7 Tips for Prioritizing Self-Care When You’re Swamped

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7 Tips for Prioritizing Self-Care When You're Swamped
Author Name: Mia Barnes
Date: Saturday November 13, 2021

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The best time to take a short break is when things are at their busiest. Wait, what? Think about it: you need your decision-making powers and energy at their peak when crunchtime hits. However, today’s achievement-minded society — not to mention your boss — might frown on you taking a nap on the job. How can you squeeze in a little TLC? Here are seven tips for prioritizing self-care when you’re swamped. 

1. Use a Tomato 

You don’t have to grab one of the literal fruits, although the lycopene would probably do your stressed body good. Instead, reach for a timer inspired by the inventor of the Pomodoro method. What’s that? It’s a genius productivity tool that builds in break time for your self-care pleasure. 

To practice this technique, you complete focused work for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. After three such “Pomodoros,” you take a longer rest of 15 to 30 minutes. 

What should you do with your downtime? You could strike a yoga pose or two or take a brisk walk around the building to wake up your neurons. Step outside for a burst of sunshine and vitamin D. Enjoy a pleasant chat with a colleague or even read a funny humor column you set aside from your morning email to review later. Do whatever refreshes your mind and makes you feel like you matter for those five minutes. 

2. Download an App 

Another way to prioritize self-care is by letting technology take care of some of the details for you. For example, some of the best fitness apps like DailyBurn include workouts as short as five minutes, letting you squeeze in a little exercise on even the briefest break periods. You can also find short meditations lasting as long on YouTube for free — doing one of these is a powerful way to adjust a gloomy mindset. 

Apps can also become your assistants, freeing up more time for self-care. Are you afraid you forgot to lock your front door when you left for work? Smart home gadgets can check and even flip the bolt for you so that you can make that after-hours pedicure appointment with your BFF. 

Do you lack money for little treats, like a latte after a busy day? Some apps, like Truebill, help you locate and unsubscribe from all those free trials you signed up for — and forgot to cancel before the seven days expired. Other budgeting apps categorize where you spend the most so that you can more readily seek ways to cut back on what doesn’t matter and make more room for what does. 

3. Make a Date 

Sometimes, you need the incentive of not letting another person down to do what you should for yourself. For example, if you find yourself struggling to get to the gym after work despite your commitment to exercise, why not arrange to meet your BFF at the ellipticals? Your sense of responsibility will guilt you into lacing up your tennies. 

Likewise, there’s nothing wrong with penciling in a spa treatment if you have the money, and doing so will incentivize you to take time for yourself. Sometimes, you need a little mental trickery to get you to the TLC you deserve. 

4. Multitask 

This tip doesn’t mean what you think it does. Trying to handle two mentally taxing tasks at once is a recipe for mistakes, if not outright disaster. However, no rule says you can’t get a little physical activity in at your desk. 

One method is investing in a variable-height desk that lets you move from sitting to standing throughout the day. That can translate into 87 extra calories burned over each 24-hour period — or over eight unwanted pounds shed each year. 

You can also sit on an inflatable exercise ball instead of a standard chair. Finally, consider investing in an under-the-desk pedal bike to work your legs while you crunch numbers or copy. 

5. Delegate

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos didn’t rise to the top by packing every box in the warehouse by himself. To prioritize self-care and deliver at your best, you might have to delegate some other responsibilities. 

Think about what tasks make you procrastinate most — that’s where you’ll find valuable time savings. For example, if you leave your laundry pile up, could dropping it off at a service once a week save you from slaving over the ironing board? If you have the means, why not take advantage of convenience and use the time you aren’t spending folding shirts to practice yoga. 

6. Practice Radical Acceptance

Sometimes, life gets too hectic to have a tidy house, a refrigerator full of perfectly prepped, nutritionally balanced meals, manicured nails and a thriving career. Something has to give. 

Learn to practice radical acceptance about minor imperfections instead of letting them stress you out to no end. Your houseguests don’t care about a little extra kitty hair on the couch or the dishes in the sink. Understand that sometimes, life gets messy — it’s okay to let some things slide temporarily. 

7. Create an End-of-Day Ritual 

You might have heard that you should never go to bed angry. Nor should you try to doze off without spending at least a few minutes appreciating your wonderful self for all you do. 

Create an end-of-day ritual that revolves around self-care. Maybe you do 10 to 15 minutes of yoga in bed. Perhaps you take a bubble bath or pour a cup of chamomile while grabbing a juicy novel. Whatever makes you drift off to dreamland feeling nurtured is your jam. 

Prioritizing Self-Care When You’re Swamped Makes Hectic Times Manageable 

It might sound ironic, but you need to take time out the most when life gets hectic. It keeps your mind on an even keel and helps you make better decisions. Follow the seven tips above for prioritizing self-care when you’re swamped. 

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