5 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care, Even When You’re Exhausted

5 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care, Even When You’re Exhausted

via Psychology Today by Alice Boyes

Self-care seems like a straightforward concept, right? Actually, there’s a lot people get wrong about self-care (here are five misconceptions).

Pop culture has given us the impression that self-care is all bubble baths, face masks, and massages. When you understand self-care better, it becomes both easier to do and more effective.

1. Make delicious meals easier.

When we’re exhausted, we often resort to either eating junk or repetitive meals we’re bored with. Healthy, delicious meals provide sustenance and something to look forward to when you’re working hard and/or stressed out. But preparing them is often more effort than we’ve got the energy for.

Find strategies that allow you to prepare interesting meals ahead of time. It’s self-care if you allow yourself to prioritize those strategies ahead of other tasks. If you think I only mean cooking, I don’t. You can be a little creative and resourceful.

This is a very specific example, but I’ll share it to illustrate that your strategies should be specific and personal to you, not generic. A store that’s a 17-minute drive from my house makes a dish with a sauce I love. I don’t get it very often because a 35-minute round trip for food feels excessive, but it’s a real pick-me-up when I do.

Once, I asked them if I could just buy the sauce. I could! Now, I buy a big tub of the sauce that lasts a week in the fridge and is enough for about four meals. The rest of the meal is easy (I put tofu, scallions, and red bell pepper in the toaster oven, along with the sauce.) Having four healthy, delicious meals ahead of me that are already organized is a stress reliever and happiness booster.

I know I could “meal prep” but that doesn’t feel appealing or achievable. This other solution does.

2. Take a nagging job off your plate.

When there is a lingering task we haven’t done, we often get thought intrusions about it—for example, you’re driving down the road and you think, “I still haven’t done that thing I need to do.” Then the same thing happens two days later when you’re sitting waiting for an appointment.

For the last 2-3 weeks, I’ve had two tasks like this. One was that I needed to order toner because we just put our last toner into our printer. The other task was that I needed to buy filters for our air conditioner vents. These tasks hadn’t yet become urgent, and I had several dozen more important tasks on my to-do list, so I kept never getting around to these.

Nagging to-dos and the accompanying thought intrusions can be draining. It can be self-care to get a non-critical task done and off your plate so you can stop thinking about it and reduce your cognitive load. Sometimes you’ll need to choose this over seemingly more important things…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE