How to use self-care to have a better day in 30 seconds
We’d all like to have a marginally better day when we’re feeling down, right? Well, read on- I want to help with that: by using 30 seconds to practice self-care!
For me, the rest of the time, I think I’d describe most of my days as… an organized chaos. Not just the mess around the house, but the emotions and relationships and stuff and planning and traveling and doing and oh my goodness everything.
Life gets crazy.
It’s frantic and all over the place, but also, sure, a little tiny bit organized- for the most part, I know what’s going on and where things are.
Some days, though, the chaos starts taking over.
Especially in American lifestyles. Life doesn’t leave much margin for ourselves. We’re generally low on emotional energy, de-stressors, and free time.
It seems like there are days when I have about 30 seconds to try to destress before I’m off to the next thing!
And too many times, for me, those little amounts of free time mean I’m going to choose to look at my phone. That’s so unhealthy… it’s like defaulting to mindlessness, and it just pushes off what was stressing me to begin with, without actually solving anything.
And if I’m already having a bad day, looking at those social-media-appropriate “perfect lives” on my phone really don’t help.
Then there are the things you can do to just shove your stress into submission.
You know the habits.
Things like overeating, shopping, or drinking. They’re the sort of coping mechanisms that might make you feel better for a little bit, but usually, these spur-of-the-moment urges leave you feeling even worse than you did before.
And they’re terrible habits to get in to.
There are better ways to care for yourself!
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The importance of self-care
Self-care is super important to me, and I’m so glad it’s becoming a little more well-received in professional circles and businesses. But, of course, as it gains leverage, there comes along with it plenty of people who don’t understand how to do self-care right.
They think it’s an excuse to fall into unhealthy habits, spend too much money, or binge on Netflix. And I want to tell you that nope, that is not what self-care is all about!
It shouldn’t be something that makes you feel worse after you do it. If we are really caring for ourselves, we should also consider how we’ll feel in an hour, tomorrow, or a year down the road.
Your future self is still you. And people forget that when they’re eating too many Doritos or drinking one glass of wine too much…
Don’t do that to yourself.
That’s why I think that natural, holistic living is one of the best ways to care for yourself- taking into account your body, mind, and soul, and doing things that are best for all three.
We all have bad days, and we all have little moments of time that we can choose to use well.
With that in mind, here are ten little ways that you can use those 30-second moments scattered around your day. Do something good for yourself every now and then!
How to practice self-care in 30 seconds or less
1. Step outside
If you’re familiar with grounding, you know that it can have some fantastic benefits for your mood! If you need a quick boost, go outside for 30 seconds and just soak up some sun.
Take off your shoes and touch the earth. Forage for dandelions.
And I’m pretty sure that going outside is beneficial even if it’s dark or cold out. Just close your eyes and breath fresh air for a little!
2. Breathe deeply
Breathe in through your nose, hold the air for a moment, and slowly breathe it out through your mouth. Focus on your breathing and nothing else.
If you’re feeling stressed, this can help relax your sympathetic nervous system and calm your fight-or-flight mentality.
It reminds your body that you aren’t in any danger and you can take it easy.
3. Drink kombucha
I don’t know about you, but kombucha just feels like a happy drink to me. Especially when you make your own to enjoy more of the probiotic benefits at a fraction of the cost!
Sometimes it’s the highlight of my afternoon to take a kombucha out of the fridge and just relax and enjoy it for a little while.
4. Put your legs up a wall
Just one of the many things we can learn from yoga…To do this simple pose, just lay flat on the ground, and rest your legs straight up against a wall!
Not only does this pose help with muscle soreness, blood circulation, lower back pain, headaches, cramps, better sleep, and PMS, but it’s also calming and helps relieve stress.
What’s not to love?
Pick a partner, pet, or friend who’s ok with that kind of thing, and hug it out for 30 seconds!
Hugs help reduce anxiety. Your brain releases oxytocin (the love molecule) and that just helps make everything feel better.
6. Use an essential oil roller
And hey, if you use this tip with the previous one and apply your roller before hugging a loved one, you can pass on all those delicious essential oil benefits to them! Wow, you’re a great friend. =)
7. Eat a piece of dark chocolate
Now this one can easily go into the dangerous territory of Not-Self-Care that pretends to be self-care. Especially if you leave out one little word: dark!
Make sure it’s a good chocolate (I
like LOVE this one -prob my favorite chocolate ever) with at least 70% cocoa content. Make it count.
Besides all the other crap being mostly sugar and not even real chocolate, that stuff will just leave you craving more! And then before you know it, you’ve eaten the whole bar and don’t even feel better.
Honestly, eating a bar of Hershey’s chocolate is pretty much the opposite of self-care.
But now dark chocolate, that’s a whole different story. Just a little piece can satisfy your cravings, and beyond that, it’s an antioxidant-packed, magnesium-rich, mood-boosting superfood!
And it hasn’t been scientifically proven, but I’m pretty sure that dark chocolate also tastes like joy and magic.
Also, you can easily make dark chocolate for yourself, preservative and refined-sugar free, right at home! Find out how here.
Ok, so here’s something I used to do when I worked a crappy, depressing job where I had 30-second chunks of free time and couldn’t even get away from my desk long enough to go outside: every once in a while I’d escape my desk, go to the bathroom, (lock the door), look at myself in the mirror, and force the biggest, weirdest, goofy grin I could.
Even though there was rarely a reason for me to smile at that job, just forcing a smile helped my mood.
Scientific studies have shown that making the muscles on your face smile helps with stress and anxiety. It’s like a free ticket to a better day in seconds! For me, it worked just as well as going for a ten-minute walk.
Oh and feel free to make some faces at yourself in the mirror too! I’m not sure what science says about that but it sure made me feel better. So now that you know something weird about me, go and try it for yourself!
9. Make a list
And not just any list- I want you to sit down with your journal (if you don’t have one you should get one!) and a pen, and jot down five things you’re thankful for.
This doesn’t have to be general sort of answers that we all come up with on Thanksgiving in front of all our family, and it’s fine if you come up with something like “family” or “air to breathe”.
But also just try to think of some small things from your day that you’re thankful for! It’ll help you focus on the positive, remember things that you might have forgotten if you started feeling not great, and can powerfully affect your mood.
Thankfulness overall is something all of us could practice a little more of, and an incredible habit to learn!
10. Do something kind
This is probably the best and the hardest one of all. If you’re really feeling crappy, the last thing you’ll want to do is something selfless for someone else.
But I promise you, it will make you feel better! Even if you have to force yourself kicking and screaming (er… metaphorically) to get up and do something, it’s worth it.
So worth it.
If you’ve been internalizing your problems and feelings, you’ll start to realize that other people exist too, and that it just feels better to think of them first.
Try being anonymous in your act of kindness too- pay for someone’s coffee in the drive-thru behind you, or leave a bouquet of flowers at someone’s desk. You’ll end up being the one to benefit from it!
What do you do when you have little segments of time to boost your mood? Do the things you usually default to help or hinder you? Let me know in the comments below!
More on stress
Did you know that stress is toxic? Cutting the toxins (including stress) out of your life aren’t just helpful for your health and recovery, it can also help boost your mood! Get my guide below for more on reducing toxins.