Taking care of yourself while taking care of everything else you must do can be a daunting task. But, if you don’t make the time to take care of yourself, you’re basically just setting yourself up for failure.
I mean, there’s only so long you can go before you run out of steam and/or go crazy (or literally get sick). So, taking time to unwind and focus on yourself for a bit each day is critical.
However, we all know that trying to find time to unwind in a world that makes you feel like you need to CONSTANTLY be doing something is, well, fucking awful (I won’t sugar-coat it for you).
So, I’ve compiled a list of hobbies that help with self-care when you don’t have a lot of time to commit to it:
This one may not be for everybody. I mean, not everyone finds reading enjoyable. But, for those of us that enjoy a good book, this one is HUGE. According to a study done in 2009 by the University of Sussex, reading for pleasure can reduce stress by as much as 68%. In fact, in the study, it only took participants an average of 6 minutes to begin to experience a slowing heart rate.
Of course, this is reading strictly that we enjoy and that won’t upset us. For example, reading opinion pieces online that just piss you off is probably not going to have the same effect as re-reading your favorite novel.
For me, I find that re-reading the Harry Potter series every few years is a great way to relieve stress and it reminds me of why I started to enjoy reading in the first place.
I’ll admit it: I totally used to think yoga was only for those “feel good” hippy types. However, at some point literally everything about my health and wellness needs was pointing me in this direction, so I tried it. And now, I swear by it.
Sure, it’s not the “cure all” some would like you to believe. Plus, you truly do have to find a routine that works for your personal needs and body type. But, once you find the yoga routines you enjoy and do it reasonably regularly, yoga is a great way to ease tension in the body. Bonus: yoga helps you stay tone, like everywhere (I’ve never looked better naked).
Personally, I like finding a bunch of relatively easy 10-12-minute yoga workouts on YouTube and then doing them to start my day. I know, even 10 minutes can be hard to find during a chaotic week, but yoga will help you feel less tense throughout the day and help you focus on how your body is feeling. While it can be hard to find the time, the lack of tension in your back can only help the day be more productive.
This is a big one for me. Not only is exercise and fresh air AMAZING for managing stress but taking in the beautiful sites found in nature can really improve stress. I can’t be the only one who smiles when she hears birds chirping, right?
Making time to go on a quick walk outside is great for managing stress. Hell, or even just eat your lunch outside if weather permits to soak up those rays.
Nature walks are especially beneficial on sunny days as the sun has been linked to boosting levels of the happy chemical serotonin in the brain. *cue “Soak Up the Sun” by Cheryl Crow*
Arts and crafts
You don’t have to be an artist to find some benefit in art projects. Plus, you’ll never get better if you don’t try, right? Whether it’s drawing, knitting, scrapbooking, or painting; if it’s something you enjoy that will distract you from the stressors of everyday life for a while – it’s important to make time for it. You don’t have to take a class, just get inspired and go for it!
Personally, in the past, I have just Googled paintings of things I wanted to try and then attempted to copy it. Sure, I’m not great and it’s never even close to the picture online. But, it allowed me to not think about life for a little while and add some color to my life (literally).
Note: painting can be more time-consuming than a lot of art projects as paint is messy and needs time to dry.
Make time to sing and dance
On even the busiest days, it’s important to remember to MAKE yourself feel alive. Personally, I think that people that don’t listen to music while they get ready in the morning and/or on their commutes are wasting their lives. Music helps relieve stress and for some (myself included), it helps us feel alive.
Whether it’s singing in the shower (be careful about dancing in the shower *wink, wink*) or taking a dance break while fixing your hair; it’s important to make time to dance it out. I mean, it always seems to work for Meredith Grey.
This is a very practical hobby as it can be put down and picked up in your spare time and it doesn’t take too terribly long. Plus, once you’re done and you take a fabulous picture for your Instagram (of course), then you have fun soaps for your bathroom!
Personally, I’d go with soaps that smell pretty and relaxing as well so you get the added benefits of aromatherapy while you carve.
Lock yourself away for a bit
If all else fails, it’s important to make time to NOT think for 10-20 minutes or so… Wherever you feel the most relaxed, take some time to lock yourself up there to escape from reality for a minute.
For me, I do a personal form of meditation where I focus on not allowing myself to think about anything that is stressing me out. Then, I focus on making my muscles relax starting in my feet up to my shoulders while taking some deep breaths. Usually, I do this in the morning before I even get up. I’m SO not one of those jumps out of bed right when the alarm goes off people!