De-Stressing When There's No Time For Self-Care
We’ve all been there. Work is insanely busy. Personal commitments are piling up. And every bit of advice of getting through stressful times includes self-care rituals that most of us can only dream of having the time and budget to accomplish. In these moments, when I can’t possibly fit in an hour-long yoga class or just don’t have the energy for a full de-stress ritual, I try for these three things instead.
1 | Make Everyday Moments More Mindful
On your craziest days, you’re still brushing your teeth, getting a cup of coffee, and probably commuting in one form or another. In my most stressful stretches, I try to make each of these “have to do’s” in my morning, micro, mindful acts of self care. This can be something as small as sitting cross legged on the floor with my eyes closed while I brush my teeth instead of the usual pacing around the bathroom I do. (That’s two whole minutes of peace and quiet!) I try and think of the things I absolutely must do in life anyway, and change how I do them instead of adding other things to the list of to-do’s that are considered “taking care.”
2 | I Say No….. A Lot More
Most of us hate saying no to someone—be it for a work project, grabbing a drink after work, or taking up a friend on a long evening of catching up. For an introvert, these things are even harder. When I start to feel myself out of time for my own care, I start turning others down in droves. This gets easier with practice, but the first time you pass on an opportunity or two can feel uncomfortable. I try to reframe it in my mind as saying “yes” to something else, as opposed to just declining. For example, an insane week last week meant that it would stretch me really thin to take a mentee to lunch. Instead of a hard “no” - I said yes to bringing her along to a meeting that was an equally valuable experience and didn’t tap out more of my day than I had to give.
3 | Swap Out the Stimulants
When I’m feeling tapped out, I look around and all the “inputs” I have going on in my life, and again, look forw ways I can make adjustments. I think of it a little like “switching to decaff” on again, the things I’d be doing anyway. Instead of crashing in front of bad TV to wind down, I turn off music and other noise and either get after a book or just sit. Sit and only sit — not scroll the phone (another input) or call a friend (still another), but take any of that time that could be spent indiscriminately and channel it toward something more restorative.