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How to Practice Self-care on a Busy Schedule

You’re making a difference for so many people, but how can you be the difference for yourself? You can practice self-care.

When we hear about self-care, we often think about expensive massages, retail therapy, yoga classes and vacations. These are all great ways to relieve stress and relax but aren’t always an option. Many of us face busy schedules, nonstop pressures and daily expenses that make self-care seem impossible.

But it’s not. In fact, self-care is something that can be done in as little as 10 minutes a day with no cost at all. And it can help reduce stress and positively impact your mental health and well-being.

Use these self-care strategies to develop a routine that fits into your schedule and budget.

  1. Exercise. Moving your body every day can help clear your mind of the day’s stress, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety or prevent anxiety before it even starts. This can be as simple as taking a walk outside or stretching at home.
  2. Self-help books based on cognitive behavioral therapy. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been associated with improvements in quality of life in anxiety patients.” Self-help books that use theories of CBT can help you work through periods of stress or anxiety. Check out the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies’ recommendations for self-help books that can help.
  3. Computerized therapy. There are self-help treatment programs available online that can be done at your own pace and are sometimes free-of-charge. Moodgym is just one example of a CBT website that has been evaluated in a scientific trial and found to be effective in relieving depression symptoms if people work through it systematically.
  4. Relaxation training. Methodically tensing and relaxing certain muscle groups can help you relax voluntarily when feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious. This can take as little as five minutes and can have a positive impact on your state of mind. Relaxation tapes are also available online, like these recordings from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
  5. Light therapy. Exposing your eyes to bright lights, especially in the morning, can have a major impact on your mental health and well-being. This can be as simple as a morning walk in the sun!

Self-care doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming. Even small changes to your routine, like getting more light in the morning, can improve your overall mood and make for a more stress-free day. We hope you will incorporate these and other ideas into your daily routine. Thank you for choosing to #BeTheDifference for yourself and remember to practice self-care with Mental Health First Aid.

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