Taking time out of each day for a little self-care can often seem like an impossible task. I know I’ve definitely felt that way in the past, deciding instead to crack on with chores or get through my to-do list as quickly as possible. ‘I’ll find some time tomorrow’ or ‘I’ll treat myself another day’ soon becomes the norm as you push yourself further and further down the priority list.
Too much effort?
And the thing that puts most of us off even starting a new regime of self-care is the effort & time it’s going to take. How can I fit it into my life? How can I carve out a regular spot for myself when there’s so much else going on?
Maybe you feel like I felt. Maybe you feel that it’ll take hours out of your week that you need for other tasks. Or that the reward of self-care just wont’ be worth the effort to get up and do it.
Little and Often
But in reality, I’m here to let you know that you don’t need to take a ton of time out of your day in order to get a self-care routine going. in fact, I just want you to try to commit a small 10 minutes a day. Because in truth, self-care doesn’t need a lot of time.
And each day can either be the same thing if you’re keen to get momentum going in one area, or you can chop & change things up to look after yourself across a range of life areas.
First things first, decide if today you want to focus on mental health or physical….
For 10 minutes each day you could do any combination of the following, all depending on how much energy you’ve got or how much of a sweat you want to build up.
You could make a little circuit for yourself of exercises that only need your own body. So jumping jacks, press-ups, burpees, mountain climbers, running on the spot, lunges, crunches….do 30 seconds of each exercise you like, rest for 30 seconds, and then do the next round. And if you do this for 10 minutes then you’re actually only exercising for 5 minutes total – something I think we could all get on board with, right?
It’s often a fallacy to think that all physical care has to be hot & sweaty and need a shower afterwards, so we don’t bother because that’s never gonna be 10 minutes, is it?
But stretching is physical. Yin & restorative yoga is physical. Tai chi is physical too. And all of these things concentrate on flexibility, stretching, breathing and a calmer form of physical exercise than jumping jacks or kettlebell swings.
A brisk walk
More of an outdoor girl? Then pop on your shoes and head for a walk around the block. You don’t need a reason to go out, in fact it’s better if you don’t have a job to do like shopping. Purely go out for you & to clear your mind. Obviously the faster you do the more you’ll engage your fat-burning & cardio engines. but a slow walk can be equally beneficial in getting your lymph flowing, blood to your brain and also helping to positively impact your mental health too.
Mental is often easier to squeze into your day, logistically…. but from a mind point it often gives us the biggest block. You might not like or know how to meditate, and think that’s the only way you can mentally recharge. But it’s not true, and for 10 minutes here are other things you could do…
Listen to your favourite music
Pick an album you loved when you were younger and play 3 tracks that make you smile
Listen to an audiobook
Not got time to read a book? Grab a subscription to Audible and listen to a book you’ve been wanting to devour every day for just 10 minutes.
Find a new podcast
So much choice here, from comedy and celebrity-driven to arts, science, nature & business. I’m a fan of BBC Friday Night Comedy, and it’s easy to dip in and out of – but pick something that suits you & your interests and escape into a little audio world for a precious 10 minutes when you can.
Yes, meditation makes the list, but don’t be afraid of it if you’ve never tried it before. There are tonnes of free apps to help guide you on your journey. Plus, if all else fails, simply close your eyes, find a relaxed space and concentrate on your breathing. Switching off from the chaos of our daily mental grind for 10 minutes can have huge positive effects, so never underestimate the power of quiet time & a little meditative state.
How many of us used to write in a diary when we were younger – only to stop when we got older and ‘life got in the way’. I used to have the Forever Friends diaries, (anyone remember those?) and loved filling in my thoughts at the end of a day. So why not start again? Don’t force yourself to write every day if that’s too much pressure. Just pop down thoughts and ideas when you want to. You can grab some beautiful journal books for less than £10 with no dates so they’re flexible for entries. Or use an app like 5 Minute Journal to inspire you via your phone.
10 Minutes Goes a Long Way
A little self-care goes a long way. And so what that you don’t have time to do more than 10 minutes! Trust me, 10 precious minutes to yourself is certainly better than completely neglecting yourself on a routine basis.
Plus, if you even have to break the 10 minutes down into smaller chunks, then find quick fixes – 1 minute of squats whilst the kettle boils for your coffee, 2 minutes of dancing around the living room to a song you love, 5 minutes of laying on the sofa eyes-closed and deep breathing.
You can alternate days so that you cover both mental & physical benefits, and have a full 10 minutes to dedicate to each one.
The key, my lovely friend is to start. Little and often. You’ll soon see and feel the difference that looking after yourself can have on your mental & physical well-being. And that’s only gotta have positive effects for your life & the life of those around you.
Til next time, lovely,