Image via Free People Blog
Lately I have been working long hours at a busy coffee shop, which is both mentally and physically demanding. Even though I am completely spent at the end of the day, I sometimes find that it is difficult to make myself slow down and give my body and mind the rest that I need.
I made this list to help myself remember to slow down and take care of myself when I’m busy, and I hope there are some ideas here that you can incorporate into your life as well!
Stretch it Out
Image via Yoga Retreats
One of the best ways to slow down and tune into your body is to do yoga or some simple stretches. When you’re working long hours or spending a lot of time on your feet, your body can become extremely tense and achy. Stretching it out is a great way to ease tired muscles, as well as take a few minutes to pay attention to what your body needs. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just do what feels good. Stretch your hamstrings, neck, open up your shoulders, and do some gentle twists. Downward facing dog is one of my favorite all-inclusive poses, as it stretches your hamstrings, calves, back, shoulders, and releases your neck. I try to do at least one of these every day. (Remember it is okay to bend your knees in this pose if you have tight legs, and focus on moving your hips up and back, taking the weight out of your arms).
Legs up the Wall
Image via Shape.com
This pose is great when you’ve been on your feet a lot, and is also wonderful for your nervous system. Stay in this pose for anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to calm your body and mind.
This tip goes really well with the first two ideas. When you’re stretching or relaxing into a soothing pose, it is very beneficial to use deep, restorative breaths to calm your nervous system. Deep breaths are an anxiety-relieving health tip that is accessible to you anytime and anywhere. Use this tactic when you’re stretching and relaxing in the evening, and also periodically during your busy day.
Image via Venue Magazine
Tea is wonderful for your health and can have relaxing benefits as well. Chamomile and lavender are two teas that are known for their calming effects. My personal favorite tea is ginger, since it has a tummy-soothing effect and has other health benefits such as increasing immunity and relieving stress, which are all important when you’re busy and your body needs some extra attention. Here is a link to my favorite ginger tea:
There is something about candlelight that instantly makes me slow down and relax. Light your favorite candles while you do your stretches or drink your tea in the evening to set the mood for winding down.
Take Care of Your Skin
When you’re busy and stressed, you may experience breakouts, dullness, or dryness in your skin. It can also be difficult to make yourself take care of your skin at the end of the day when all you want to do is pass out. However, taking care of your skin is a great way to soothe yourself and relax, as well as ensuring that you can tackle tomorrow with clear, beautiful skin. Take the time in the evening to cleanse your skin with a purifying organic cleanser, followed by a soothing and calming moisturizer that can work its magic while you sleep. If you feel like you have time for it, treat your skin to an indulgent natural mask that will moisturize and purify your skin. You could leave your mask on while you do your legs up the wall pose to really give yourself some love!
Listen to Your Body
As a lover of fitness, sometimes it is hard for me to justify taking time off from the gym or my workout routine. However, when you’re super busy, it is imperative to listen to what your body is telling you so that you don’t get hurt or sick. If you are completely exhausted, it is okay to give yourself permission to rest. You could also choose to do some restorative yoga instead of an intense workout. Or maybe you do need to just sweat it out! The important thing here is to pay attention to what your body is telling you and not overdo it.
Make Time for Nourishing Food
When you’re busy it can be tempting to grab pre-packaged snacks and meals. However, the best thing you can do for yourself when you’re busy is to make sure your body is getting proper nourishment. Take the time each night after work to enjoy a wholesome meal filled with lean protein, healthy carbohydrates, and lots of veggies. You could prepare a simple yet comforting meal of quinoa or brown rice topped with sauteed veggies and maybe some chicken. Eating a nice meal is also a great opportunity to slow down and relax for a few minutes. When you have a busy schedule, it may be a good idea to dedicate a few hours on the weekend to prepping healthy food for the week. Cook some quinoa, chop up veggies, make dressings, and make sure you have healthy snacks to grab on the go. This can make a huge difference later in the week when you’re exhausted and starving.
Drink lots of Water
I’m pretty sure I am never seen anywhere without my water bottle. Drinking water is so imperative to staying healthy and energized, and is especially important when you’re running around all day. To make it more fun you can throw berries, lemon slices, mint leaves, etc. in a large pitcher and have access to refreshing infused water throughout the week.
Allow Yourself Alone Time
Sometimes when you’ve been running around like crazy and dealing with people all day, all you really need is some time on your own to tune into yourself and reflect on the day. Even if you have a family, roommates, etc, make it a priority to have some time by yourself to unwind after a long day. Set up a cozy spot in your home where you can read, drink tea, or just sit and be quiet without anyone demanding things of you. If this is not possible due to others in your house, have a ritual for getting your alone time, such as going to yoga class, the gym, a coffee shop, a bookstore, etc.
Enjoy time with Loved Ones
Sometimes you need alone time, and sometimes you just need to lose yourself in time spent with those you love. After a busy day, it can feel like a treat to savor a delicious dinner with your significant other or family. It is important to not only prioritize yourself when you are busy, but also to make sure those you care about are not feeling neglected. Make sure you are still giving attention to those who deserve it.
Sometimes at the end of a hard day, there is nothing better than just curling up on the couch or in bed with your favorite blanket and maybe a loved one. Give yourself time to really just let go and be cozy and comforted.
I hope these tips will inspire you to give yourself the time and permission to relax and rejuvenate when you are busy. It is so important to take care of yourself so that you can tackle your work and life tasks with energy and confidence. Please comment below if you would like to share any of your own tips for taking care of yourself when you’re busy!