Sometimes the idea of self-care can be intimidating. What if I don’t have an hour to spend doing yoga and reading fun books and hugging myself? School gets busier next month, and as your to-do list grows longer, you might feel like there isn’t a moment to catch your breath. Although it’s important to try and set aside time for yourself, there are going to be periods in your life where that isn’t really an option, or days where you just forget to. So let’s look at some of the things you already do on a regular basis that you can reframe as self-care activities.
1. Showering or bathing: This is definitely a way to take care of your body. If you’re stressed, turn your shower time into self-care time. If you have a shower radio, put on soothing music. Another great activity for the shower is to visualize all the negative feelings you have, like self-doubt or anger or sadness, wash off you and swirl down the shower drain. And it never hurts to buy a nice body wash or fancy new shampoo and enjoy the scents while you scrub.
2. Eating: Choosing healthy foods for yourself is a great way to practice self-care. For example, I used to drink diet soda for the energy, but eventually realized it was making me feel sick. Now I feel good about taking care of myself when I choose water or iced tea instead. If you eat meals alone, you can use that time as self-care — instead of studying while eating, try reading a fun book or watching a video.
3. Washing your hands: Every time you wash your hands throughout the day, take a little bit longer than you normally would. Rub your fingers if they’re sore from typing, or scrub under your nails. Use the hand dryer and take the time to practice a few deep breaths.
4. Traveling: When traveling between classes or between work and home, notice the nature around you. As spring is juuuuuust beginning, you might notice that crocuses have started to pop up here in Bloomington. See if you can identify any of the birds you see (I see robins, cardinals, and blue jays around here). Count clouds. Just take the time to be a bit more aware of what’s around you. (Note: Don’t count clouds etc. if you are driving a car. Duh. :P)
These are all tiny little shifts in your daily routine that you can incorporate into your self-care practice. Remember that taking even 5-minute breaks is still a great idea! Hug a stuffed animal, do a 2-minute meditation, stretch, watch a video of a laughing baby, or text a loved one. Hang in there, Hoosiers!