Making Self-Care Part of Your Busy Schedule

We hear a lot about self-care these days, and I’m a big believer in it, but sometimes, the people who need it most are the ones who just can’t get it. After all, if you’re on the run all day, sleeping five hours a night, eating whatever you can throw in the microwave, and barely holding your life together, how on earth are you supposed to keep an affirmation journal, drink warm tea, and start a yoga routine? Self-care isn’t always practical, but it’s essential, so here are a few ways to work it into your busy life.

Making Self-Care Part of Your Busy Schedule

Self-care is important, but when your life is hectic and you need it most, it's hard to take time for yourself. But if you work self-care into your life as it is, you'll find it so much easier to treat yourself with the respect you deserve!

Why Self-Care?

Like I said – busy, busy, busy. It’s easy to feel weighed down, overwhelmed, stuck in a rut, or just plain tired in a way a power nap can’t fix. You have physical needs – food, water, sleep, showers – but you also have mental and emotional ones that are much easier to neglect. When was the last time you set aside a little while to be creative? To challenge yourself in a fun way?

We lose ourselves in the hustle sometimes, because we’re told that it’s the only route to success. But you’re going to burn out if you don’t treat yourself well. Self-care comes in lots of forms, from stereotypical yoga-and-meditation routines to treating yo’ self to a mani-pedi during finals week. The trick is finding the things that make you feel good – soul-deep happy and hopeful – and then working them into the craziest moments of your life, when you need them most.

Integrate, Integrate, Integrate

You’ve got a lot to do already, so adding self-care to your routine shouldn’t make it harder to keep up. Integrating self-care into stuff you already do is a great way to prioritize yourself without taking extra time out of your day.

Sure, you might not have time to sit down and journal extensively, but if you make a daily to-do list, jotting a quick affirmation down at the top doesn’t take much extra time, and gives you a boost when you need it the most. If you have to work out, your body might be busy, but your mind isn’t – use workouts as a time to focus on yourself and your needs, or even just blast some music and tune out, instead of stressing about everything you’re not getting done while you’re on the treadmill.

Outsource Your Reminders

If you’re the only one responsible for your own self-care, it’s easy to say “I’ll do it later.” and then never, ever do it. I’m not saying you need a babysitter, either – the biggest thing about self-care is that it’s for you and by you. But sometimes you need a reminder.

Case in point: if you add “5 minutes of meditation” (or whatever it is you do!) as a Google Calendar task, and it pops up at you three times a day, reminding you to do it… You’re much more likely to take that time for yourself than you would be otherwise.

And if you’re living with a roommate (I know a lot of us millennials are!), look out for each other. If you get in the habit of reminding each other about self-care, it’ll become natural, which means no added stress. Just be careful not to feel responsible for someone else’s wellbeing – you don’t need that kind of stress!

Mindfulness Goes a Long Way

Mindfulness is as simple as focusing on what you’re doing while you’re doing it. We like to think we’re multitasking pros who can do a million things at once, but really, all the split focus hurts us in the end. Think about the last time you just sat down (by yourself!) and ate lunch. No phone, no computer, nothing to read on the side. Just sitting and eating and enjoying your food.

For most of us, it’s been a while. And I would also say that for most of us, working/reading/scrolling Twitter through lunch hasn’t been out of necessity, it’s just that we feel awkward being alone with our thoughts. Slowing down, focusing on one thing at a time, and getting comfortable with yourself turns ordinary activities like eating into self-care.

When was the last time you just sat down to enjoy your coffee? No phone, no textbooks, no email checking, just enjoying your coffee?

Use the Time You Have

We all have gaps in even the busiest days. Whether that’s spare time between classes or the commute to and from work, leverage that empty space to do something good for yourself. Sure, you could spend the fifteen minutes between your morning classes slumped outside the door scrolling Pinterest, pinning recipes we both know you’ll never make… or you could spend that time sitting on a bench, outside, and clearing the clutter out of your bag.

One of those things will make you more annoyed that it’s still not lunchtime. The other will make you feel refreshed, organized, and a little more prepared for the day. You have more time than you think – it’s just a matter of using it wisely.

Accept That It’s Okay to Take Care of You

You’re busy. You’re going a million miles an hour in three different directions trying to get it all done and keep everyone around you happy. It’s so easy to look at the mess your life has become, think about self-care, and then decide: “This isn’t a priority right now.” And then not do it. But let’s stop and think about that for just a second.

When you say “Self-care is not a priority” you mean “I am not a priority” and that, my friend, should never be true. You have responsibilities and duties, friends that need you, stuff to do. But you won’t accomplish anything worth doing if you’re a stressed-out mess of a person. Going through the motions doesn’t do you any favors, and you deserve better.

So Now What?

Now comes the hard part. Instead of reading about self-care on the internet, I’m challenging you to actually practice it. Not starting next week, not starting tomorrow – right now. You’re reading blog posts. You’ve got a little time. So what are you going to do, right now, to take care of yourself? Commit to it by letting me know in the comments! If you’re feeling ambitious, tell us a bit about what you plan to do to this week to make your own life a little easier.

  • Hi Megan! Sure! I’m excited to have you join us!

  • That sounds like such a good idea! And something I’d be interested in, honestly – mind sharing a link?

  • Thanks for these tips! I shared them in my college self-care group! (:

  • Oh man, that sounds SO nice right now! Hope you enjoyed it – and happy birthday!

  • Alysha Mooring

    Thank you for this post! Speaks volumes to me. I’m getting a pedi right now, it’s my birthday week and it was much needed. 🙂

  • I feel this! It can be so rewarding to take care of all the people in your life, but when it comes at the cost of caring for yourself? Yikes! That’s a good way to burn yourself out, and then you’re no help to anyone. Best of luck – you’ve got this!

  • I love this perspective! My personality type is one that basically lives to serve others and because of that, sometimes self-care is something that is not even close to being at the top of my priority list. I think setting reminders and trying to make certain things part of my routine would just be so much healthier!

  • And self-care in the morning sounds like a recipe for a good day!

  • I’ll have to look it up, it sounds good! Happy Sunday/Easter to you, too!

  • Same! It felt kind of silly to program little self-care reminders into my phone at first, but I’ve found it to be so effective!

  • Here’s hoping that next week is better!

  • Good luck with your craziness! You’ve got this!

  • That sounds like a great habit to have – I might need to join you!

  • I absolutely love this post. I really like the idea of setting reminders. My morning routine is so essential for self-care and it’s become…a routine!

  • This is such a great post! I recently started reading The Best Yes, and it touches on some of the points that you’ve touched on 🙂 If you’re looking for a devotional, I feel like you would really like it based on this post! Happy Sunday!

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

  • This is just what I needed! I think adding a reminder to take some time out will definitely help because I use reminders RELIGIOUSLY.
    paige • eyeliner wings & pretty things

  • I needed this after the week I’ve had. self care is so important! thanks for this!


    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  • Miss ALK

    Such wonderful reminders!! I have such crazy weeks coming up soon, so I feel like I needed this!

    xoxo A

  • Thank you so much for sharing this, it’s such an important topic! I used to be pretty good at turning off electronics at least one hour before going to bed & doing something for myself like reading or writing but lately I’ve been slacking a bit. Your post encouraged me to pick up that habit again x

    Sara / AboutLittleThiings

  • Thanks, dear! I feel like it’s finally a topic that’s picking up some momentum, and I couldn’t be happier.

  • That sounds like the best resolution – I hope you’re able to keep it!

  • I love the “hustle” mentality that so many of us 20-somethings have, but not at the expense of our wellbeing! Thank you!

  • Right? Being good to yourself isn’t selfish, it’s necessary, and anyone who can’t see that probably needs a little more self-care in their life, anyway!

  • Exactly! How can you be expected to get EVERYTHING done when you’re not feeling your very best? It’s just not possible.

  • Yet is the operative word! Getting strong takes time but it feels so good. Proud of you! And I’m going to send you my roomate’s favorite at-home Zumba video. It’s set to that super annoying, elaborate alarm some cars have. It’s amazing!

  • These are such great tips!
    Self-care is beyond important.

    xoxo, Jenny

  • Allie Bigoness

    Self care is so so so important. I found myself neglecting it for a while last year and so to make up for it I made my New Years resolution to make more time for the creative hobbies I love and it has really helped me to avoid burnout.

  • Kristine Circenis

    Self-care is a very important topic that needs to receive more attention, especially by 20-somethings. We’re used to being busy and having jam-packed schedules, but you’re right, we need to schedule in time for ourselves. Great post!

  • OnceUponADollhouse

    Thank You for posting about this topic. It’s very important to love yourself first. Sometimes people mistaken this for being “selfish” but who really cares. It all starts with-in! Thanks for sharing!

  • I cannot overstress the importance of self care. When I don’t take care of myself everything falls apart!

  • tiffzny

    Megan, this is just what I need. A few friends and I started going to Zumba classes last week, and although my body can’t handle it (yet!) I wish they were more often — it’s so much fun in a world of otherwise not-very-fun things.