The Twenty-Something Series: How to make time for self-care when you're busy

Self-care is important, especially when you're juggling a lot of things. But how do you 'make time' for it when you're that busy? In this post, I share my tips.


I posted recently about burn out - what it looks like for me and how I deal with it. I talked in that post about how important self-care is for me - and that's how I'm going to start this post.

Why is self-care such a big deal for me?

I do a lot. I forget that sometimes, but I do. I try to go above and beyond wherever I can in my day job, and I'm balancing that with my writing career - which is pretty busy this year - and seeing family and friends. That's all great, and I have no regrets, but it doesn't always leave a lot of time for me.

Self-care might be a bit of a buzzword right now, but honestly, I don't think that's a bad thing. I think it's because it is so important.

I posted back in 2017 about my mental health. I've suffered from depression in the past and still struggle with anxiety now sometimes. My mental health is in a much better place now than it was when I shared that post, or even before that, but because it's been a problem for me in the past, I know it's something I need to keep an eye on now.

I know that - for me, at least - the harder I work to look after myself, the better my mental health is. 

Also, when I'm so busy and doing so much, it's usually one of the first things I let slip. Whether that's around cooking myself dinner or letting the laundry pile up, or going out to see friends and making time for the things I want to do - even just to watch a TV programme.

And hell, I deserve to feel fabulous.

So how do you make time for self-care?

It can be hard to make time for that when you're juggling a million and one things. I know, I get it. 

Time now for my other favourite buzzword: ROUTINE. 

Honestly, I know I bang on about it a bit, but recognising how much I need structure in my day and how much routine helps me has been a REVELATION. It's really changed how I approach balancing everything.

Finding a routine that works for you can make a huge difference.

For me, that's getting all my chores and grocery shopping done straight after work. It's doing anything that's 'admin' before anything else. It's doing as much as I can - especially things like chores - during the week, to free up my weekends. 

Figure out what self-care means for you.

Whether that's a face mask, exfoliating and painting my nails, whether it's watching Hollyoaks, or whether it's having a wander around the shops. Whether it's cooking a nice meal or having a nice, fancy bar of chocolate.
 
Self-care can cover a multitude of things so it's important to figure out what it means for you.

Because honestly, it's all about the attitude.

Yup. This is something I've found. If I treat it like something I should do, or have to do anyway, it feels like work. It feels like effort. It feels like a chore. But if I treat it as something I'm doing for myself - hell, even if I think of it as a literal 'treat', it makes such a difference.

Take something like making your bed. Easy, quick task. I've always made my bed after getting up in the mornings. Now, when I do it, I think about how much better I will feel for having a made bed. Sad as it sounds - I look forward to changing my bedsheets because it always feels so nice to put on some fresh pyjamas and get into bed with fresh sheets. 

Cooking tea is another one. I'll take the extra effort to make something nice, take a little extra time to do it, so it feels special. 


Taking advantage of 'dead time' is a big help, too.

By 'dead' time, I mean time when I can't really do anything else. Times like when: I'm showering, doing housework, cooking tea, getting ready. Times when I can't really do work anyway. Finding ways to make the most of that time has become a great tool for me, and helps me use my actual free time to be more productive and get my work done... or just watch more Netflix.

It's kind of hard to describe, so instead, I'm just going to give you some examples of how I take advantage of 'dead time'.

I'll play my podcasts on the way to and from work, or while I'm doing housework. I have to wash my hair every day so I pick a playlist for the shower that I can really sing along to with songs that make me feel on top of the world. I'll apply a face mask while I'm in the shower. 

I put a movie or TV show I want to watch on my iPad while I'm getting ready in the mornings or cooking in the evenings. The office I work in for my day job is really close to the town centre, so sometimes I'll head into town over lunch for a little window shopping... and a little actual shopping. 

It's all a way of making the most of time that I can't use for 'work' and finding a way to enjoy it.

And again: it comes down to your attitude. 

I could be resentful and annoyed that I have to wash my hair every day (and don't tell me about dry shampoo: I know, but my scalp is way too sensitive and it always brings out my eczema). But instead, I look forward to it and enjoy it because I'll belt out some songs I like or finish the podcast I was enjoying so much in the car on the way home. 

It's something I have to do anyway, so why not make the most of it?

And finally: remember to count the little things.

Making your bed in the mornings sets you up for a good day - honestly, it does. Putting away your laundry instead of leaving it on the radiators where you look at it and think about how you need to put it away feels like achieving something. A face mask or a TV show you like, they count too. 

Value the time you're spending on yourself. Don't think of it as time wasted, because it only makes you annoyed about it - think of it as time you're spending on yourself because, heck, you deserve it.


What are some ways you make time for self-care when you're busy, or feeling run down? I'd love to hear so please share in the comments, or Tweet me @Reekles!

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