The key to finding time and balance is to incorporate self-care into what we are already doing. Here are a few discoveries to get you started.
1. In the kitchen, squat for anything lower than the counter top (strengthens pelvic floor muscles for men and women, improves bladder control, and sexual performance, especially after childbirth).
2. Make a game out of preparing a meal – “once around the kitchen” – see if you can go once around the kitchen and collect all the things that you need for a meal. Start with breakfast (saves time and keeps you focused in the present moment).
3. Exercise with no electronics! Use time for breathing and centering (improves focus and awareness).
4. Put things away after use (requires only a small amount of time, keeps environment uncluttered, relaxed).
5. Keep water glass/bottle within reach – sip when thinking/talking on phone (encourages hydration).
6. Ongoing shopping list – plan meals for the week and buy weekly (saves time).
7. Take time to laugh, smell the flowers, and enjoy a precious moment (boosts energy and appreciation).
8. Eat meals mindfully without distractions such as TV, iPhone, ear buds, music, or reading. Enjoy the colors of the food, feel the textures, be aware (enhances digestion and nourishes while eating less).
9. Take frequent breaks – pause at least hourly for three or four slow, cleansing breaths (refreshes and rejuvenates energy).
10. Walk around as you speak on the phone and focus on your breath (provides exercise and centering).
11. Begin to prepare for bed 30 minutes before and turn off any noise in the environment such as TV, music, iPhone, etc. (decreases stimulation, allowing the body to prepare for sleep).
12. On the road, drive in stillness. Breathe and pay attention to the world around you (helps you arrive refreshed, rejuvenated, and centered).
13. Allow the telephone to ring twice and take a couple of centering breaths between the first and second ring (allows you to become more alert and aware).
14. Rather than using the drive-through, park and walk into banks, restaurants, dry cleaners, coffee shops, etc. (promotes exercise and, as a bonus, you may receive quicker service).
15. Take at least five minutes to look out the window or sit outside in silence to observe and listen (increases your alertness and awareness).
Excerpted fromSelf-Care: A Busy Person’s Guide for Finding Time & Balance. Reprinted with permission from the American Holistic Nurses Association. www.ahncc.org.