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The Calm in the Storm: 7 Micro-Acts of Self-Care with a Busy Schedule

The rise of hustle culture has led us to think that taking care of yourself is necessary only for you to be “more” productive — that you need to recharge so you can be at your optimum self and continue doing great things. Respectfully disagreeing, we believe taking care of yourself is not a means for another pursuit, but an end in itself. You’re not a robot in need of recharging to function better; you’re alive, and self-care is something you deserve for simply existing.

With this, we’ve compiled seven micro-acts of self-care busy bees can do on a tight schedule.

1. Establish a daily routine.

If you think there’s one secret formula for the daily routine of people who seems to have gotten everything figured out, there isn’t. In fact, there’s no one-size-fits-all road map to getting everything done. As gasgas as it sounds, the magical tool you possess is proper time management, or organizing, planning, dividing, and structuring your time between general and specific activities, which leads us to the next act:

2. Know your priorities and determine where you should pour your energy into.

Imagine a pie chart containing slices of your daily tasks. You can only fit in so much in a day, so don’t stress over the things you are not in control of. In order to work smarter, and not harder, know which aspects of your life you need or want to weigh more, and devote more time and energy to it. Start by listing down what you usually do in a day and rate how much each matter to you.

Say, as a student, your top three priorities are academics, extra-curricular activities, and relationships with your friends and family. Then, a significant percentage of your day should be allocated to your schoolworks, organizational work, and quality time with your loved ones. Labelling allows you to set boundaries, and prevents you from crossing the line.

3. Make sure you do your tasks on time.

By this, we mean, never put off a task (including mealtimes and scheduled short naps)! You’re most likely going to be more stressed (as if you’re not already) with your mañana habit. Get your virtual or physical planner, list down the task, figure out if it’s significant enough to be done as soon as possible, and calculate how long a task will be done (through your intuition, just make sure it’s realistic and flexible). Most importantly, do not ever work beyond the designated hours. Not only are you going to disturb your classmates or coworkers with your 3am messages, it’ll disrupt your work-personal life balance.

4. Look for something you can look forward to at the end of the day.

Remember that one thing you’ve been meaning to do since forever, but cannot really commit to doing because you “do not have time for it?” As counterintuitive as it sounds, our advice is to go for that (you'll surely enjoy something that’s not required by your school or your work). Whether it’s adopting a new hobby for the pleasure of doing it, watching your favorite dramas/anime kept on “Watch Later,” scrolling through your daily newspaper (aka Twitter) or listening to Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” album as you imagine yourself snuggled in a cabin deep in the woods.

5. Learn how to take it easy when you’re overwhelmed.

When we’re drowned in an ocean of to-do lists, remember to breathe. Resisting the waves will only tire you even more; why not try to float with the current? As long as you know in yourself that you’re pouring your best, you’re growing, and you’re not stepping down on other people, don’t beat yourself up for not accomplishing everything that needs to be done. In case no one has told you this, it’s okay to rest, you’re already doing a great job!

6. Find joy in everything that you do.

It’s true, happiness isn’t something you achieve “one day” in the future. Instead, observe everything around you, and find happiness within it--that’s how you live a meaningful life. You’re not just studying or working to pass an exam or to survive in this capitalistic society, you’re learning because it is a fulfilling endeavor. Wait until you realize how big the impact of this small mindset shift is; you’ll find yourself enjoying a rewarding feeling despite the busy-ness.

7. Show some love for yourself.

This “love” comes in different languages: speaking words of appreciation for yourself in front of the mirror, indulging in calm coffee mornings while journaling, religiously sticking to an evening skincare routine, setting up new Spotify playlists, or rewarding yourself with a gift from your wishlist.

Showing yourself some love is perhaps the greatest manifestation of self-care. Love is not earned; it’s something you’re worthy of receiving, even in the days when you feel as if you’re not enough. Remember that you are not what you have, or what people think of you. You are you, and what you choose to do.

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