How Much Time Does Self Care Actually Take?

self care

Beyonce and Elon Musk have the same amount of hours in a day that you have.

Have you ever heard that saying? Where someone super “successful” has the same amount of hours in a day that you do. The point is basically that it’s all about how you use your 24 hours.

Now I realize that Beyonce and Elon Musk can afford to pay people to do stuff for them, like pick up their dry cleaning, watch their kids, cook and clean for them, and no, not everyone can afford to pay someone to do things for them that they have to do at some point so the saying isn’t exactly realistic. BUT the concept is a good one. It’s about how you use your time, what you make of it.

But when I think about all of the things you’re “supposed to do every day” when it comes to self care, it’s a lot! And unless you are a professional athlete or work in a self-care field, then these are all on top of your job and any other responsibilities you have.

So what are all these things that you are “supposed” to do every day if you want to live the most successful, healthy, balanced, “best self”? These are the things that continually pop up in articles all over the Internet. I’m adding general times to them, just so we can see how much time all of this self-care if we did it all, would take out of our 24 hours each day.

Sleep — 8 Hours

First, you’re supposed to wake up from a long restful night of sleep. I know for parents of babies and young kids, this simply isn’t possible most of the time. You’re lucky to get whatever sleep you can. Other people have sleeping problems like insomnia or anxiety. I sometimes get insomnia, but it’s usually related to what’s going on in my life — usually stress and anxiety. My own sleeplessness can usually be fixed with sleep aids.

I do think that sleep is hugely important and if you can some how get 8 hours at night, or even just get in sleep whenever you can, I think the rest (science backs this up, a quick Google search leads to tons of articles on this) is important to so many body functions like recovering from workouts, letting your immune system work, and energy levels. I try to get a lot of sleep and I make it a priority. I don’t have kids so I know not everyone can sleep 8 hours a night!

Meditate — 20 Minutes

This is something I just haven’t really gotten into yet. The whole clear your mind and think of nothing makes my mind think harder. For me I find my yoga practice as meditation. I know some people swear by meditation but I feel like I do a similar thing at yoga and when I walk the dog without my headphones. Maybe if I’m going crazy someday, I’ll try it, but I currently don’t feel the need. When things do get crazy, I usually stop to focus on my breath for a few minutes, maybe that’s a version of meditation? It’s not something I look down on or anything, I think it’s great for people who like it. I just don’t think it’s for me right now or maybe ever.

Journaling / Reflecting — 20 Minutes

I have journaled on and off over my lifetime. When I’m stressed or upset, I find it really helps me clear my head. During happy times, I find I do it much less, if at all. I think if you are a writer, of novels and books mainly, journaling can be super helpful for looking back at for ideas, especially if you write a memoir at some point. I threw out all of my journals from middle school, high school, and even college. There was probably definitely a book in there, but now I don’t have all of those details to refer to.

My website is sort of a journal, although I do keep a lot of things private, so there’s a lot missing that isn’t public. One thing I’ve read over and over is about reflection. How important it is for people to stop, take a moment, and reflect on things and use those reflections to direct their future.

Walk — 30 Minutes

When I read the book Daily Rituals, it was the first time I really realized how much walking was a part of a lot of the great minds of our time. I have to take into account that before modern transportation, people had to walk more, but a lot of people in the book chose to walk, not only for the movement of their body and fresh air, but to clear their head and think.

There is science behind why walking for 30, 60, or even better — 90 minutes a day is good for you and can potentially prolong your life (I heard this from a doctor on a health podcast and now cannot remember which one!). Since I walk my dog daily, I usually get in at least 30 minutes, but I aim to walk him 60 minutes a day. Walking equals extra movement for me in addition to working out, fresh air, and keeping my dog busy.

Exercise & Stretching — 45 Minutes

30 minutes of strenuous exercise, or I’d beg to say that 50-60 minutes is even better to do each day (or at least 5 days a week). Yes, in addition to walking! I think the health factor is obvious here. If you want to keep your body healthy, you have to move it. Regardless of weight and looks, to move around in the world and ward off disease, the health of your body is a huge factor.

I don’t want to be a frail old woman who can’t even open a jar for herself, and I was definitely on my way to that until I started working out. I’ve really put on some muscle in the past few years. I’d say it wasn’t until my late 20s when I started doing CrossFit and yoga regularly had I ever really worked out hard. LATE 20s!?! For all of you who have not yet reached your late 20s, let me give you some advice — START WORKING OUT NOW. It just gets harder and harder to change your body the older you get. I wish I would have established a daily workout routine when I was in college. I was certainly active and busy in college, walking all the time, but I didn’t do anything beyond that.

I usually workout 5 days a week, sometimes more, in addition to walking, and I can tell you, I’ve never been stronger.

Read — 30 Minutes

I think reading is so much more than a hobby. In addition to learning and expanding your mind, if you actually focus on a book for at least 30 minutes, and don’t let yourself get distracted, it’s actually very nice. How often do you do something uninterrupted by technology for 30 minutes or longer?

In addition to personally just being naturally curious and wanting to read all the time about an endless amount of topics — art, artists, business, wine, novels, biographies and memoirs, etc. — I have found that reading before bed helps me wind down and fall asleep. My problem with sleep is falling asleep, and then staying asleep. I’m a light sleeper, but sometimes I can’t even fall asleep. But usually reading a novel or a story that takes me out of my own head and into something else helps me relax.

Beauty Routine — 60 Minutes

When I say beauty routine, this could be a host of different things lumped all into your beauty routine. Things like showering, using face masks, the layering of serums and creams (or as my husband says my lotions & potions), doing your hair and makeup for the day, dry brushing before you get in the shower, doing your nails, jade rolling your face, anything that you do beauty wise to be your best self.

Eat Healthy — 30 Minutes

30 minutes is probably on the low side if you include everything that goes into eating and drinking in a healthy way all day long. Drink water, drink water with lemon, drink smoothies, eat salads, eat fruit, eat veggies, recipe planning, grocery shopping for all this healthy food. It’s a lot of work just to eat healthy! I try to make it easy on myself by having healthy items that are easy to grab like fruit.

Total Self Care Hours in a Day = 12 Hours

Without 8 hours of sleep it adds up to about 4 hours. Do you devote 4 hours of your day in addition to a full night’s rest on self care & health?

There are so many more things that could be considered self-care, but I think they can fall into one of the categories. Do you think I missed any major self-care things we should add to the list? Leave it in a comment below!


Photo by Jernej Graj on Unsplash