Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day. And more often than not the first hours to get cut are those that you'd use for self-care. So what do you do? While you definitely shouldn't be sacrificing sleep for a mani-pedi or round of golf, there are some simple, creative, and low-cost ways to lighten your mental and physical load.
Find A Hobby
Your grandma might have the right idea -- having a hobby such as knitting or gardening can help soothe anxiety according to Dr. Perri Klass. Repetition helps induce a "relaxation response" that can calm your mind and lower your blood pressure. Your hobby should ideally be something that brings personal joy instead of something you're just doing for others, that way you're not introducing deadlines or expectations to your leisure activities (leave the work at work!)
Change of Scenery
Got a free weekend with no plans? Why not get away for a while? Vacations don't have to be big pricy affairs; consider camping, a room rental service such as Airbnb, or even just a hike through a nearby state park the next town over. If you're sitting at home stressing out about a work issue or personal problem, some physical space and a change of scenery can help elevate your mood.
Limit Negative Media
The 24/7 news cycle has likely created untold damage to our mental well being. To combat this, you can make a conscious effort to limit your exposure to violent news and instead embrace positivity. Membership sites and resources like those offered by the Unified Caring Association can send a round up of positive news to your inbox each day.
According to Unified Caring Association President Lane Michel, it's the simplest ways of caring -such as limiting negative media--that can have the biggest impact. "Taking one caring action each day for our self or others truly creates a positive effect beyond imagination," Michel recommends.
Tame Your Finances
As stressful as money is, actually having a financial plan can be a major de-stressor. Since everyone handles their money differently you'll want to figure out what works best for you - some simple ways to start are creating a budget, automating your bill payments, or setting up balance alerts for your accounts.
Doing simple money management strategies like this will help you sleep better at night and avoid the nail biting I-hope-I-have-money-in-my-account debit card swipes.
Do A Social Media Purge
Hand in hand with embracing positive news in the media, it is to your benefit to clean out negative people from your social media accounts. With so many social media platforms around these days, it can be hard to keep up with the people you want to while avoiding those you don't. While unplugging yourself completely from social media might not be an option, you can make it a more enjoyable experience by finally unfriending your 8th grade best friend's mom on Facebook.
Consider what you're using the platform for -- adding your co-workers on LinkedIn makes a lot more sense than following them on Twitter or Instagram. Plus, most social media sites offer discreet ways to keep you from seeing people or posts that add drama to your life. If you want to remain Facebook friends but don't want to see their 30+ baby pictures a weekend you can unfollow them instead of unfriending.
Learn To Say No
Whether at work, with money, or in relationships, saying no can be difficult. However being a "yes man" can add unnecessary pressure and stress to your day-to-day life. If you're worried saying no to someone will upset them, consider this -- if they're angry you said no, were they really giving you an option in the first place?
Understanding your personal limits can help you learn to practice self-care in every aspect of your life. If you know that an extra assignment will ruin your weekend plans or you don't have the money to go out for drinks with friends, saying no can help you avoid the guilt of overcommitting. It's a delicate balance, but once you become confident in the weight of your "no" it will just make your "yes" that much better for everyone involved!