It’s easy to look at the wellness trends out there and think “I don’t have time for that”. Especially when social media perpetuates a kind of perfection that just doesn’t exist. We’ve all seen the TikToks or posts that outline someone’s flawless daily wellness routine, otherwise known as the “that girl” trend. You’ve seen that girl all over the internet – she eats clean, lives in the mid-century modern apartment of your dreams, makes a perfect matcha latte, and has all the time in the world for self-care. Meanwhile, you’re on the verge of turning your closet into a sea of black turtlenecks a la Elizabeth Holmes just to get an extra 5 minutes of sleep.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to incorporate wellness into your life that are attainable and effective. If you’re a 20-something in the middle of building your career and think you just don’t have the time, let me change your mind. Wellness isn’t about making the “right” choices all the time – it’s about making the choices that feel right to you. Here are 8 simple ways you can take advantage of your free time to better your mind, body, and soul.
Take a walk around the block at lunch time or get a change of scenery
- Stepping out into the sunshine will not only help to keep your circadian rhythm on track, which will make sleep easier, it’ll also give you a necessary change of scenery. Sometimes you just need to get away from your desk for 5 minutes. There’s a reason Einstein went on frequent walks. Be more like Einstein.
- Walks are also a great way to practice mindfulness. One way to do this is to actively pay attention to your surroundings. Notice the trees, the grass, the cars, etc. This is a great trick to use anywhere, at any time, to bring your attention to the present.
Journal for 5 minutes before bed or when you wake up
- We’ve all heard about gratitude journaling, but it really does help to shift your mindset. If 5 minutes feels like too long, try timing yourself for a minute. Write down anything that pops into your mind. By reframing your thoughts you’ll set yourself up to create the work/life balance you want
- If you’d like to do more self reflection or have trouble following through with self-care, more intentional journaling can help you to hold yourself accountable. Here are some quick prompts that are great for any day:
- What are the small steps I’m taking this week to achieve my long term goals? What am I doing this week outside of anything work related?
- The parts of my day that I enjoyed the most and the least were…
- An ideal wellness routine looks like this to me…What would help me to achieve this?
- What do I wish I had more time for and how can I realistically make time?
- What did I do to take care of myself today? If I didn’t do anything, what stopped me?
- This is what I would tell a friend if he/she was struggling to take time for their mental health right now…
Meditate for 5 mins while you sip your morning coffee
- If you’re not a morning person, this can be a great way to start the day off slowly. There are so many great apps out there that have a meditation for everything you can think of. Check out our article on Carrie Ann’s favorite meditation leaders here for some suggestions.
Schedule in breaks during the day and set reminders on your phone
- If you’re guilty of plowing through your work without taking adequate breaks, you might want to try setting reminders. Taking the time to get more water, a snack, or text your friend back can allow you to approach the rest of your work with fresh eyes.
Commit to exercising a couple days a week before or after work
- Don’t set overwhelming goals. Even committing to two days a week is something.
- This could be something as easy as doing a 15 minute YouTube workout.
Add one calming aspect to your night
- If you don’t already have a nightly routine, stick in one calming activity that you can easily incorporate every night. Maybe it’s skincare, a cup of tea, or getting through a chapter of the book that’s been sitting on your nightstand. Again, wellness is one step at a time.
Schedule fun during the week
- Make plans to get dinner with a friend or your partner after work, or throw caution to the wind and see a movie on a Wednesday night. It’s unhealthy to get stuck in the mindset of living for the weekends. There are 5 other days to have fun too!
Use PTO for mental health days if you need to
- Sometimes you need a real break. If you have piles of unused PTO (paid time off), don’t hesitate to use it for a mental health day. Your coworkers will thank you later.
Adding in moments of healthy you-time is essential to your mental health and ultimately the success of your career. You don’t want to wait until you’re burnt out. It takes a lot less effort and time than you may think to get big results. Our generation tends to place a lot of importance on “success”, and we’ve been working ever since we knew what a college application was to chase this dream. Now is the time to create healthy habits so we can look back at our 20s and know we lived them to the fullest. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider trying one of these tips before you do an Elizabeth Holmes to your closet.