If “me time” seems 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 to simplify your self-care routine.
In this article, we’ll explore how focusing on tiny acts of self-care can help you move out of survival mode, and into a more grounded and balanced state of being.
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Let’s face it: life is messy and complicated at times. 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 yourself out of bed.
In the midst of big (and sometimes little) life transitions, it’s easy to slip into survival mode. Are you grieving an unexpected loss? Are you facing a challenging illness? Are you contemplating a major life change? Learning how to create self-care rituals that match your life circumstances can help you feel more grounded and organized no matter what’s happening around you.
What Are Tiny Acts of Self-Care?
Tiny acts of self-care are the smallish, seemingly insignificant acts of kindness that you do for yourself to support your well-being.
In most cases, they don’t cost a thing, and they usually don’t require a lot of time or special skills. Tiny acts of self-care are “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 reduce stress and anxiety. That’s because when you breathe more 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 do 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 is 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, but rather about being present wherever you are right now. If you’re new to meditation, it can 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. Download a free app like Headspace or Calm and start exploring meditation at your own pace.
3. Make a gratitude list
Gratitude is an underutilized mood booster. Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for, and notice how your outlook changes. Making gratitude part of your daily self-care practice is easy with The Lifestyle Design Planner.*
4. Organize something
Disorganized spaces lead to disorganized minds. Clutter can be distracting and a source of stress. Start by tidying up your linen closet, living room, or pantry.
5. Cancel something
If your schedule has taken on a life of its own, it might be time to reign it in. Overextending yourself on a regular basis can take a toll on your health, leaving you even further behind. Cancel anything that isn’t essential–appointments, projects, errands, etc.
6. Connect with a friend
Another tiny act of self-care involves connecting with your support network. Call a trusted friend who can offer support when you need to hear some words of encouragement or process a challenge out loud. And don’t forget to return the favor when you can.
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, play some calming music in the background and work your way up to sitting in silence.
8. Take a walk
Walking releases the feel-good chemicals known as endorphins. These little gems can lift your mood in a jiffy. Even a quick 10-minute walk can do wonders for your mindset.
9. Have some tea
Schedule a tea break in the middle of your day to carve out a moment for yourself. Choose an an herbal tea blend for added aromatherapy.
10. Take a nap
Napping may sound like a luxury, but if you haven’t yet experimented with it as a self-care strategy, you may be missing out. Taking a short 10- or 20-minute afternoon siesta can recharge your batteries and help you think more clearly. Set an alarm and give yourself a shore rest, even if it’s just 5-minutes.
11. Drink more water
Water is an essential nutrient that keeps your mind and body functioning at optimal levels. To ensure you’re drinking sufficient amounts of fluid, fill a container with water first thing in the morning and use it as your visual cue to drink more fluids throughout the day.
Journaling offers a way to release negative thoughts and intense emotions. Blank pages offer a safe place to process stressful 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 actions now, and expand your self-care practice over time. Which tiny acts of self-care are the most supportive for you? Share in the comments below.
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.