For busy women (that’s most of us), self-care can feel like an unaffordable luxury. Self-care is often associated with long weekends spent at the beach, a trip to the spa or even hours spent exercising. In reality, though, self-care can be anything (big or small) that you do to give your body the attention it deserves.
Below I am sharing with you five self-care tips that you can do daily, that won’t take more than 10 minutes of your time while still having a huge impact on your body.
1. Touch your toes and stretch
It’s easy to ignore the stress in our bodies. But the truth of the matter is that when we spend long hours hunched over the computer, curled up on the couch or picking up after the grandkids, our posture and body take a backseat. It won’t take more than ten minutes to step out of your chair and touch your toes, but the stretching will benefit your aching joints and your tired body.
While you’re at it, stretch the rest of your body as well. Whether it is advanced or basic, any kind of stretching will keep your body functioning well despite periods of inactivity. Touch your toes, extend your arms and gear yourself up physically and mentally for whatever task is at hand.
Research has shown that it is best to decrease the amount of time you spend sitting. Sitting for extended periods of time (more than 30 minutes) without getting up and moving for a few minutes in between can have detrimental effects on your body that can’t be exercised off. Breaking up long stretches of sitting can help to guard against a host of health issues such as heart disease, diabetes or weight gain.
2. Massage and moisturise
Though we tend to link massages and fancy lotions to a day at the spa, not many of us have the time or budget to indulge in frequent spa trips. But that’s okay because no masseuse will know your body and your preferences as well as you do.
After your bath or shower, use a natural lotion such as organic coconut oil or avocado oil and rub it mindfully into your body. Spread the lotion gently and thoroughly and massage over your body across areas that you might not realise are aching. I’m sure this will help you to feel relaxed and energised and your skin will benefit greatly from the extra moisturising.
3. Phone a friend
At a time where connectivity options are abundant, it’s ironic how disconnected we actually are. The hassles of everyday life can be exhausting and drain us of the desire to socialise beyond what is absolutely necessary. During our free time, there are personal things we need to tend to that make socialising seem less important. But to truly care for ourselves, we need to nurture our social and emotional connections as well.
While it’s easy to pick up your phone to send a text message, take ten minutes out of your day to chat with a friend or a family member. You benefit just as much as they do. Simply talk about your day and maintain the feeling of being connected. Your support system can help relieve stress and help you to maintain a healthy mindset through your shared bond.
4. Drink two additional glasses of water a day
Water is that little magic potion that we all too often ignore: it relieves fatigue, clears skin, detoxes your body, improves digestion and prevents cramps. Yet we often forget to hydrate sufficiently causing headaches as a result. Not only will drinking an extra two glasses of water help you hydrate, it will also give you much-needed time to get away from your technological devices and focus on your surroundings.
Drink the water slowly and mindfully and savour the break from your work before you dive back into it. Try to follow the sensation of the water as it trickles down your throat as this will help to distract your mind from the stress and daily chaos of your life for a few seconds. Not a big water fan? Add in a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice or fill a jug with water and add some sliced fruit for an additional flavour burst.
5. Play with your pet or go for a walk
Whether it’s a furry friend or a tank full of fish, scientists have proven the health benefits of animals at every turn. A pet of your own means a faithful companion. In addition to that, spending time with a pet is a proven way to lower blood pressure and increase oxytocin levels (the love hormone.)
The repetitive motion of petting your companion (or someone else’s) can be very soothing. Don’t have a pet? Go for a walk to your local dog park as merely taking in the sights of other dogs and animals has the same impact on your wellbeing.
I know how excited I am to see my dog, Temi when I return home after a long day out. Cuddling her feels calming and oh so comforting (both for me and for her.)
So in summary, self-care isn’t just about facials, eating your greens and getting your hair done. It’s also about the soul food that fuels you and the small things that make big impacts on your overall wellbeing. By practising these five tips, it allows you to spend 10 minutes away from the chaos and stress of your daily life.
Choose one of these activities that feels achievable to you then start using that as a self-care tool to begin your journey to loving and caring for yourself.
Medical Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For medical advice always consult your physician. The information provided in this blog is based on the best knowledge of the author at the time of writing and we do not assume liability for the information within this blog, be it direct or indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages.