No time for self-care? No Worries. Discover the Ultimate Time Hack

self care moment

I just lit my White Tea and Lemon Zest scented candle, and it is the perfect choice for the moment we are about to share. The kids are at school, and my husband's in the garage, so it's just you and me sitting down for a heart-to-heart about self-care. By the end, you will know the secret to practicing self-care daily, no matter how busy your life is.

That last sentence is a pretty big promise, and I hesitated even to write it, but it's true. If you still choose not to make time for yourself after learning this, you need to do a deep dive into your psychology and beliefs around self and figure out why.

But I have faith that this won't be you, and you will take this golden nugget and apply it to your life starting today. I'm so excited to share with you the aha moment I experienced just a couple of weeks ago, riding in an elevator, no less.

self care moments

The Elevator Ride That Turned On My Self-Care Light Bulb

My husband and I are currently remodeling our candle stockroom, so I'm constantly hauling stuff up and down the elevator. On one of my short jaunts, a random thought popped into my head; I wonder how many squats I can do before I reach my floor? It turns out it's 20.

And just like that, something in my brain clicked into place like the gears of a sophisticated safe the moment you've been granted access. I realized I happened upon something that would revolutionize my approach to self-care.

Self-Care Isn't A Luxury; It's a Necessity Blah, Blah, Blah

You and I know self-care is crucial for our health, happiness and well-being, yet we still skip it. It's all thanks to optimism bias - the part of our brain that tricks us into thinking that bad things only happen to others and we will be just fine.

self care moments

Just like cigarettes will lead to grave consequences, so will our decision not to prioritize self-care and make healthier choices. I probably know better than most how important TLC is - I've been a mental health practitioner for ten years and married a self-care guru, and I still have to force myself to do the bare minimum to say I did it and to keep my husband off my back.

Why Do We Turn Our Backs On Self-Care

Everyone's reason for this is different. Mine is that I am a workaholic, get high on being productive, and find a lot of my worth and value tied intricately around my accomplishments. It's how I was raised; I battle this every day. Like an alcoholic fighting to not pick up the bottle, I have to fight not to work 20 hours of the day - it's my true struggle.

self care moments

That's my tea, but now I want to know yours. Do you skip self-care because you don't have enough time, or is that just the story you tell yourself?

I've done this, too, so I know the song and dance well. The truth is that I have more time than I think, but I give it to things that don't benefit me. Insert Netflix, Tiktok, or anything to do with the phone. I'll touch on this later and how our phone feels like self-care, but it's just passing the time, not filling our cups.

Any People Pleasers In The House?

Sometimes it's not about our devices but about wanting approval and praise from others. Hands up if you have ever started to do something for yourself but quickly ditched it the moment someone asked for your time.

self care

Let me give you a real-life example. One day I was determined to complete a yoga class (thanks to Youtube), so I rolled out my mat, got into my first downward-facing dog, and wouldn't you know, my son popped his cute head in and asked for a ride.

Now I had two choices; I could model healthy boundaries and go after I finished my 20-minute workout, or drop everything and put on my taxi driver hat, all in the name of being a good mom. Yep, I grabbed my hat. And when he jumped out of the Jeep, he looked back and said, "Thanks, mom, you're the best."

Addicted To Crossing Stuff Off The To-Do List

Oh, the instant gratification of crossing something off, I know. Let's say you have the opportunity to sit out on the back deck you so desperately wanted your husband to build with an iced tea and read in the sun. But instead, you decide to wash every piece of bedding in the house because it's been three weeks, it's on your to-dos, and it feels so good to cross it off. Sound familiar?

self care moments

But what I'm sure you've realized over the years is that the list is never complete. That thing keeps going infinitely. There is always something to clean, emails to send, and tasks that need our attention.

Being a workaholic, I have to have firm boundaries around family life. A trick I learned from Timothy Ferris in his book, The Four-Hour Work Week, is the three tasks and a sticky note rule.

How it works is every night, I write down three important tasks to complete the next day, and when they are done, I'm done, and this forces me to stop working and engage with my life and actually enjoy it.

We Have Time; We Just Fill It With Other Things

It's true. It sucks to realize that it all falls on us, and no matter how many self-help articles or books we read, we still have to be the ones to take action and make the better choice. Once I share what I learned in the elevator that day, you will see how easy it is to care for yourself.

But we also have to come to terms with the fact that yes, we do have the time, even though it feels like we don't. And we both need to realized that self-care isn't something we do once we get older or after we receive a wake up call from the doctor. It's now.

self care moments

Does The Struggle To Be Consistent Get Easier?

Why do we relentlessly search for the secret formula for practicing self-care if it's such a struggle to be consistent? It's our subconscious fighting on our behalf, knowing how much damage we are doing by neglecting ourselves.

I'm currently obsessing over this because I'm about to turn 42, and things are changing rapidly with my body, which I don't like. And quite honestly, I thought I would be a perfectly balanced human by now, which is royally disappointing (ha-ha).

What I discovered with this new approach is that it's the way we look at self care that makes consistency challenging. Once that's transformed the struggle essentially disappears.

self care moments

Why Can't I Go To The Gym For an Hour Like The Girls On Instagram?

Typically when we think of self-care, we imagine working out, taking a bath, or getting our nails done. But I've noticed that dedicating big chunks of time is less attractive to me than it once was.

Case in point, I want to be in shape, but I no longer have the discipline I once did. For decades, I worked out daily, and now I struggle to complete a 20-minute workout a couple of times a week.

My inner critic likes to remind me that I used to care more about myself, and then I see other women on Instagram still caring for themselves, which can be challenging. But apparently not hard enough to get me to dedicate the time.

self care moments

Can you relate to this? You used to be so consistent at caring for yourself in some way and now struggle to do it consistently. The comparison game, either to a previous version of yourselves or to the perfect personas online, adds another layer of guilt that's not helpful and weighs us down.

That's where this secret comes in and saves the day. Now that I started practicing this, I don't feel guilty for not dedicating a full hour to the gym. And once you begin, you can tell your inner critic and pack up and move out - because you won't have that unnecessary guilt weighing you down.

self care moments

The Consequences Of Skipping Self-Care

Before we dive into the secret and how to implement it into your daily routine. I want to remind both of us why it's essential to take what you are about to learn and put it into action.

There are long-term consequences for not taking better care of ourselves and then there are consequences in the here and now. When I choose not to work out (for 20 measly minutes), stretch my body, or take any time for myself, I don't show up as my best self for my family.

I Get Irritable With The Ones I Love The Most

I get snippy, short-tempered, and irritable when I don't take care of myself. My family doesn't deserve that, and when I lose it, a familiar face of mom guilt settles right in, making everything even worse.

self care moments

Right now, you may be thinking; this is the cycle I want to break. And you will; we both will. You and I have big plans for our lives, and we need to get a better balance so we can show up healthy and ready to experience all the special moments and stop making our family pay for our poor choices.

I have cracked the code - like in a big way so that we can all enjoy self-care several times a day. Just stick with me.

Importance of Self-Care

I'm writing this section as a note-to-self, and I also hope this benefits you.

So What Does Self-Care Do?

For starters, it lowers our stress levels. That's important because excess stress causes a high cortisol level in our bloodstream, leading to fat accumulation in our belly region, premature aging, heart disease down the road, and other significant illnesses.

If you're around my age, this stage is about preventative care. If we neglect self-care, we'll experience cognitive decline, mood swings, memory loss, burnout, and poor sleep. And I don't know about you, but when I get inadequate sleep, it doesn't matter how much of my daughter's Glossier dewy glow I use; my skin is duller than a chalkboard.

self care moments

Even Though We Know The Benefits of Self Care, Some Might Still Skip It; Why?

Many of us feel guilty taking time for ourselves, and most don't have the energy at the end of the day. Sometimes we think self-care needs to be an expense, so if money is tight, we automatically write it off.

But our biggest hurdle is that we live in a world full of distractions and things that appear like self-care but hurt us gravely.

You know what it's like to have a terrible week, day, or fight with your teenager. And sometimes, it feels good to turn to wine, Netflix, and junk food. But that is not self-care, even though it seems we are treating ourselves.

Instead, we're poisoning our bodies with the glass (bottle) of wine, not working out any stress by being sedentary, and making our hormones go all out of wack with nutrient-deficient food.

But it's not just about our indulgence choices; it's also about the gadgets we hold onto more than our loved ones. Yep, I'm going there, our phones.

self care moments

Games, Scrolling, and Shopping Are All Massively Addicting

I don't have to tell you how addicting our phones are. You've experienced the panic when you lose it and often tell yourself, I need to cut back on how much I'm on it, and then another day goes by, and you do it all over again.

When we are sucked into our phone, it's like a vortex, and the present moment and everything it holds can't penetrate. How often has your kid shared something with you, and you didn't realize they were talking until they were halfway through their story? It's because you were in a different universe than they are.

These devices steal our time while delivering consistent dopamine hits with every scroll keeping us coming back for more. Much like a slot machine does with every pull, our brains can't wait to see if the next post, pin, or Tok is the jackpot.

self care moments

True Or False: The Majority of Your Idle Time Is Given To Your Phone

If you are like most, your idle time is given to your phone. I'm not judging you; I'm here to lay out where your time is going so that you realize you have more time than you think.

Our phones give us a pseudo-high. They entertain and distract, which can feel like comfort and self-care. Our phones get us through boring checkout lines, help us pass the time at doctor's appointments, or wait to pick up our kids from soccer practice.

They are the first things to greet us as we start our day and the last thing we hold before we drift off to sleep. Our phones are reliable friends we can always count on to help us pass the time.

Because they are so reliable, when we have spare time, we instantly pick up our phones, get our quick hit of dopamine, and continue with our day. We never ask ourselves, what else could I have done in this handful of moments? The answer - so much.

self care moments

Self-Care Moments - The Hack That Changes Everything

Have you ever thought about how many idle minutes are sprinkled throughout your day that is wasted?

Me neither, until that fateful ride in the elevator. When the gears locked into place, I knew I had happened upon something special. I have so many moments that slip through my fingers every day that I can do something to fill my cup to make me healthier and happier.

They are our in-between moments. The time we have told ourselves it's not long enough actually to do anything worthwhile, so we waste it, but not anymore. From now on, rather than grabbing our phones when we have a few minutes here and there, we will turn this idle time into our self-care moments - Tada! The golden nugget.

This Hack Works For Everyone, 100% Guaranteed

There is no circumstance that this will not work. No one person is too busy, too overworked, or too overwhelmed to implement self-care moments.

Everyone waits in line, has breaks from work, and has 20 seconds here and two minutes there. And now everyone can practice self-care daily!

But Will This Amount Of Self-Care Actually Do Anything?

Yes. The top scientists at Harvard University have found that we regulate our nervous system and achieve other benefits from self-care activities in as little as five minutes a day.

self care moments

How To Implement Time Hack In Four Simple Steps

To develop a new habit, you need to swap out an old one or pair the new practice with something you frequently do throughout the day.

When I looked at my daily routine and current habits, I discovered two ways to incorporate self-care flawlessly—starting with my morning routine. I wake up, light my scented candle, and start my online work.

Now with self-care moments in mind, I have adjusted my morning routine. After I light my candle, I put in my earbuds and listen to an abundance mindset meditation while I enjoy my first cup of coffee, then I begin work.

The second thing I did was pair a new self-care habit with another healthy habit I practice frequently. I drink a ton of water (it's a problem, according to my family), so now, every time I get a glass of water, I do 20 squats. It's genius!


Now It's Your Turn:

1. Look at your day to find consistent pockets of time—morning routines, pickups, breaks, household tasks, appointments, and commutes. Things that you do daily.

2. Ask yourself what you currently do, and what healthy habit can you add or replace with a current habit? PSA: If you need ideas, join me on March 1st on Instagram for our free 30-day self-care challenge (follow me @bellavidacandles).

Let's say in the pickup line you scroll TikTok - Instead, read five pages of your book, listen to a podcast, TedTalk, meditation (free app: Insight Timer), or sit and take in your surroundings.

3. Pair a self-care habit with something you already do, like my water-drinking addiction.


For example, you are letting your dogs out for their morning duties. You can either stand and watch them take care of business or start putting on your coat and stepping outside to connect with nature each morning.

What a beautiful way to start your day. I would take nice cleansing breaths, listen to the sounds of nature, and whisper a gratitude prayer, all while the pups get their stuff done.

4. Rinse and repeat. Now continue to do this for the next 30 days (make sure you join the challenge). And look for more ways you can incorporate self-care moments.

Other Self-Care Strategies


Alarms Are Our Friend

Now that I have lit a fire in your brain, you're probably looking for additional ways to incorporate self-care moments. If you do any computer work, as I do, you know how hours can go by without you standing up and moving.

I have found since this epiphany that if I set my alarm on my phone to go off every 30 minutes, I get up, move around, and do some light stretches, and my neck doesn't hurt at the end of the day.

Walk After Every Meal

Another habit I have had for years (paired with a routine) is walking after every meal. In my 20s, I overhead a talk show guest saying that it helps your body start digesting the food, and less fat storage occurs if you move your body immediately after eating.

I don't know if that is true, but I never stopped that habit. So after breakfast, I walk around the block; for lunch, a longer walk, and after dinner, a walk with my family.

No Phones Within The First Hour Of Being Awake

Matthew McConaughey said in his book, Greenlights, that he doesn't look at his phone for the first hour he is awake. His theory is that he doesn't want the world to tell him how to feel before he gives himself a chance to figure that out on his own. Isn't that beautiful and so true?


Now It's Up To You

Like I said in the beginning, you can read all the self-help articles and books you can find, searching for those magical words that will inspire and motivate you to take the proper action, or you can stop wasting time and start with something so small and something so simple as capitalizing on idle moments. Moments sprinkled throughout your day that is typically wasted can now blossom into a solid self-care practice. 

And remember, as humans, we have a predisposition always to think, it can't happen to me. Part of the optimism bias in our brains tricks us into believing we are luckier than those around us. This is not true, but we all fall into this trap.

So I can't keep telling myself that I'm young and will worry about self-care when I get older. I am on the presumptuous of 42 and want to feel my best now, so I don't miss this time with my kids and ward off potential diseases down the road.


This article does not say you can take mindful breaths three times a day and live a healthy and happy life free from disease and mental illness. But this idea will shift your mindset.

Now you will look for ways to practice self-care because you see how easy it is, and then once you experience the benefits, you'll crave even more. And this forward momentum is what we use to battle the urge to fall back into our old ways and rely on distractions to pass the time.

Self-care moments (our idle time) is our gateway into living a healthier and more balanced life. And I'm delighted to do this with you.

30-Day Self-Care Challenge Starts March 1st

I need to wrap this up because my kids will be home from school soon, and one of my self-care boundaries is that I stop working when they cross the threshold of our front door. But our time together doesn't have to stop.

I have crafted a 30-day self-care challenge for us that I'm hosting on Instagram starting March 1st. At 10 am CST every day, I will post a straightforward idea for us to implement that day during our idle time.


By the end of the challenge, you will have discovered new habits; have more confidence knowing that you are consistently pouring into yourself, and have a more balanced self-care routine.

I'm so honored to have spent this time with you today; thank you for hanging out. And I was right; White Tea and Lemon Zest was the perfect candle to light. I felt energized by the lemon and orange peel notes and gently held by the nourishing tea leaves the entire time we were together. See you on March 1st! XO - Jess