And stay grounded – be a mindful consumer.
Run, or take a walk, but go a different way.
Go chat with a bartender, courier or someone new. You'd be surprised at how nourishing an unplanned conversation is.
Write a reflection that ends with an actionable plan.
Airplane Mode. In fact, allow yourself some privacy off of the internet and make some time for yourself before you sleep and 1-2 hours after you wake up.
In the evening, pamper yourself with books, self-care treatments, doodles, or anything else light before going to sleep.
In the morning, set aside time to work on your personal project that needs your fresh attention.
Cook. Touch, feel, listen, inhale, indulge, and savor the whole experience. If possible, eat with your hands.
Believe in the power of planning. Look far and deep into your life, then prioritize and narrow down. Some are meant to be done later, some are better done sooner.
Believe in the power of routine. The pillars of our days, routines allow us to ground ourselves and return to our strength. Give yourself 40 days before giving up on turning something into a routine.
Believe in the power of journaling. Sometimes things happen and we lose sight of our original goal. Routine journaling, when done with full intention and purpose, will help weed out the impulses and turn your rants into plans.