How To Squeeze In Self-Care During A Busy Work Week

If you're not careful, self-care can become yet another box to check off on your to-do list. Especially when you're busy, the thought of taking time for a long relaxation routine can leave you more tired than before. Fortunately, when you have a few easy techniques in your back pocket, you can squeeze in small moments of peace wherever you are.

The first space to check-in is with your mental state. Finding a mindfulness practice to fit in on-the-go can make a big difference in the way you feel throughout the week. Instead of doing an hour-long meditation or mindfulness practice, Mindbodygreen suggests fitting in a few moments on the go. The outlet recommends deep-belly breathing as a way to calm your entire system, no matter where you are. Picture a balloon in your stomach as it rises and falls with each inhale and exhale. Close your eyes and take at least three of these full cycles of breath whenever you feel yourself getting stressed out. Additionally, these are awesome practices to implement when you wake up or anytime you're moving from one thing to the next. Make a habit of calming your system with a few belly breaths when you get into your car, for instance.

Furthermore, a main cause of stress may be staying inside for too long. Mindbodygreen recommends getting outside a few times a day to breathe a little easier and take a load off. The world can feel pretty small when you're in the same room all day; get outside and feel the fresh air breathe new life into your cells.

Switch up your atmosphere

After a long day, it may take you a while to fully decompress and remove yourself from the grind. To make that process more smooth, it helps to draw the line between work and relaxation time. For instance, Lyn Lewis, CEO of Journelle, tells Shape that she quickly changes her clothes once she gets home. "As soon as I get home, I immediately get into my favorite pajamas. It's something I do to instantly affect my mood, whether they're comfy ones or a silky elegant chemise."

Rather than sitting in the same clothes you've been in all day, shift your mood by shifting your outfit. Find something comfortable, take a moment in silence and carve out some space for yourself. Another way to take a load off involves breaking up bigger tasks — like your workout — into more manageable periods. The outlet suggests fitting in various movements throughout your day instead of having to fight through an hour-long class after eight hours. Make your own ritual in your workout and throughout your day. Do a few squats on your way to the bathroom, take a longer walk at lunch or stretch out during the 3 PM slump.

Lastly, make a list of the activities that make you feel and perform your best, Mindbodygreen recommends. By whittling down the things that make you happy and serve a purpose, you can more easily discern between priorities and less-important tasks. Go easy on yourself, it's okay if you're having a hard time getting it all in. That can be self-care in and of itself.