Do you feel like you’re struggling to achieve that ever-elusive thing called balance? If you’re like me and most of my friends, it’s a frequent topic of conversation. Between working a full-time job, spending time with my partner, cleaning, cooking, exercising…there’s little time for recreation, much fewer opportunities to actively nourish my mental health and emotional wellness. I can’t imagine what it must be like when you throw children and pets in the mix. My point is that it’s really very easy to downplay the need to pause and turn inward when there are so many other immediate and pressing tasks on our to-do lists.
And yet, our emotional wellness should be our number-one priority since it informs how we interact with the outside world. Simply put, how you treat yourself affects how you treat others. So why don’t we spend more time addressing our mental health needs? For many of us, the most significant impediment is time; we claim to not have enough of it. I’d challenge that assumption and say that there is always time to take care of oneself, even it’s just a few minutes each day. If you think you need to take care of yourself more often (hint: you do!), here are some strategies you can integrate into your busy schedule.
Try online therapy.
Based on personal experience, one of the primary deterrents of starting therapy is the significant time commitment involved. Since most therapists only offer appointments during the work week, you might be forced to take time off work — a less than ideal situation for anyone. That’s where online therapy comes in: services like BetterHelp and Talkspace offer one-on-one therapy via video and text but without the inconvenience of traveling to and from your therapist’s office.
Download a meditation app.
If you’re anxiety-prone, never underestimate the benefits of a good meditation session. The best part is, you needn’t sit for two hours or even thirty minutes to improve your wellness. Even if you only have five minutes, find a quiet place to sit and listen to your breathing. These days, there are a slew of meditation apps (most of which are free) that you can download on your phone. Try out a few to find one you like best.
Carry a journal.
At PD, we’ve waxed poetic about the benefits of journaling before. We can’t help it! Not only is journaling a therapeutic means of processing our emotions, but it’s also rejuvenating; it’s a simple way to temporarily disconnect from the hustle and bustle of our lives. I like to journal on my bus ride to and from work, but some people enjoy writing down their thoughts just before bed as a way of bookending their day. If you’re consistent with it, you’ll come to look forward to those quiet moments with your thoughts.
Develop a sleep routine.
Taking care of ourselves, both mentally and physically, doesn’t just involve what we do–or don’t do–during the day. It’s equally important to give ourselves the opportunity to rest adequately. At first, this might seem counterintuitive; if your schedule already prohibits you from carving out time for emotional wellness, prioritizing rest might feel a little pointless. But recent research shows that sleep can actually boost our productivity and, by extension, your mood. According to researchers, the key is to sync your circadian rhythm, or body clock, by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every single day. By adopting a more consistent sleep schedule, you’ll move through your busy day with more grace and fewer mood swings.
How do you practice self-care and prioritize emotional wellness when you’re busy?
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Photo: Kaboompics, Pexels