Self Care

21 Practical Self-Care Ideas that Easily Fit into Your Busy Schedule

When you make an intentional choice to recharge your mind, body, and soul, you offer the best of yourself to the people you love most. These practical self care ideas serve as a reminder to treat yourself right, and can be done in as little as 5 minutes a day!

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These #selfcareideas are exactly what I needed! I always feel #lowenergy, and every moment my to-do list goes unchecked, I experience a rush of #guilt about my own un-productivity. With these ideas, I can manage my #energylevels in an intentional way, accomplishing more and more each day. If you need to #break through a productivity slump, or just feel like you don't want to get things done, this post suggests plenty of self-care ideas you can do in 5, 15, or 30 minutes! #easyselfcare

When you hear the phrase “self-care,” what springs to your mind? That the concept seems over-indulgent? Lazy? Wasteful? Selfish?

You’re not alone—because that’s exactly what I used to think, too. Inner critics are real gems!

Self-care is a luxury that’s hard to justify when you’re buried under never-ending mountains of laundry, recurring social commitments, and long work hours…whether you’re typing away in front of a computer screen or driving kids to and from soccer practice.

But for some of us, it’s absolutely necessary to take a break.

Believe me, I wish I had the same intense drive as some of my friends.

I see fellow entrepreneurs pour themselves into their businesses and grow at an extremely rapid rate. Other friends spend all day cleaning, organizing, and being Supermom. Some even manage to rock at both, fueled with a magical energy that propels them to accomplish more, more, MORE.

I can’t help but compare my life to theirs and wonder why I burn out so easily. Why when I push my body past its limits, I end up in a fetal position on the couch, binge-watching five more episodes of Heartland, or scrolling mindlessly through Instagram, all while feeling even more ashamed that my long to-do list goes unchecked because of my depleted energy levels.

Work hard. Burn out. Work hard. Burn out.

It’s an unsustainable cycle that isn’t healthy. And if you’ve read this far, perhaps you struggle with the same pattern.

Allow me to suggest something different from the work-hard/burn-out cycle…

Instead of pushing yourself to that maxed-out level, try working in various self-care activities into your day and see how it affects your productivity and task list. Learn to work with your energy levels, rather than against yourself.

For me, this process of adding in self-care to my daily routine was gradual. I began to refuel my tank in little ways, which empowered me to write, create, clean (yes, clean!), and generally have a better attitude.

As a surprising result of my consistent commitment to routinely scheduled self-care, I was actually getting MORE done. My new daily plan with intentional breaks worked much better than my previous all-or-nothing, productivity-or-bust schedule.

Plus, caring for yourself reduces stress, which can relieve a vast array of health problems from popping up in the future!

Self Care Ideas

The biggest hurdle you’ll face when adding self-care to your daily routine:

TIME.

After all, when our days are already jam-packed, how do you “fit” self-care into your day? Where do you find the time? Below I give you two suggestions, one centered on mindset, and the other centered around your schedule:

  1. Remind yourself that self-care is not selfish. Grant yourself permission to take care of yourself, and you will feel less guilty for taking a break. Remember, you are integrating self-care into your daily routine so you can give the best of yourself to the people you love the most. Instead of burning out and having nothing left to give.
  2. Take activities OFF your schedule. If you know you want to take better care of yourself but your calendar just won’t seem to allow it, scale back to the bare bones, if needed, even if it’s only temporarily. You need to mend and refuel before taking on yet another commitment.

Both those above solutions should help relieve the pressure of taking time for yourself, and open up a little more room in your schedule to practice self-care.

But even if you don’t have a lot of time, here are little things you can do whenever you have just 5, 15, or 30 minutes.

  • Light a candle.
  • Diffuse essential oils. For a pick-me-up, use Lemon. To relax before bed, diffuse Lavender or Cedarwood.
  • Create a gratitude list.
  • Focus on breathing ONLY for 1 minute. When your mind wanders, bring it back to those deep breaths.
  • Sit outside in the sun.
  • Play your favorite song.
  • Eat an energy-boosting snack.

  • Give yourself a manicure or pedicure.
  • Put on makeup {if only just mascara!}.
  • Cuddle with your pet.
  • Treat your inner child to a new coloring book.
  • Take a walk in the sunshine {or in the rain!}.

  • Journal your thoughts. If you’re sure what to write about, Simply + Fiercely guides you through various prompts. 
  • Practice a yoga routine
  • Start a puzzle or puzzle book.
  • Soak in the tub or take a long, hot shower.
  • Lose yourself in a good novel. I give a few recommendations HERE.
  • Browse through your favorite store. Sometimes a stroll through Michaels or HomeGoods—even if I don’t buy anything—brings a smile to my face!
  • Make an indulgent dessert.
  • Tackle a fun craft or DIY from your Pinterest boards.
  • Take a short nap.
Self Care Ideas Bullet Journal Spread

I like to keep a list of my favorite self-care activities in my bullet journal, and pick one when I need a quick break.

If you don’t have a bullet journal, you can use the printable below to create your own list. You’ll also get a downloadable cheat sheet of all the self-care ideas mentioned in this post! Keep them visible as a reminder to treat yourself right.

The bottom line: You need to stay in control of your schedule, instead of letting your depleted energy dictate what you can and cannot do. Self-care keeps your mind and emotions in check, and when you’re intentional about it, you’ll approach each situation with more focus.

Instead of running on empty, you’ll be fueled and ready to tackle anything!

Let’s chat about self-care ideas:

What activities refuel your soul and restore your sanity?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Rest assured, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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11 Comments

  1. This speaks to my mama heart, Kalyn. More and more, I realizing the benefits of saving no to some things so I can say yes to myself. Not only do I benefit but my family does as well. In the busyness of life it’s important to slow down and nurture our hearts, minds, and souls. My favorite ways to do that is with a good book and some coffee with frothed creamer. So good! I’d say a 30 minute power nap is a close second. 😉

    1. Books are the best! I’ll have to join you, just with hot chocolate though instead of coffee for me. 🙂

  2. I am a counselor intern; I am always collecting self-care stuff for myself and to share with my clients. This is well done. The most important thing you wrote is to accept who we are and our limits. I find it hard at times not to wonder why I can’t keep up with the rest of the world. The best thing I have done for myself has been to learn about and accept me. Thanks for breaking this down into doable time increments. It helps when someone feels overwhelmed by the idea of even starting self-care.

  3. A to the men! Love this reminder to take some time for self-care…and that all of your suggestions are 30 minutes or less! It’s really not about the quantity of time, but the quality of that time and doing it with intention. Also, love your bullet journal collection on self-care. I’m thinking of doing something similar with a “menu” of ideas for what to do on our weekly Sabbath (day of rest). Your list will be a great jumping off point for me!

    1. I think that is possibly my husbands favorite self-care option as well. 🙂

  4. Self care is not selfish. We all need to re-charge so that we can continue to give. I used to avoid self care and thought I was being magnanimous; however, I was being a martyr. Believe me, no wants wants to live with or be a martyr.

    Jesus took time to rest from the crowds and even his disciples and he is our perfect example.

  5. Yes! I used to feel guilty taking some moments for myself.
    If I was leaving the house for an alone shopping trip I would make sure to have the house cleaned up, lunch or dinner made ahead of time etc. before even leaving my husband in charge with the kids.
    I was already exhausted before even leaving for an afternoon of “me time”.
    Now I’m ok leaving without preparation and know my husband is very capable of caring for our children ( he was capable before too).
    Taking time to recharge makes me a better mother, wife and friend.
    God rested for a reason and we should look into what His word says about rest.

    1. Yes, Amanda! Exactly this. I’m so glad that you have a capable husband AND that you have come to that realization. Marriage is teamwork and there are times when you will feel like you pick up all the slack within, and other times when it’s his “turn.” And you know it’s working properly when it’s making you a better mother, wife, and friend. 🙂

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