Self-care and a busy life are possible. Great activities for you

Taking time for yourself isn’t always easy. However, there are free online resources that can help you stay sane and healthy, even when you have a stressful life.

Everyone is talking about self-care. Take care of yourself. Love yourself. Light some candles, relax, put on a sheet mask, and breathe. But you live a busy life. You have kids to take care of, a demanding job, and a house to run. Who has time for all of that?
Taking time out for yourself is essential for your sanity. You don’t have to spend hours a day doing it, but taking just a few minutes can make you feel better. Here are some free self-care practices to keep you sane and healthy.

Self-Compassion Break
When you’re feeling stressed, a little self-compassion and mindfulness can make you feel better. It will give you a little boost of confidence and lift your mood.
The Self-Compassion Break (download the worksheet here) is an activity that you can do when you have a few minutes to yourself. It teaches you how to show a little kindness to yourself.
Here’s how it works:

  • Find a safe, quiet space where you can close your eyes for a few minutes.
  • With your eyes closed, place one (or both) hands on your heart.
  • Take three full breaths, allowing your chest and stomach to expand.
  • Acknowledge the struggles and stress you’re facing. Give yourself the same words of comfort and encouragement you’d give a friend, sister, or other family members.
  • Silently repeat an affirmation, like “I love and accept myself,” or “I am worthy of my own compassion.”

You can practice this anytime, anywhere (even in the bathroom at work if you’re having a hard day). The worksheet has a place to write down your experience and feelings or to find ways to incorporate self-compassion into your daily routine.

Observer Meditation
Meditation is an effective way to ease stress, give your mind a break, and learn how to love and accept yourself. If you’ve never tried meditation, you may be feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to start.
This guided Observer Meditation is a great place to start. All you have to do is find a comfortable, quiet place and listen. It takes just 20 minutes. Try practicing this first thing in the morning (before the kids wake up) or just before bed.
The Observer Meditation is all about letting your thoughts come and go without getting lost in them. Giving your mind a break can lift your mood, make you feel good, and even give you a little burst of energy.

Guided Meditation
If the Observer Meditation isn’t your thing (or doesn’t help), you can find quite a few guided meditations on UCLA Health’s website. Some of these meditations are just a few minutes long, so they’re great for those times when you’re stressed but you can’t get away for 20 minutes.
These guided meditations are available in audio format, or you can read the transcript. They’re also available in Spanish.

Online Dance Classes
Exercise is an integral part of self-care, but you don’t need a gym membership or treadmill to get your body moving. Dancing will help you burn calories and make you feel good – all while doing something you love.
You can find dozens of free dance lessons on YouTube, ranging from Latin dance to contemporary, hip hop, and even jazz. Whether you have 15 minutes or 45, you’ll find a free class on YouTube. You can even get the kids involved to burn off some of their energy and keep them active.

Self-care is essential for your mental and physical health. Taking just a few minutes a day to practice these self-care activities will help you keep your sanity and protect your health.

You can also find more trusted local services in your community at www.boyleheighstresources.org or download the Boyle Heights Resources app.