No matter how busy you are, it is important that you take a little time for yourself. This is called self-care, and far from the extravagant images the phrase may call to your mind, the practice is about providing you with the energy and stability to live your best life every day. This often consists of the basic needs you may take for granted (and often skip past after a stressful day), like taking breaks and getting enough sleep. The good news is it can be easy to incorporate self-care into your busy life, whether you use a device to track how many steps you take in a day or take a quick nap during your lunch break. Here are some ways you can incorporate self-care into your day in a way that will actually help you when you need it the most.

  1. Enhance Your Fitness with a Tracker
    Many who lead busy lives believe that there just isn’t enough time in the day to exercise. The reality is you can squeeze it into your schedule, and you should. Exercise can make you feel more relaxed and less stressed, and it can provide an energy boost to help you get through your day. If you don’t know which workout to try, start by adding more walks into your schedule. Take a stroll through your neighborhood after dinner, or park farther away from the supermarket. Be creative and look for more ways to walk and take the stairs instead of driving or riding the elevator.
  2. Make the Most of Break Time
    Breaks are critical for your emotional health throughout a work day, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a portion of the time you have to accomplish your tasks each day. Instead, use the time you already have set aside as a time to do double duty. Most people take the time, whether it is a quick 15 minutes or an extensive hour, to have a healthy lunch in the middle of their day. You can take this one step further by using your lunch break as a break in the larger sense of the word. Do not take a work project to the deli with you, and don’t bring back a sandwich to eat while you make the finishing touches on a report. Instead, use your lunch break as a time to distance yourself from work and clear your mind.
  3. Use Your Breaks to Evaluate Your Workload
    Your daily breaks can also help set you up in the right position to be healthier in a well-rounded kind of way. Taking breaks from the constant stream of work can give you an opportunity to go over your current workload in a more analytical way. For instance, if you feel like you never have enough time to spend time with family or friends, or even to take care of yourself, you may need to practice saying “no” more frequently at work. Saying “no” is not intrinsically a bad thing, in fact, it can be very healthy, as turning down projects means you are self-aware enough to understand you cannot take on any more projects without sacrificing your health. If you constantly feel stressed, there is a chance you are trying to do too much.
  4. Support the health of your gut
    Finally, when you cook your meals each day, you can make them even better for you by focusing on the health of your gut. Gut flora, the bacteria that live inside your digestive system, are critical for maintaining healthy levels in your body. You can help keep them healthy and support good bacteria by eating (or abstaining from) certain food or by including certain supplements into your diet. Bacillus coagulans, for instance, support intestinal health, while
    saccharomyces boulardii protect against harmful microbes.

By making the most of your break time and regulating the amount of work you take on each week, you can help take care of yourself without even changing your schedule.