You’re a busy woman. You clock 40 hours a week at work, sometimes more. Throw in your commute time, household chores and all the other obligations you’ve got on your plate and it can start to feel like your work week is a juggling act. You’re always on the go, forever in a rush, and constantly frazzled. Self-care? You figure you can barely afford a second to slow down if you want to keep your life on track, so it’ll just have to wait for the weekend.
Well think again. Self-care is essential. Overworking yourself can lead to burnout, stress, anxiety, and a whole host of physical ailments. Sparing the time to give yourself much needed attention now can help you avoid losing the days, weeks or months of recovery time you’d need if your mind or body get overloaded. If your fear is that you have to come up with some complex routine, worry not. Maximizing the time after your alarm goes off in the morning and before you climb into bed at night is the perfect way to squeeze in some TLC daily.
Whether you’ve got 5 minutes or 30, you can find a morning and night routine that will keep you feeling fresh, focused and fabulous from Monday to Sunday:
Good Morning, Sunshine!
A rough morning can really throw your day off track, so you’ll want to ensure your mind, body and soul are primed for positivity. Affirmations are a perfect way to get set a good mood for the day. Spend the first few minutes after you open your eyes reciting positive affirmations. “Today will be a good day.” “I am strong and I am beautiful.” “I’m bigger than my challenges.” Customize your affirmations to make sure your first thoughts are exactly what you need to boost your morale and get you ready for whatever comes your way. If you prefer, you can write your affirmations in a journal, or choose a peaceful thought to meditate on for a few minutes.
With your soul and mind warmed up, get your body energized. If you’re the type of person to hit the gym or run in the morning, go for it. If you’re a little less ambitious, you can spend a few minutes stretching, dancing to your favourite song, or getting a rapid fire 4-minute cardio session with a Tabata routine. If you want the energy without the bounce, listen to a playlist of songs that make you feel good or take in an inspiring podcast or video while enjoying a cup of ginger, lavender or green tea for a low-key energy boost.
If you can only incorporate one tip into your morning routine, make it this one: put yourself on your to-do list. As you plan out your day, include at least one activity that’s solely intended to make you feel good. It could be as simple as picking up your favourite latte or making a phone call to your best friend for a quick catch up. Making an act of happiness a non-negotiable every day not only gives you something to look forward to, but reminds you that taking care of you is just as important as taking care of business.
Sleep Tight, Girl!
Just like your morning routine prepares you for the day, a solid night time routine will ensure you get a good night’s rest and have a good morning ahead. Before you give in to the temptation to flop down on the couch and veg out until bedtime, take some time to prep yourself for the next day. A few minutes of meal prep means you can skip the guilty trip to the office vending machine. Laying out your clothes and making sure your purse has all the necessities will spare you the frazzled hunt for your house keys in the morning. Think of it as giving yourself a helping hand in advance.
As you get closer to the time to wind down, take a relaxing bath or shower with your favourite scented bath product, and give your face a gentle scrub to wash away the stress of the day and keep your skin fresh. Cleanse your mind by spending a few minutes reflecting on your day and letting go of any stress you had to deal with. Release the tension in your neck and shoulders with a quick stretch.
An important habit to get into before bed is restricting screen time. The light from your phone, iPad or laptop prevents your body from producing melatonin, the hormone that prepares your body to sleep. Shutting off or putting away your devices gives you time unplug from the negativity and controversy that sometimes come with social media and focus on your own positive thoughts. If you must have stimulation, spend some time turn the pages of a book to help relax your mind and get you a good night’s sleep.
Taking care of yourself can be as simple as taking a few minutes out of your day to do something good for your mind, body or soul. Remember, you can’t take care of business if you’re not taking care of you. Even the tiny gestures of self-care can make a world of difference in feeling like the Superwoman you know you are.