With the hustle and neverending bustle of the holidays just around the corner, I thought now would be a great time to share some of my favorite self-care ideas to help you make “me time” a priority! Just keep reading to check them out!
Self-Care Ideas to Make “Me Time” a Priority This Month
With so much going on this time of year, it seems like self-care often falls off our to-do list.
As soon as the calendar flips over to October our schedules go into overdrive. Prep for one holiday, take down the decorations, and prep for the next. Endless shopping. Racing kids from one practice to another (football, cheerleading, winter dance recitals, and holiday chorus concerts, oh my!).
Plus, during all of that, we still have our normal everyday busy lives to attend to. Healthy meals to cook, jobs to do, regular school drop-offs and pick-ups, etc, etc, neverending etc. Forget counting down to the New Year on December 31st. Most of us are counting down to a return of some semblance of “normal.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday season. It really is the most wonderful time of the year. But with SOOOO much to do every moment of every day, it’s REALLY hard to make self-care a priority.
When you’re too busy for self-care, that’s when you need it the most!
Here’s the thing, though: the times when it’s hardest to fit self-care into your schedule are the times when you really need it the most. You can’t maintain this “Mach Speed” schedule without recharging your mind, body, and soul every so often.
With that in mind, I’m sharing some of my favorite self-care ideas below. Some take moments, while others require setting aside more “me time” for yourself. I divided them up depending on how long they take. Enjoy!
One last note: this post includes affiliate links where I recommend products to make your self-care a little easier. If you buy anything through them, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Super-quick self-care ideas for a few minutes of “me time”
If you can squeeze just a few minutes out of your busy schedule, you have time to do these ideas!
1. Change the wallpaper on your phone to something that makes you smile!
It sounds silly, but consider how often you check your phone throughout the day. It’ll bring you a split-second of joy each time, and that adds up! Swap it out on the first day of each month. You can use photos of your kids, your pets, or even some great inspirational quotes.
2. Indulge in a piece of high-quality dark chocolate.
Not only is it delicious, but it’s loaded with antioxidants that help fight those dreaded free radicals. Some studies even show chocolate soothes a sore throat better than cold meds! Check out my post on how to tell if you’re actually eating real chocolate that’s good for you.
3. Do a little yoga
One minute is all it takes to do a quick yoga pose or two to help relieves stress and anxiety. If you’re not sure how just search YouTube for “one-minute yoga.” There are tons of videos, but I love this one because it’s all about invoking a sense of calmness:
4. Give yourself a pep talk
Can’t even carve a single spare moment out of your crazy schedule? Here’s something you can do while you’re driving, walking, or waiting for your kids: give yourself a pep talk! Spend an entire minute telling yourself about all of your amazing positive qualities.
5. Read a positive affirmation card
There are tons of different positive affirmation card decks on Amazon, but I think this Dogs Against Anxiety is my favorite because you get a dose of cuteness along with your positivity. They have one for cat lovers, too. If you don’t want to spend the money, you can find a bunch of free printable ones online (like these).
6. Pet a pet!
By now we all know that dogs help us live longer. You don’t need to spend an hour snuggling with Fido, though. Even just petting your pup (or your cat, guinea pig, hamster, etc) can help relieve stress.
7. Watch a funny YouTube video
Laughter really is the best medicine, and a great way to relieve a little pent-up energy and stress. If you have a smartphone, you can do this quick self-care idea pretty much anywhere at any time. YouTube is overflowing with adorably hilarious videos. There’s even a channel called One Minute Laugh that’s dedicated to short 60-second videos that will make you smile, like the one below.
8. Dance it out!
Turn on a happy song and just dance your heart out. You don’t need to be a prima ballerina or anything. You don’t even have to be remotely good at it. Just let the music move you (literally). It’s a great stress reliever because it releases endorphins the same way that running does.
9. Start reconnecting with an old friend
As I’ve said before, reconnecting with old friends is good for the soul! While the actual process takes longer than a single minute, you can get things started by sending a quick text or Facebook message.
10. Kick off your shoes and feel the ground beneath your feet
There’s nothing that makes you feel more grounded than literally feeling the ground beneath your feet! So take off your shoes (socks, too) and let bare toes dig in! Check out my post; 3 Amazing Reasons Why Your Family Should Go Barefoot More for more reasons to give this one a try.
20-minute self-care ideas
If you have a bit more time but not quite an entire hour (or even half-hour), try these:
1. Take a nap.
Sleep is a very important form of self-care but most of us are deprived of it in one way or another. A quick nap can do wonders to help you recharge, but most experts say you should limit naps to about 20 minutes to reap the greatest rewards.
2. Read a few pages of an interesting non-fiction book.
I save my fiction reading for when I have time to really dig in, but I keep a few “fun facts” type books on hand for when I just have a few minutes to spare. Keep one in your car’s glove box to read while waiting at parent pick-up or for your doctor’s appointment. You’ll learn something new every day! It’s a great way to give your brain a little extra self-care.
3. Let your mind wander
Daydreamers are better at remembering information even in the face of distraction, according to a 2012 study published in Psychological Science. So, the next time you have a good 20 minutes to spare, just let your mind wander wherever it chooses to roam.
4. Write in a journal
Writing in a journal is a great way to relieve stress because it gives you a chance to “unload” your mind a bit. While I think there’s something extra-special about putting a pen to an actual paper journal, yours can really be whatever you want. An app, a Google doc, or even the Notes thingy on your phone.
5. Start your own deck of positive affirmations (or add to it)
Remember that one-minute positive affirmations self-care idea above? Why not make your own cards instead of buying one? Grab some notecards and use your 20 minutes to jot down some happy thoughts, inspiring quotes, and so on. Keep adding to it whenever you have extra time. Then stash those cards everywhere- your car, your purse, your mirror, and so on.
6. Give yourself a facial
Twenty minutes is more than enough time to treat yourself to a facial. You probably even have all of the supplies for the perfect mask right in your own fridge. For example, all of the masks in the video below use just two ingredients.
7. Dejunk your phone or email
There is so much stress-relieving power in deleting a bunch of junk off your phone, computer, or email. Don’t believe me? Give it a try and you will! The best part is that you can even do this bit of self-care while standing in line at the post office, waiting for your kids to get out of school, or anywhere else you may find yourself with a few minutes to fill.
8. Clean up your “friend” list
If you’ve already dejunked your phone, move on to your Facebook friend list. Start by outright removing any toxic people that make you miserable whenever they pop up in your feed. Then, go through what’s left and “unfollow” the people that you don’t want to totally unfriend but still don’t want to see their posts every day. Last, but perhaps most important, cultivate a more positive feed by making a “see first” list of the people who bring you the most joy. Here’s a handy guide on how to do that.
9. Color in an adult coloring book
Grab a few really great adult coloring books and some crayons. Then, unleash your inner child on the page. Coloring has so many wonderful benefits. It relieves stress, helps bring more balance into your life, and gives your creativity a boost. There are tons upon tons of adult coloring books on Amazon. Here are a few of my favorites:
10. Go for a walk around the block
Throw on your shoes and hit the road. A quick power walk (or even a short leisurely stroll) can do wonders to reinvigorate your body and your mind. Plus, you can do this one pretty much anywhere. If you’re home, just walk right out your front door and stroll around the block. If you’re at work, take a walk during your lunch break. If you’re picking up your kids at school, park down the street.
Self-care ideas for when you have hours (or even just one hour) to yourself
While the quickie ideas above are great for recharging your “battery” on the go, you really should try to carve out a whole hour a day for yourself. If that’s not feasible, at least try for every other day.
1. Have lunch with a friend
If you’re a regular reader, you’ve seen my post on how going out twice a week with friends is good for your health. But if you can’t do it that often, even just an hour every week, every other week, or once a month is enough to help you feel more connected.
2. Get a hand massage
Sure, you could go all out and get a whole manicure, but honestly, I’d rather just have someone massage my hands for a solid hour. It’s really the one spot that we can’t massage on our own all that well. Think about it, you use one hand to do the other, which is tiring for the hand doing the work. Then you switch, so the hand that you just did gets all sore. If you don’t want to pay someone else to do it, you could buy a hand massager. The one below has good reviews.
3. Read a good fiction book
This is one of my all-time favorite self-care ideas. Grab a really great fiction book, curl up with a cup of tea, and spend an hour between the pages of a book. There’s something so incredibly wonderful about escaping our reality for a bit and diving into someone else’s imagination.
4. Take a relaxing aromatherapy bath
Pull the stopper, fill the tub with hot water, toss in some of your favorite essential oil bath bombs, and soak your worries away. Pure bliss! You can even make your own bath bombs ahead of time during another one-hour self-care session.
5. Write letters to old friends or family
These days, we do most of our communication digitally, through emails and texts. While it’s definitely more convenient, it makes me a little sad. I miss going to the mailbox and discovering that I received a letter from a far-off friend or family member. You can give back that joy to someone else, though! Spend an hour writing a letter to a loved one, then stick it in the mail!
6. Walk down memory lane
Grab your old yearbooks and photo albums and take an hour-long stroll down memory lane! If you have kids, ask them to join, and regale them with stories from your childhood. While we should try to be present in the, well, present as much as possible, it’s great to indulge in a bit of nostalgia every so often.
7. Watch an episode of your favorite show
Sometimes, you just want to completely shut off your brain and unwind in front of the TV, watching some mindless show about teen vampires or something. I say go for it! Self-care doesn’t have to be about deep thoughts and fancy spa treatments. It’s just about doing what makes you happy and not justifying it to anyone.
8. Help yourself by helping others
Showing kindness and empathy for those in need reminds us to be thankful for what we have. That, in turn, leads to a greater feeling of gratitude. Multiple studies show that gratitude actually relieves stress. So, you really are helping yourself and taking better care of your own mental health by helping others.
9. Talk to a therapist
Therapy is the ultimate form of self-care, and it’s not just for people who are depressed or dealing with other mental health issues. EVERY last person on this planet can benefit from talking to someone outside of their own little circle. Therapists are totally unbiased and everything you say is confidential. So you can really vent or pour your heart out during your session without worrying that it will come back to bite you.
I saved this one for last because not everyone finds meditation relaxing. For some people, it actually makes them more anxious because they can’t quiet their minds enough. But if you do enjoy it, recharging your soul with a little Zen session is a great way to spend an hour.
See! Whether you have a minute, twenty minutes, or an entire hour or more to yourself, you CAN fit self-care into your daily routine! So please, make “me time” a priority this month. You won’t regret it, I promise.
Last update on 2022-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API