If “me time” feels like a mathematical impossibility, it might be time to change the way you think about self-care. When you’re running low on time, energy, or money, the best approach is often the simplest approach. In this article, you’ll learn how to focus on tiny acts of self-care to turn your chaos into calm.
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Let’s face it: life can get messy and complicated. And if you’re like most people, there are probably days when you feel like you have your sh*t together, and other days when you can barely find the energy to roll out of bed. In the midst of big (or little) life transitions, it’s easy to slip into survival mode.
- Are you grieving an unexpected loss?
- Are you facing a challenging health concern or illness?
- Are you contemplating or in the midst of a major life change?
Learning how to create self-care rituals that match your life circumstances can help you move through life’s heavy moments with grace.
What Are Tiny Acts of Self-Care?
Tiny acts of self-care are the small, seemingly insignificant acts of kindness that you do to support your well-being. Most of the time they don’t cost a thing, and they usually don’t require a lot of time or special skills either. Tiny acts of self-care are the “mini moments” that keep you moving forward, even when you feel like giving up.
12 Tiny Acts of Self-Care
Here are 12 tiny acts of self-care that you can begin right now:
1. Breathe deeply
Deep breathing exercises can reduce stress and anxiety. When you breathe slowly and deeply, it lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, helping you feel more relaxed.
The next time you feel overwhelmed or anxious, take a time-out and try a one-minute deep breathing exercise. Here’s a simple way to get started:
- Inhale for 4 seconds
- Exhale for 4 seconds
- Repeat 7 times
If you think meditation is only for yogis and spiritual gurus, think again. The practice of meditation dates back as far as 5,000 to 3,500 BCE, and it’s still widely used today. In his book Wherever You Go, There You Are, author Jon Kabat-Zinn explains that meditation isn’t about trying to get anywhere, it’s about being present wherever you are right now. If you’re new to meditation, it may feel awkward at first. So, just know that it’s normal to feel uncomfortable. One easy place to start is with a short, guided meditation. Grab a meditation cushion, download a free app like Headspace or Calm, and begin experimenting with meditation your own pace.
3. Make a gratitude list
Gratitude is an underappreciated mood booster. Reminding yourself what’s going well can shift your perspective when you fell overwhelmed and unsettled. Try making a list of all the things you’re grateful for, and then notice how your outlook changes. Weave more gratitude into your daily self-care practice with the Lifestyle Design Planner.
4. Organize something
Disorganized spaces can lead to disorganized minds. Clutter is distracting, and it can become a source of stress over time. If you’ve neglected your personal spaces for some time, start by tidying up just one small area—your linen closet, a corner of your living room, or the pantry. Then, tackle other areas on a regular basis.
5. Cancel something
If your schedule has taken on a life of its own, it might be time to tame your calendar. Overextending yourself on a regular basis can lead to health concerns, leaving you even further behind on projects. Consider delegating or canceling anything that isn’t essential—appointments, projects, subscriptions, commitments, errands, or even people.
6. Connect with friends
Another tiny act of self-care is to deepen connections within your support network. Relationships need to be nurtured. If you can’t meet in person, make a point to call, email, text, or send snail mail to friends just to let them know you’re thinking of them.
7. Sit in quiet
Find a quiet place to sit in silence for at least 5 minutes. Leave your phone and any other distractions in another room if possible. If silence doesn’t feel good to you, play some calming music in the background. It may take time to feel comfortable sitting quietly without the constant barrage of noise around you.
8. Take a walk
Physical activity releases the feel-good chemicals known as endorphins. Even if you have just 10 minutes, taking a short walk can boost your mood. Look for ways to weave movement into your daily routine by scheduling walking meetings, taking a stroll before you start your day, or breaking up the day with small micro breaks.
9. Have some tea
Schedule a “tea time” in the middle of your day to destress and ground yourself. Check in with your body to see where you’re carrying tension or if something is weighing heavily on your mind. Herbal teas may also help you relax by adding an element of aromatherapy. (Ginger peach tea is one of my personal favorites.)
10. Take a nap
Napping may sound like a luxury, but taking a short 10- or 20-minute nap when you’re feeling physically or emotionally drained can recharge your energy and help you think more clearly. Try setting an alarm and giving yourself a set amount of time to rest, even if it’s just a few minutes.
11. Drink more water
Water is an essential substance that keeps your mind and body functioning at an optimal level. To ensure that you’re drinking enough fluid, fill a water bottle in the morning and use it as a reminder to drink fluids throughout the day.
Journaling is a tiny act of self-care that can help you release thoughts and emotions. Whether you’re experiencing positive or negative emotions, expressive writing can help you make sense of what you’re feeling. The blank pages in your journal offer a safe place to process events and find creative solutions to problems.
Tiny acts of self-care don’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, or fancy. Start with just a few small activities now, and expand your self-care practice over time.
Information on this website should not be interpreted as providing or replacing medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is intended for adults over the age of 18. LivingUpp is a participant in affiliate programs, which means we may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases on links to Amazon and other sites at no additional cost to you.