If you spend your day scrambling to get everything done, only to fall short, you aren't alone. But all that stress can get to you. Working a little time into your schedule for self-care can help you battle stress and live a happier, more fulfilled life. Here are some ways to take a little time for yourself each day.
1. Identify Unproductive Time Wasters
During the holiday season, you can be especially stretched for time. Juggling shopping, gift wrapping and gatherings with everyday life can be tough. That makes this the perfect time to do a quick inventory of your top time wasters.
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For many people, social media consumes far too much time each day. Smartphones have made it easier than ever to stay constantly connected. Pay close attention to how long you scroll Facebook, Instagram or your other favorite platform each day to find out how much extra time you can free up.
2. Schedule in Some Me Time
That to-do list can take over your life. So why not schedule a little mental health break into your day? In fact, one study found that workers who took a midmorning stress-busting break reported fewer physical health problems and reduced their risk of burnout.
As you're filling out your calendar for the week, schedule in a half-hour each morning to do something you enjoy. If you spend your day at a desk, go for a quick walk, even if it's just around the office. Try to do something that uses a different part of the brain than you're using for work.
3. Spend Some Time Outdoors
The COVID pandemic has forced many people to seek time alone outside. When going to the gym or dining in restaurants aren't options, people get creative. If the weather is nice, a little time outdoors can go far in improving your mental well-being.
But even if the weather outside is less than ideal, spending time outdoors is crucial. Sunlight exposure has been linked to improved mood, boosted immunity and increased alertness. Just a few minutes during the warmest hours of the day can be enough time to give you the vitamin D dosage you need.
Consider also: Hiking
4. Improve Your Work-Life Balance
Often, it's not so much about taking work breaks as it is creating a solid work-life balance. What you do in your free time can be essential to boosting your health. As more Americans work from home than ever, some are finding it tough to disconnect once the workday is done.
Finding that work-life balance is all about setting boundaries. Disconnect from work completely at the end of the workday and devote yourself to relaxing and unwinding. Make sure you use your vacation time to truly do something enriching so that when you do return to work, you're refreshed.
5. Add Fun to Everyday Activities
Most of the suggestions for relaxing and unwinding every day require finding time you probably don't have. But you don't need a half-hour or more to enjoy your favorite activities. For instance, you can download a good book on audio and read it on your morning commute or while doing household chores.
The same goes for stress relief. Taking a few deep breaths while you're waiting at a traffic light will do wonders for your well-being. Practice mindfulness throughout the day by taking a moment to be present, savoring all the sights, sounds and smells around you.
Consider also: We All Need This Key Ingredient for Mindfulness
If you have a busy schedule, it can be tough to take a little time to do something you enjoy. But realizing how vital relaxation is to stress management will make it easy to work some personal time into your daily routine.