I recently took a poll on Instagram Stories to see what you guys were struggling with and was surprised with the results! More than half of the people who answered were struggling with finding time for self-care. Sadly, a lot of moms were also struggling with feeling guilty for taking time away from their children to take care of themselves. I’m not a mom yet, but I know that there are times when even I feel guilty for that!

When you consider taking some time for yourself, it’s easy to start thinking things like, Shouldn’t I be productive instead? and Shouldn’t I be focusing on my husband or someone else instead of myself? It can be really tough not to feel guilty, but it’s important to remember that you can’t fill anyone else’s cup if your own cup is empty. If you think of it as a necessity for your own sanity (and the sanity of those around you) you’ll feel less guilty about prioritizing it.

self·care // activities and practices we engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and enhance our well-being

Because self-care is so important, I decided to put together a list of 24 quick self-care practices you can do on busy days (and most days are “busy”, am I right!?). So, here they are. Enjoy! (You can also print out the shortened list I created here.)

1. Put together a “go-to” box full of self-care products. It could include bath bombs, face masks, hair masks, a journal, etc. Pull it out and pamper yourself for 30 minutes every once in a while.

2. Download the Calm or Headspace app and do a quick meditation. Both apps include some free meditations that are as short as 5 minutes (that anyone can fit into their schedule!). 

3. Play some relaxing sounds (or wear earplugs or headphones that block out the sound) and write in your journal for 10 minutes. Write about how you’re feeling, what you’re grateful for, what’s going wrong, what’s going well, etc.

4. If you have kids, ask your husband or someone else to watch them while you take an entire evening to yourself. Get a hotel for the night or make your room/bathroom off-limits for awhile while you spend some time doing exactly what you want to do. Many people pay for a babysitter for date nights but don’t give themselves enough self-love to do the same for their alone time.

5. Create and commit to a skincare routine that you’ll do each morning a while night. You could DIY some of the products or buy them if you can afford them right now.

6. Do a media detox challenge. This could include avoiding TV/movies or just social media- whichever you feel would benefit you!

7. Do one of these short at-home workouts and then take an Epsom salt bath afterward. You can buy a whole bag of Epsom salts at Walmart for as little as $3.

8. Get something done on your to-do list that you’ve been putting off for a while. It’ll feel amazing to finally have it done!

9. Go for a short walk. Some meditation apps like Calm and Headspace offer “Walking Meditations” which are extremely relaxing! And help you exercise while you take care of your mind.

10. Organize something in your life that feels out of control. You could organize your inbox, phone photos, desktop files, closet, etc. This doesn’t sound like self-care but it will definitely reduce your stress!

11. Plan something that you can look forward to. Plan a vacation, staycation, dinner date with yourself or a friend, night in alone, movie night, etc.

12. Do a full nighttime self-care routine. This could also motivate you to get to bed at a decent time! Your routine could include taking care of your skin, stretching, meditation, taking Melatonin, etc.

13. Go to the library and pick out a few books you’d like to read over the next few weeks. You won’t feel any guilt for buying new books and you’ll be more inclined to read if you have something new on your shelf!

14. Do something to get out of your comfort zone. One of the best ways to gain confidence and decrease social anxiety is by facing your fear or rejection- go to the movies alone, go to a social gathering you’d usually pass up, stick up for yourself when someone is treating you badly, etc.

15. Create an Adventure Bucket List of things you want to experience within the next few months or year. Plan on doing one of the activities on your bucket list soon!

16. Write down 5 people you’d like to rekindle or develop a stronger relationship with. Then write down 1 thing you could do for each of them to make that happen. Plan on doing one thing a week for each of the 5 people over the next 5 weeks.

17. Buy a new vitamin supplement. Is there something in regards to your health that you could improve? Perhaps your energy levels? Or maybe you could take better care of your heart because your family has a history of heart issues? Find something you could improve, do your research, and go grab your supplement (or order online). 

18. Get 15 minutes in the sun. A lot of people are Vitamin D deficient, which can cause a decrease in energy and increase in symptoms of anxiety and depression. Making sure you spend some time in the sun every once in awhile could have a hugely positive effect on your energy levels and mood!

19. Wake up 20 minutes before everyone in your house so you can squeeze in some self-care. Try going to bed 20 minutes earlier so you can wake up 20 minutes before everyone else is up. Then spend that time stretching, meditating, doing a skincare routine, planning out your day, going over your goals, journaling, etc. You’ll feel more prepared to take on the day if you squeeze this important time in!

20. Try something different for exercise. Go on Groupon and see what coupons you can find for trampoline parks, roller skating, laser tag, paintball, horseback riding, rock climbing, etc. 

21. Try something other than a getting a massage for an indulgent self-care day. There are plenty of other, often less expensive, options for self-care. You can also find some really great deals for massages on Groupon, but make sure you take a look at the different float spas and salt cave resorts in your area!

22. Go on a hike. One of the best ways to reset your mind and body is to hike. Go with a friend or partner or go alone (if it’s in a more populated area) and relax in nature while you get some exercise.

23. Go to a therapist. Sometimes just talking to someone who has an unbiased opinion about your problems can lift a lot of the weight off of your shoulders. There’s no shame in going to a therapist- even if you don’t think you have a mental illness or you don’t feel as though your life is completely falling apart. Talking to someone regularly can help you have a healthier relationship with yourself and others and help you handle everyday stresses better. 

24. Visit your local coffee shop or bookstore. Bring a journal, book, or magazine to a local coffee shop and sip on a drink you’ve never tried before (or one you already know you love). Or visit your local bookstore, grab a bunch of books you’d like to sift through, and find a seat to read on. Bookstores and coffee shops are some of the most relaxing, slow-paced places you can visit!