Blog Post | Simple Self-Care Strategies for Busy People
Simple Self-Care Strategies for Busy People
Let’s face it — juggling the demands of daily life can be draining … especially if you're dealing with ADHD-related executive function challenges. Whether it’s working, studying, caring for family, or managing an endless list of daily chores, it’s easy for us to neglect ourselves and put self-care at the bottom of our to-do lists. Yet, most of us understand that good self-care can reap a number of personal benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety, increased energy and productivity, and improved physical health.
So why is it that so many of us often neglect our own self-care? The answer is simple and the struggle is real – we feel that we just don’t have enough time. However, mindfulness experts suggest that dedicating as little as 10 minutes of self-care to our daily routine can positively affect our mental and physical health and significantly improve our quality of life. So, if you’re feeling like you don't have time to fit self-care into your busy life, here is a list of self-care strategies that you can do in 10 minutes or less.
1. Take a movement break
One of the most powerful ways to practice self-care is through physical activity. Not only is it good for your body, but researchers have found that it’s one of the most effective ways to boost your mood. Here are some suggestions for quick movement breaks:
- Go for a walk around the block.
- Dance to your favorite song or along with a simple dance tutorial, such as DJ Raphi Dance Videos.
- Do a quick yoga workout, which combines breathing and stretching into one. Yoga with Adriene has a number of yoga practices that can be done in under 10 minutes.
2. Practice mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation is a great self-care activity that doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Simply put, mindfulness meditation is a practice that teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm down your mind and body. It can be done in just a few minutes and can positively change the course of your entire day. There are many free or low-cost apps that offer short, guided meditations that you can do in just 5-10 minutes. Some of my favorite apps include Calm, Headspace, and The Chill Factory.
3. Keep a gratitude journal
One quick and fulfilling form of self-care is to practice gratitude. Studies show that routinely practicing gratitude positively impacts moods, optimism, and overall well-being. One of the easiest ways to do this is to keep a gratitude journal and write in it at the end of the day. In your journal, record 3 things you’re grateful for — or even simpler, something pleasant that happened to you during the day. You can keep a journal in whatever way is easiest for you — through simple pen and paper or even the note-taking app on your phone.
4. Engage your senses
If you only have a few minutes, engaging your senses is an easy and effective way to practice self-care. Here are a few strategies:
- Listen to music that matches the way you want to feel. For example, listen to classical music if you want to relax, spa music if you want to calm down, or upbeat music if you want to feel energized.
- Cuddle with your pet if you have one. Research indicates that spending time with furry pets offers comfort, boosts feelings of happiness, and can lower blood pressure.
- Enjoy a cup of your favorite herbal tea.
- Light a candle or diffuse some essential oils into your space to match how you would like to feel. For example, you might diffuse lavender to relax, peppermint oil to increase focus or orange oil to lift your mood.
5. Declutter or tidy your living space
Since our living space is an extension of ourselves, it’s an important part of self-care that shouldn’t be ignored. For many of us, cluttered living space can actually make our minds feel disorganized and anxious, as well. So if this is you, consider doing a 10-minute declutter session as a strategy to clear your mind. Pick one spot to tidy up, set a timer for 10 minutes, and declutter as much as you can. Even though this doesn’t seem like a lot of time, you might be pleasantly surprised at how much you can accomplish!
6. Do something creative
For some of us, doing something creative can be very therapeutic and therefore, a great self-care option. Here are a few quick and simple ideas to engage your creative side:
- Create a relaxing music playlist.
- Color in an adult coloring book.
- Draw or paint.
- Write in a journal.
- Knit or crochet.
- Work on a jigsaw puzzle.
7. Connect with friends or family.
Social connection is an important type of self-care. Research indicates that we’re all wired for connection and doing so makes us healthier. In our increasingly online world (especially since the pandemic), many of us don’t connect nearly enough. Think of the people in your life who are comforting or supportive and take ten minutes to connect with them. Here are a few examples:
- Touch base with a family member on the phone.
- Schedule a Zoom or FaceTime chat with a friend.
- Send a meaningful text to your spouse or significant other.
- Plan a night out or get-together with friends.
Although many of us often feel like we have an endless to-do list, it’s important not to forget to put self-care on that list. As you reflect on some of these self-care tips, consider which of these activities might be squeezed into your busy schedule. You may find that just 10-minutes per day can actually make a difference in your life!
Andrea Yellinek, ACC, CPAC
ADHD Coach | Center For Living Well with ADHD, LLC