Work/Life Balance

10 Little Ways To Care For Yourself Today (Even If You’re Low On Time, Money, And Patience)

By | Thursday, November 10, 2016




I’m not going to lie to you guys — I’m finding it really hard to write about anything right now. In fact, I’m finding it really hard to do much of anything right now. Aside from the obvious global tragedy of Donald Trump becoming the actual president of the United States (pause for projectile vomiting and holding hands with your loved ones), a family tragedy has me a little foggy this week, and I’m still having a hard time forming coherent thoughts.

Yesterday, TFD took the day off, which was much-needed, because we all had a lot of thinking and reflecting to do. We are lucky we were able to do that, because so many people had to carry on with their regularly scheduled activities yesterday, complete with heavy hearts and deep devastation. I sat in bed last night for many hours and thinking about tomorrow, because it was coming quickly, and unfortunately, I knew I would have to live it. Like, forget about how confused I am about the universe, and go do the day-to-day shit that I always do, and act like everything is fine and dandy.

Sometimes, when things change quickly, or something bad happens that I can’t get my mind off of, I start to become desperate for comfort. I find a thing to cling to, or a few things, that make me feel a little happy, a little comforted, and a little more okay. It is usually a hobby (during one breakup, I took up crock-pot cooking), or a Netflix show (I marathoned the hell out of Jane The Virgin during a rough patch last year), or something that connects me to a simpler time in my life (like re-reading my favorite book for the millionth time).

This time, however, I’m still searching for something. I’m reaching the back half of this insanely busy semester at school, and I hardly feel like there is time to take a break and think about what is happening, or how to feel better — nor is there any spare cash in my pocket to treat myself to anything that may comfort me.

Self-care of some sort is important, sure –- but it isn’t always an appropriate option, and there isn’t always a convenient way to practice it.

Eventually, after hours of sitting, staring, and “thinking,” I got one brilliant idea: I would take a shower. Not a regular clean-yourself-and-get-the-fuck-out shower. A long, hot, cathartic shower. (I know, I know –- I have to be kind to Mother Earth. She’s all we have anyway. But I’m a professional three-minute-shower-er, usually, so I allowed myself a solid 10 last night).

And it was perfect. It was absolutely blissful. And it was free! And it hardly took up any time. And, luckily, I took my sweet, sweet shower time to think of a few more little things I could do to comfort myself in the coming days. During a busy day, week, month, semester, life, etc., it can sometimes feel impossible to find more than five minutes to stop, take a break, take a breath, and relax. Here is a list of 10 small ways to take a quick, much-needed break for little-to-no money.

Self-care doesn’t have to be pricey and time consuming — I promise. Take care of yourselves, my friends.

1. Take a lil’ “just because” shower, for warmth and time to reflect alone.

2. Write a list of everything you are grateful for today. The corniest thing ever, I know — but I do it once a week in my notebook, and it makes me feel so much better every single time. And it makes me happy to look back on later and think about all of the little things that made me happy over the past few months.

3. Watch a rerun of your favorite show ever. I tend to toss on a Friends rerun when I get emotional, and it never stops making me comforted and happy. Distraction from what is bothering you is sometimes really, really important. It isn’t always “ignoring your problems” — sometimes, you just need a little break from them.

4. Pinpoint a grievance in your life that truly doesn’t matter, and let it go. I did this recently with road rage/any traffic-related anger. I realized that it literally doesn’t matter at all that someone cut me off or did something asshole-ish on the road. There is no point in me getting salty about it. I hardly even flinch at any d-bag on the highway these days.

5. Have a quick phone call with your friend, just to say “hi.” Give those tired lil’ texting fingers a break, and listen to your best friend’s voice. My best friend and I like to FaceTime when we get ready for class in the morning sometimes, and it is the best 10 minutes of the day when we do.

6. If you have a dog, hold it. It is no secret that pups are therapeutic, but I also have the sneaking suspicion that mine get sad when I’m sad, so they might need to cuddle you as much as you need to cuddle them.

7. Do something small and nice for someone else. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Someone I saw online posted yesterday that they were paying for coffees for the people behind them in line at Starbucks. I think that is the perfect way to remind yourself that the world can still possibly be a kind place right now, and it’ll only cost you two bucks.

8. Write down what you’re mad and stressed about. It only takes a few minutes, but it is one of the most relaxing things you can do. I was pissy af yesterday (because if you can’t tell, I’m not too keen on our President-elect) and I definitely brought that pissiness everywhere I went, which was the opposite of what I should have been doing. Neither a university classroom nor a hospital room with a sick Nana in it is the proper place to get fired up about politics, but opening up my notebook and writing down every thought that was stressing me out helped me get it off my chest and relax until I could find someone to talk to.

9. Take the smallest first step towards a goal. It’ll make you feel strong and productive. Yesterday, I sent an inquiry form for information about a graduate program I was considering applying to. Taking that little step make me feel a tiny bit more powerful, and optimistic about the future.

10. Don’t apologize for shit you’re very decidedly not sorry about. You’re allowed to be upset. Feel all of your feelings, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about that. Relax for a minute, and think about it. Then get back to work.

Mary writes every day for TFD, and tweets every day for her own personal fulfillment. Talk to her about money and life at!

Image via Pexels

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