Self-Care for any Time Frame: Your Ultimate Guide
Updated: Jan 28
Schedule some self-care into your busy days with these go-to lists from 5 minutes right up to 90!
So, you find yourself with a free hour and you want to channel your inner self-care guru. But it’s a been while since you had the time to really get your self-care groove on; you’re drawing a blank. When was the time you turned off your phone, filed the to-do list + just spent some time on yourself, with yourself, for yourself?
I don’t think I’ve met a single person recently who wouldn’t describe themselves as busy. And it’s true - we do all lead very busy lives. Meetings, work, deadlines, planning, chores, obligations, looking after others, etc. etc. But busy doesn’t have to mean burnt-out, and you can be busy and look after yourself at the same time.
you can be busy and look after yourself at the same time
I’ve had my own ‘busy life’ wake-up call recently; where despite being a self professed self-care witch, it’s incredibly easy to let the little acts of self-care slide when life gets a bit crazy. Or when the moon gets full and brings out all the crazy, ya feel? So, I’ve taken the past week to really remember those little habits, moments & time set-aside to turn off my phone, and switch on my self-care.
5 minutes of self-care is better than no minutes. Likewise, dedicating longer amounts of time to really delve into a self-care practice will boost your busy life in ways that you won’t believe (until you try it!). Just waking up an hour earlier and getting your self-care flow on will boost your mood, energy & productivity for the day ahead.
5 minutes of self-care is better than no minutes
Indeed, these simple acts have a massive impact on your life that will absolutely pour more joy into your everyday. Having some go-to lists like these (below) mean you won’t have to spend any time thinking of what to do; decide your time window, have a read & choose what speaks to your soul.
Remember, these are simple lists of ideas & prompts. I suggest you really contemplate the activities that fill you up with joy the most - big up Marie Kondo - or better yet, why not create your own unique pick’n’mix list (and share it with me too!). You can pin these on Pinterest, save them to your phone, or print them out and pop them in your diary. I’ve included some notes with each list to give you more information on more niche activities - enjoy!
5 minutes of Self-Care
do a breathing exercise
All this means, is that for 5 minutes, you repeat a cycle of three deep breaths in + out. You focus on the sensation: feel your belly rise + fall with each breath. Let your breathing return to normal + notice your thoughts. Repeat. This can calm your mind + refocus you on the important things in life, in under 5 minutes!
speed clean your workspace
This sounds like work, but a clean workspace can help clear thoughts. Throw away those stray pieces of paper + random items. If you have more than five minutes, declutter & dust. Add some aromatherapy to the mix + spray your space with a breath of fresh air.
chant a mantra
Chanting mantras can be a super mystical experience because the body, through sound, vibration, melody & meditation, becomes a temple & divine instrument. That’s right, you can make your body a holy vessel in less than 5. To get the most benefit from this, it helps if you are familiar with chanting. This means you can sooner develop a calm mindset & practice chanting straight away. You may have your own mantra given to you by a guru in your life, a friend, or acquired elsewhere. Or maybe you have a select few that you know through yoga & meditation. If in doubt, Om.
10 minutes of Self-Care
use EFT tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique)
EFT is a set of techniques that combine speaking with tapping acupressure points on the face and body. It is a type of therapy founded in the belief that emotions and thoughts are types of energy. EFT has rapidly been gaining momentum across the world as a popular holistic therapy for anxiety, depression + PTSD, as well as physical conditions.
My first reaction to EFT was something along the lines off… ‘EH?! You mean to say tapping on my face will help me heal from self-harm, adolescent abuse AND a history of disordered eating?! EXPLAIN…’ How can tapping on your face make any difference to the behaviour, thoughts + feelings that lie beneath serious illnesses? Well, as the holistic therapy hoe that I am, of course I was open to exploring this form of intervention. I’m so glad I persisted.
I’m still very new to EFT, but I’m hoping to really dig deeper into the practice this year. I’ve included a few minutes of EFT into my morning routine, after a good ol’ stretch and wiggle around. I’ve also used it during episodes of panic + anxiety, when I could barely breathe, and it not only gave me my breath back, it helped cry to release the pain from buried trauma, and this restored me to calm afterward. It is a feeling of emotional freedom, without a doubt.
Read more with EFT Therapist Frances Doodall
word vomit thoughts onto paper
Pull out your journal or any blank piece of paper. Write in a stream-of-consciousness style. Write whatever comes to mind. Curse to your heart’s desire, empty the evil on to the page, write whatever is disturbing you from your inner peace right in this moment. Get it out! So, it’s no longer in your head; it’s in front of you. Read it objectively, without attachment + judgement. You might gain a new perspective, or at the very least, some distance. What you do with the paper is up to you. You might decide to keep it for a while, rip it up, or burn it (very powerful) when the time is right.
try energy medicine
Energy Medicine utilises techniques from time-honored traditions such as acupuncture (similar to EFT), yoga, kinesiology, + qi gong. Flow, balance + harmony can be non-invasively restored. The balance within you is maintained by tapping, massaging, pinching, twisting, or connecting specific energy points (acupoints) on the skin. This is done by tracing or swirling the hand over the skin along specific energy pathways; through exercises or postures designed for specific energetic effects; by focused use of the mind to move specific energies; and/or by surrounding an area with healing energies. If you’re familiar with reiki, you’ll know this already!
Watch this intro into Energy Medicine by Donna Eden below:
20 minutes of Self-Care
Sometimes when we struggle to express, describe or label our emotions, the use of poetry + creative language can help. The use of imagery and metaphors can make colossal feelings + thoughts more tangible, relatable and releasable. At the same time, it can be used as a tool to really emphasise the intensity of those feelings though big descriptors that encapsulate the experience you’re going through internally. You are the artist of your life, express yourself, and empty your colour-heavy palate onto some paper.
do a tarot spread
If you’re not familiar with tarot and all you know of it is what you learnt watching Sabrina the teenage witch, well, unlearn everything. It’s not a way to predict the future - not really - it’s a tool used to help to reframe a personal situation and give you some perspective + clarity on it.
Tarot is one of the first self-care tools I pick up when I’m feeling frazzled, and for good reason: it gives me clarity. So, I use this when I need perspective on a situation, guidance for good outcome, or help with releasing old negative energy patterns.
You don't have to be a seasoned witch to read the cards, most decks come with a source book. Even in a wave of anxiety, pulling a card or three can help to reframe the current situation and help you see the bigger picture.
And please know: there are no bad cards. Every card is simply reflective of a different archetype, or part of the human experience. So, in other words, the Death card don’t mean you gonna die gurl! It means, you ‘bout to be reborn!
No deck, not a witch, not a problem: you can get readings online, or just youtube a tarot reading for your astrology signs (another one of my favourite things to do!).
40 minutes of Self-Care
create a vision board
Making a vision board is a powerful tool in manifestation. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. Of course, making a collage of the things you want in life isn’t gonna abrakadabra them into your world; but it is one powerful tool in the method. Your vison board is just that; your vision. And when you see it, *feel* it, visualise it, and take steps toward it every single day, it acts like a road map to your manifestation-destination.
listen to a podcast
Podcasts + audio books have changed the game of self-help forever. Podcasts are transformational tools in personal growth and healing; they can help you comprehend teachings in ways that reading simply does not. Not only that, they are mega convenient! You can listen to them while going for a walk, doing chores, or in the tub.
Sound is a powerful thing, and when you hear strong words of wisdom, they can vibrate within your body, and can change your frequency closer to that of the speaker. If you develop the habit of replaying or hearing those teachings, words, rambles within your head, your mind will remember them, and you will practice what now know to be true, or at least, developmental.
60 minutes of Self-Care
Try this Easy Vegan Banana Bread Recipe - Simple, Sugar Free + Ayurvedic
Find your Spell for Self-Love here
Listen to the podcast on Massage for Self-Care with Nina Holistic Therapies
90 minutes of Self-Care
take yourself out on a date
With all that pressure of finding 'the one' - it can be really hard to put yourself out there against societal norms + expectations. Heck, it can be hard just to even know who you are, and be that person. More importantly, it can be hard to remember that the most important person in your life is you, yourself. Building your relationship with yourself is crucial to building healthy relationships with others. You must learn to love yourself before you can love another person the way the both of you deserve. You are yours, before you are anyone elses.
The romance you have with yourself is the longest relationship you will ever have in your life, so make the most of it. Learn to enjoy spending time by yourself. It’s a time for the type of self-care that helps you grow into your higher self; to be who you are when you are most aligned, and love yourself as you are, whole.
Love yourself. Love being with yourself. Take care of yourself. Date yourself.
Recommended reading: What is Self-Love
I hope you enjoyed this post (poured straight from my soul) and found these simple self-care pins helpful. Please, re-pin these beautiful lists, repost them, share them, but make sure to tag me and tell me all your thoughts! Likewise, I love hearing about self-care practices I’m unfamiliar with, and how you lot experience trying out my tips.