Struggling To Make Time To Take Care Of Yourself? Do This.

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Hiya Loves:

Self-care is kind of complicated. Wouldn’t you agree?

Ok… maybe not the act itself. I mean, how complicated is it to pour a bath and relax?

But actually making time to take care of yourself. Yea. That can be complicated.

Life is so incredibly full of obligations. Every single one of us have people who depend on us. We’re needed. We care deeply about those people and their needs and want so badly to provide for them.

On top of that we often feel passionate about our work. But, even when we don’t necessarily feel so passionate about what we’re doing, there’s still the pressure to get everything done as perfectly as possible. Because people are typically depending on us for that goodness too.

But where oh where exactly do we fit our own needs into that equation?

See… it really is complicated.

And sometimes that complication can make it a struggle to make time for self-care. But it’s so important that we do.

So what exactly do we do when self-care feels impossible or overwhelming?

Let’s talk about it…

What Happens When We Neglect Our Self-Care:

A woman sits in a chair by a window and works away on her laptop

With all life’s obligations, the easiest thing to put on the back burner is often you. Your needs coming last can feel like the simplest option. Sometimes it’s as if that’s the best way to make sure that no one gets let down.

But that couldn’t be any further from the truth…

When we don’t make time for ourselves we tend to burn out. And ultimately that means that we have less to give and less energy to share.

Everyone around you benefits when you take the time to take care of yourself!

But don’t just take my word for it.

According to the Mayo Clinic, when caregivers neglect their self-care we often see these kinds of consequences:

    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Pour concentration and brain fog
    • Irritability and mood swings
    • Depression
    • Weakened immune function and increased risk of infection

A man stands with his hand on his head watching a subway go by.

But even if you aren’t a caregiver, your self-care still matters.

Dr. Shainna Ali, mental health clinician, says that neglecting your self-care needs (regardless of your profession) can:

    • Increase feelings of anxiety and anger
    • Make you feel more distracted
    • Cause fatigue
    • Reduce relationship satisfaction
    • Lower self-esteem
    • Decrease feelings of empathy and compassion
    • Increase the risk of health issues like heart disease and depression

Uhm, yea, no thanks!

But, with that in mind…

How Do You Work Self-Care Into a Complex, Busy Lifestyle?

A woman stands outside in a field of overgrown grass, her back to the camera and her face looking down to the side.

The most important thing to know is that self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. And it definitely isn’t one size fits all. Whatever you need in this moment is perfectly fine.

Dr. Beth Rush, a Mayo Clinic neuropsychologist, has this to say about your self-care:

“If you’re feeling frustrated, short on time, impatient, you have to go back to the basics of: ‘Have I done anything for myself today? Should I take a minute? Do I have to be the one who does it all? We tend to think of self-care as always going out and doing something like getting our nails done or going to the gym, but sometimes self-care is about just pausing. I think that’s something we recognize is becoming more important: learning how to slow down.” (source)

Woah! Read that goodness again! Sometimes self-care is about just pausing and learning how to slow down.

That’s it.

Whether it’s a minute of deep breathing at your desk before a meeting, a moment on a park bench on your lunch break, a little walk around the block, or some doodling while you decompress, you’re still rocking it!

Someone with long red hair sits, back to the camera, enjoying the view of the water and scenery in a moment of self-care.

Related: 4 Fantastic Reasons Why You Need To Make Time To Do Nothing

Yes, it’s wonderful (and even important) to take the time to go for a massage, get your hair cut, shop, bathe for an hour, get lost in a good book and all of those other wonderful self-care things when you need and have the chance to do so.

But if you find yourself in a state of complete overwhelm and can’t imagine doing one. more. thing. (Even if that thing is for you), know that it’s ok to just stop for a minute. Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated.

Essentially, what matters most is that you make time for you. What exactly you choose to accomplish in that time doesn’t particularly matter. It’s more about the result – de-stressing, unwinding, relaxing and recharging. Whatever calms you is great! That’s your self-care hot spot.

And what that might be changes from day to day (and sometimes even minute to minute). That’s totally ok!

Final Thoughts

A woman stands by the water with her eyes closed, as if breathing in deeply and enjoying the sounds of the water.

Connecting with yourself and asking those questions that Dr. Beth Rush encouraged you to ask is a fantastic way to find out what you need right now:

Have I done anything for myself today?

Should I take a minute?

Do I have to be the one who does it all? (The answer to this question is usually no – I’ve had to learn that the world won’t fall apart if I back away for a second. It’s not always an easy thing to remember, but I promise that it’s true for you too.)

Related: The Self-Care Check In Questions You Need To Ask

A woman sits in the lotus position, back to the camera, looking towards the left. The sun can be seen setting in the background over the water.

Whatever the final answer may be, indulge. Even if it’s as simple as taking a moment to breathe. If it helps you do those 4 important things, de-stress, unwind, relax and recharge, then it is so incredibly worth it.

And I promise you that you aren’t letting anyone down when you take a moment for yourself. When you respond to your own needs you’re better able to be present for others. Everyone wins!

What are some simple self-care activities that you like to indulge in? Any advice for those struggling to make time for themselves? Share your lovely thoughts with us in the comments sweet friend. I’m looking forward to seeing your ideas and suggestions!

Health and love,

sara-signature

Thought of the day: You are so incredibly worthy of your own love and care.

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Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

Sara Flanagan is a wellness writer and the creator of www.mshealthesteem.com, where she shares her story of being diagnosed with Graves Disease, a chronic autoimmune disease, and empowering herself to do everything she can to thrive in spite of her diagnosis. She writes articles on self-love, acceptance, wellness and nutrition. Join the Health-Esteem Family today and share in the journey.

69 Comments

  1. Reply

    Stacie

    July 22, 2019

    I think everyone needs to read this. Taking care of yourself is so important, but a lot of times, we either don’t know how to do it or how to make the time to do it.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 2, 2019

      I couldn’t agree more Stacie! We all need to be encouraged and reminded to make time for self-care. It plays such an important role in our well-being! I’m really happy you think so too <3. Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your lovely thoughts with us!

  2. Reply

    Terri Ramsey Beavers

    July 22, 2019

    I struggle thru my days most of the time with chronic pain and I let some self care go. I need to stop doing that and learn to relax and make some time for me. Even if it’s just to sit outside and read or listen to music. These tips are inspirational and I’m going to put them to good use.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 2, 2019

      I’m so glad you’re feeling inspired to make more time for self-care Terri! Whatever helps you is awesome. I think time with a good book, music and/or the great outdoors is perfect. Self-care definitely doesn’t need to be complicated <3. I hope it helps tons!

  3. Reply

    Brianna

    July 22, 2019

    This is such a good article! I need to spend more time taking care of me!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 2, 2019

      I’m really glad to hear that Brianna! You deserve self-care time. Have fun discovering what self-care works best for you <3

  4. Reply

    Brianne Tursi Manz

    July 22, 2019

    A lot of people will benefit from reading this post. If we focused more on ourselves, think of how much happier and fulfilled we’d be!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 2, 2019

      I couldn’t agree more Brianne! We all need and deserve self-care :). Thank you!

  5. Reply

    Terri Steffes

    July 22, 2019

    What a thorough post on a subject that we all should be concerned about! Thank you for the information, I need to remember to take some time for me to build up my resolve.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 2, 2019

      I’m so happy you’re feeling inspired to make more time for self-care Terri! That’s awesome! You truly deserve it <3.

      Thank you tons for your kind words. Made my day 🙂

  6. Reply

    Angelica Sereda

    July 22, 2019

    I found out the hard way that self-care is not to be neglected.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 2, 2019

      I’m so sorry you found our the hard way Angelica! I’m glad you prioritize self-care these days. I hope you have some wonderful you-time waiting just around the corner <3

  7. Reply

    mayurisjikoni

    July 23, 2019

    Loved reading your post on self care. It is definitely important to take some ‘me time’ from our busy chores or for those who caretakers. I realized that much later in life, was always doing things for others while they got to relax and enjoy some time to themselves. Now, I take on only how much I can manage and spend an hour or so for myself only every day.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 2, 2019

      I’m so glad that you’ve created a lovely self-care ritual for yourself Mayu! That’s wonderful and you truly deserve it. We all need and deserve that. And I think we all realize that in our own time. Here’s to self-care and recharging <3. Enjoy your next "me time" moment 🙂

  8. Reply

    Ntensibe Edgar Michael

    July 23, 2019

    Well, there are 2 to start with…get more sleep for one and take a trip for atleast a fortnight. They always do me good.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 2, 2019

      Both of those sound wonderful! Great ways to recharge and reconnect with yourself. Thank you so much for sharing with us Ntensibe!

  9. Reply

    Carolyn

    July 23, 2019

    For self care I like to take a bath, but that’s not as simple as just taking a moment to pause and breathe. I really like that idea!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 2, 2019

      Oh my goodness, baths are amazing! That’s actually a go-to self-care activity for me too. I wrote a whole post about it once because I truly adore it (it’s right here if you want to nerd out about baths with me mshealthesteem.com/benefits-of-baths). A moment to pause and breathe is absolutely lovely too :). There are so many wonderful ways to relax and recharge when you need it!

  10. Reply

    emman damian

    July 23, 2019

    I like having a time for self-care. It actually improves our mental health. It is also very important to have support groups.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 2, 2019

      Yes! Support groups really help. I love that you mentioned that Emman! We don’t often think of it this way, but self-care can absolutely include reaching out for outside help. It’s a beautiful form of self-kindness. We all need outside love and support. Thank you so much for sharing that goodness with us!

  11. Reply

    Emily Fata

    July 23, 2019

    Though it can seem like a burden to have to set aside the time to practice some self-care, it’s so worth it in the end. You don’t want to end up emotionally tired and burnt out.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 2, 2019

      You’re right on the money Emily! When we take the time to de-stress and recharge we benefit ourselves and everyone else in our life. We have more to offer that way :). I love how you put it! Thank you so much for sharing your lovely thoughts <3

  12. Reply

    Lavern Moore

    July 23, 2019

    Wow, how useful are these tips to take better care! Would love to try these suggestions! Lavern Moore

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 2, 2019

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post Lavern! Sometimes self-care is just about slowing down and taking a moment to breathe and asses your needs. I think we all need that reminder sometimes :). I hope you have a lovely day and a wonderful weekend full of self-care <3

  13. Reply

    Shannon Gurnee

    July 24, 2019

    Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time to take care of myself. These are some great tips. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 2, 2019

      I think we’ve all been there Shannon! You absolutely aren’t alone. Sometimes self-care is just a moment to breath and that’s ok <3

  14. Reply

    Heather

    July 24, 2019

    This is so important. We always tend to forget about ourselves when we are dealing with everyday life.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 2, 2019

      We truly do! I think we all need the reminder to stop for a moment and recharge sometimes. I hope you have a little self-care time waiting for you just around the corner 🙂

  15. Reply

    notquitesupermommn

    July 24, 2019

    With 4 kids 10 and under, taking time to pause for myself has often times been sadly put onto the back burner 🙁 And OHHHH how I suffered! I have found that taking just a little break for myself to blend a fav essential oil diffuser, brew a lovely cup or tea, or if I have lots of time read/browse for books I am a much happier and healthier person.
    Take the minute, 5 minutes, half day, whatever you need. You deserve it!! 🙂

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 1, 2019

      I can absolutely appreciate that that would happen with tons of little ones. As the youngest of 4, I admit to interrupting tons of my mom’s attempts at a quiet moment with a book growing up >< (sorry mama!) But even if it's just a minute or two or five, it's great to take a moment. I'm glad you have some beautiful, simple go-tos for when you need it! <3 What's your favourite essential oil diffuser blend? I always love trying new ones ^^

  16. Reply

    valeriesadventuretime

    July 25, 2019

    When it all gets too much, I try to meditate for 5 minutes. It works wonders and 5 minutes really isn’t long!
    Thanks for sharing this, it’s a great post and so true, we have to treat ourselves well! ❤︎

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 1, 2019

      I’m so happy you have such a wonderful self-care activity to tap into. Meditation really is magical <3. And we truly deserve self-love and self-care. Like you said - we have to treat ourselves well!

      Thank you so much for sharing your go-to way to relax and recharge! I absolutely love it 🙂

  17. Reply

    Lyanna Soria

    July 27, 2019

    Taking care of yourself is very important and should not be taken lightly. Sometimes we need to take a break once in a while.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 1, 2019

      You’re right on the money Lyanna! It’s so important for our mental and physical well-being. We all need and deserve some regular self-care 🙂

  18. Reply

    Blair villanueva

    July 30, 2019

    I have to admit, i am guilty with this. Like forgetting lunch due to busy days. But I am working on changing that.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      August 1, 2019

      I think we all get busy and accidentally put ourselves on the back burner. You absolutely aren’t alone Blair! Knowing that we need and deserve self-care and down time (and receiving the occasional reminder) really helps I find. I’m glad that you’re aware and working to prioritize a little more you time. That’s awesome <3

  19. Reply

    crisshex88

    September 25, 2020

    There are many actions, as simple as a bath, meditation or anything that with pleasure and love teaches us to value and love each other. Remembering this is always important!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      It’s amazing what a little self-care can do! And so many simple activities can really go a long way :). Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

  20. Reply

    knycx

    September 25, 2020

    you have brought up an excellent topic that’s so personal to everyone, yet it’s so easily be ignored.
    Now that it is mentioned and we need to start paying attention. – Knycx journeying

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      I’m really happy you enjoyed the post! Thank you! I couldn’t agree more – self-care is so important and yet so easy to put off. We all need and deserve our own love and support. I’m happy you think so too 🙂

  21. Reply

    Ben

    September 25, 2020

    I really needed to read this. I work 7 days a week, and it’s constant. I find it very hard to work in any time for myself, and at times, I can really feel that.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      I’m glad this was helpful, Ben! Know that you’re doing an amazing job! And that you absolutely deserve whatever activities help you recharge. Even if it’s just sitting on the couch for a minute. It all counts! Sending so much support your way!

  22. Reply

    Gervin Khan

    September 25, 2020

    Everyone needs to see this and it’s time for them to realize that they’re loved. Love this article.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      Oh I love how you put it Gervin! Truly, we are all so worthy of our own love and care. And we all deserve to know that we are loved and cared for too. Lovely reminder, thank you so much for sharing!

  23. Reply

    Matt

    September 25, 2020

    Self-care is so important! I think it is easy to get away from it, when life gets busy, or gets you down, a lot of times that is the last thing on your mind. Thanks for the awesome information!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      You’re absolutely right! Self-care can often fall to the back-burner – it’s totally normal. I think reminders like this are so important for all of us for that reason. I’m really glad you found this helpful <3

  24. Reply

    A Nation of Moms

    September 25, 2020

    Self care is such an important thing. I have been working extra hours and it is hard to find the time to fit in “me” time.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      I’m sorry you time is harder to come by right now! It happens! Hopefully you have some time off or a little moment around the corner for yourself. You deserve it! Big hugs <3

  25. Reply

    Kileen

    September 25, 2020

    I would love to get this to help me in the self care department! Self care is self love! I think self care is definitely super important especially during these crazy times!

    Kileen
    cute & little

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      We really do need to care for ourselves through this – 2020 has been difficult on everyone, mentally, emotionally and physically. This is definitely a time to be extra gentle and kind to ourselves. Such a great point! <3 Thank you so much for sharing Kileen!

  26. Reply

    Jaear

    September 26, 2020

    It’s easy to forget about self care we’re when too focus on doing what we do for the people we love. I love these tips.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      It truly is so easy to put ourselves on the back-burner. I think we all naturally do that and reminders like this are something we all need from time to time. I’m really glad you found this helpful Jaear! 🙂

  27. Reply

    blair villanueva

    September 26, 2020

    Self care is self love, and before sharing love the love, we must give it to ourselves first. Being selfish isn’t bad is you do it for yourself.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      Yes! Self-care truly is such an important part of self-love. Caring for someone is a form of loving them, and we deserve and need that so much from ourselves. I love this perspective Blair! Thank you so much for sharing it with us 🙂

  28. Reply

    romyraves

    September 26, 2020

    I am pretty good about navigating my own self care but you have some good reminders in here. If we don’t take care of ourselves we can’t take care of others

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      I’m really glad you have a great self-care balance Romy! We all need and deserve that so much <3

  29. Reply

    Natalie

    September 26, 2020

    This is a great article, excellent read. I know a lot of my friends who would benefit from reading these tips. I practice self care daily. Doing my yoga, meditation and prioritizing my healthy meals and sleep. But many neglect self care completely.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      I love that you have such a fantastic self-care routine and make time for yourself on the regular Natalie! That’s fantastic <3. Truly, it can be hard to find the right balance, but if we don't make time to care for ourselves we eventually burn out. Our health really depends on it. I greatly appreciate your insights! <3

  30. Reply

    mommystimeline

    September 26, 2020

    Thanks for sharing these useful tips to take better care. enjoyed the post.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      I’m so glad! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts <3

  31. Reply

    Marie

    September 26, 2020

    Yes, when we don’t take care of ourselves, the side effects can make things so much worse. I know sometimes we have to put our own needs on the back burner as moms. But it should only be for a short time. We can’t take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      I love how you put it Marie – we truly can’t take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves. It’s an important balance that’s sometimes super difficult, because truly we do need to put others first sometimes (especially parents!) But it’s important that rest and recharge time fits in somewhere, because otherwise we burn out and that’s hard on ourselves and everyone else who needs us. Thank you so much for sharing insight as a parent! That’s truly such an important and supportive reminder for other mamas. <3

  32. Reply

    Lucy Clarke

    September 26, 2020

    Couldn’t have said this better! We would truly reach a point of burnout if we don’t pause, take a break and be mindful of how we can rest and recuperate. Thank you for these reminders!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      Yes! Resting is healing and such an important thing to make time for. Our health truly depends on it. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts Lucy <3.

  33. Reply

    Ann

    September 28, 2020

    i am always struggeling to have the time to prioritce me, so thank you so much!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      September 28, 2020

      I’m really glad this is helpful, Ann! I hope you’re able to get some restful self-care time in soon <3.

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