30+ Self Care Ideas for Busy Days

When life gets really busy, one thing that often tends to fall by the wayside is caring for our own selves. A lot of us have this tendency to associate self care with selfishness, when that really couldn’t be further from the truth. I am sure you’ve heard the oxygen masks in an airplane analogy enough number of times by now, so I am not going to repeat it. But hey, even Queen Bey says that self care isn’t selfish, and who are we to defy her diktats! :P

“We have to care about our bodies and what we put in them. Women have to take the time to focus on our mental health – take time for self, for the spiritual, without feeling guilty or selfish. The world will see you the way you see you, and treat you the way you treat yourself.”

BEYONCÉ

On top of the whole “self care is selfish” angle, there is this usual misconception that self care is all about hour-long baths, luxurious massages, and what not! Again, not true. Self-care does not have to be expensive or time-consuming, as you’ll see in the self care ideas I’ve rounded up below.

Self care, very broadly defined, could be anything that you do to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so a one-off day where you practice gratitude journaling or do 50 squats is not going to bring out any dramatic change in your life. Like with any positive habit, it is the consistency of the action that brings about long-term results. Same with self care. It has to become a part of our every day for us to realize its benefits.

More importantly, we need to reframe what we consider to be self care. I am someone who truly values my me time – being a textbook introvert, it is in fact critical to my overall wellbeing. To me, self care is having a few moments of me time in my day to do as I please. However, in the past, I have been guilty of equating self care with having a large chunk of time to myself since I felt like I needed a much longer time to recharge myself. This used to lead to frustration on busy days because I felt deprived of what I considered to be true self care.

I had to literally rewire my thinking to start considering any available slot of time as an opportunity to practice self care to avoid falling into the frustration trap. Even the simple act of mindful breathing can become self care if you allow yourself to think of it as something that is nourishing you in the moment.

30+ SELF CARE IDEAS YOU CAN PRACTICE EVEN ON REALLY BUSY DAYS

We need to stop demonizing self care as selfish and time-consuming and see it as the source of positive energy that it really is. Taking a moment or two on a busy day – in fact, especially on a busy day – to recharge and reset yourself can only enhance your attitude and productivity throughout the day.

GRAB YOUR FREE DAILY SELF CARE CHECKLIST HERE:


The list below breaks down self care ideas on the basis of how much time you have available. Take what works for you realistically and ignore the rest. :)

WHEN YOU HAVE ONLY 5 MINUTES OR SO:

  1. Set an intention for your day, and check in with it periodically through the day
  2. Write down your 3 MITs (Most Important Tasks) for the day
  3. Make yourself a hot cup of tea or coffee
  4. Stretch your body
  5. Snack on a fruit
  6. Drink a glass of water, perhaps enhanced with some lemon and cucumber slices
  7. Listen to a peppy song
  8. Look outside your window and just observe the world go by
  9. Repeat a grounding mantra
  10. Splash your face with water, and then massage in some moisturizer
  11. Hug your pet or a loved one

WHEN YOU HAVE ONLY 15 MINUTES OR SO:

  1. Dance it out for a quick workout
  2. Read 5-10 pages or a chapter of a book
  3. Listen to a guided meditation
  4. Clear out your purse or the junk drawer
  5. Make a gratitude list
  6. Fold your laundry
  7. Do some foam rolling
  8. Delete unused apps off your phone
  9. Call a friend or a relative
  10. Unfollow toxic people on social media
  11. Unsubscribe from unwanted email subscriptions
  12. Browse through a coffee table book for some visual inspiration
  13. Make a list of 10 things that make you happy

WHEN YOU HAVE 30 MINUTES OR SO:

  1. Take a power nap
  2. Watch an episode of Schitt’s Creek or any of your favourite comedies
  3. Declutter your bathroom cabinet
  4. Journal it out
  5. Delete unwanted photos from your phone’s camera roll
  6. Make a menu plan for the next week, or the next few days at least
  7. Cook a quick, healthy dinner
  8. Massage your scalp and hair with coconut/almond oil, and follow that up with hot towel therapy
  9. Take a short walk around your house/workplace

So you see – self care is not only about face masks and long baths. The moment you start considering self care to be soul food, you will be able to create your own self care menu which will work for you and your season of life. I hope this list of self care ideas has given you some direction of what self care can look like even on busy days.


What does self care look like to you right now? Do you struggle with self care on busy days too? What other self care ideas would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below! As always, I’d love to hear from you all!

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32 Comments

    1. Thank you, Zoey! I find such a difference in my mood and mental health when I am being mindful and consistent about self-care. :)

    1. It’s taken me a lot of time to realise that even the small things matter so much. I am glad you enjoyed the post. :)

  1. Absolutely beautiful post. For someone that is really busy I think we sometimes forget that it doesn’t take hours to practise some self care.

    1. Absolutely. Exactly why this post was on my mind. And to be fair, even I have made that mistake in the past. :)

    1. That’s true. I think the key is to be mindful about taking care of yourself, even if it just a tiny little thing in your entire day!

    1. Yes, I really do think that self care does not have to be this monumental thing that we need to add to our already overflowing to-do lists! It can be something simple and short as well. :)

  2. I hadn’t heard Beyonce’s quote (where have I been?) but it’s spot on. And I love that you’ve broken down self-care into time slots, that’s so helpful, thank you! Lisa

  3. I love how simple yet effective these tips are. Just goes to show how easy it can be to take a little time out of your do to dedicate to yourself.

  4. I love this! I love that you’ve included the ones for when you only have five minutes in a day to really check in with yourself but there are still things you can do to make sure your giving both your body and mind what it needs. There are some great suggestions here, thanks for sharing!

    1. Glad you liked it, Lindsey! And with time, I’ve come to realise that being mindful with your time and yourself for even 5 minutes a day can still give you an immense boost. :)

  5. It’s so great how you broke this up by the amount of time one has to spend on self-care. Excellent ideas – and all ones I try to work into my days as frequently as possible!

  6. I love love love this! Self-care is so important and it’s something I often forget to do. These are some great tips – I really like the reminder to dance it out! Self-care to me is doing some gardening and getting away from my phone haha!

    1. Gardening sounds lovely. I have more of a black thumb, I’ll admit, but for the ones that survive, I feel so proud of myself. :)

  7. Some great idea here! I have a newborn baby so I find it really hard to get any self care into my day but am going to start incorporating some of the 5 minute self care ideas. x

    1. Oh! Congratulations on your little baby! :)

      Not a parent myself, but I can imagine that it must be difficult to truly take out time for yourself. I hope some of these ideas can help you. 🤗

  8. Hi, this is my first time visiting your blog and I can say that your blog looks awesome! Great content and some great ideas are here. Thank you! xxx