10 Ways to Weave in Micro Self-Care into a Busy Day

21 January 2022 By Rubi McGrory
Credit: Rubi McGrory

Rubi McGrory has 25 years in yacht galleys and more than 150,000 miles at sea. Aside from culinary creations, she does art, design,  illustration, and curates custom tablescapes. Follow Rubi’s culinary shenanigans on Instagram 

Nobody has to tell a yachtie about the importance of self-care. We offer the ultimate in self-care — for the select few who can afford it. Unfortunately, we’re not great at doing it for our own selves.

An important part of self-care involves being aware of your neural superhighways and how the roads your brain has paved may not be taking you to the most stress-free destination.

I hear you. You’re saying, “I don’t have time for yoga or meditation when I’m already working 16-hour charter days. All I want when I’m not working is to sleep. But I’m so stressed out all the time.” It doesn’t have to be like this.

A quick note about phones: while they’re a great distraction, social media platforms are not your friend. Scrolling is a great way to take you mentally out of the drama in the crew mess, but where has it brought you? Into a performative no-man’s land where everything is staged to make you feel bad about yourself (aka: stress). The cumulative effect of 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there adds up. In the course of the day, that’s over an hour of mindless scrolling. Can you invest that time more wisely? In yourself? In your wellbeing?

Social media is a difficult habit to break, but it’s easier if you replace the action with another one, like reading or drawing or breathing. An easy formula for a little self-care, when you don’t have a lot of time and without having to hand over too much of your tip money to the 450 billion dollar self-care industry:
Creating good habits = less stress.
Good breathing = less stress.
Less stress = better, happier you.

Weave in Micro Self-Care

There are so many hidden moments in your day to weave in micro-acts of self-care. Repeating these as small habits will create new neural networks and help you sustain self-care practices that last longer than a gel manicure. Go after your moments of self-care with the insatiable yearning of a 1990s restaurant server sneaking off the floor for a cigarette. Fill your toolbox with some of these suggestions, based on little snippets of time.

Credit: Rubi McGrory

Awaiting the arrival of the dumbwaiter (30-45 seconds)

  • Box breathing (inhale to count of four, hold for four, exhale for four, hold for four, repeat)
  • Extended mountain pose: lengthen your spine with your arms by your side, slowly inhale as you reach your arms overhead with your palms facing each other, exhale as you slowly bring your back down. Repeat.
  • Roll your shoulders backwards a few times, then forward. Roll your ankles. Stretch the top of your feet by tucking your toes under and pushing your ankle forward.
  • Drink a glass of water.
  • Massage your ears.

Brewing espresso (3 minutes)

  • Massage some lotion into your hands.
  • Repeat a positive affirmation: I got this.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: start at your feet. Clench your toe and foot muscles. Relax them. Tighten your calves, let them go. Then your hamstrings, glutes, etc., all the way to your forehead.
Credit: Rubi McGrory

Boiling water for tea (4 minutes)

  • Close your eyes, empty your mind, and focus on your breath, taking long, slow inhales, and long, slow exhales (mindfulness meditation) until you hear the kettle click that it’s done.
  • Go to the bathroom — why are you holding it?
  • Dance like nobody’s watching (really, make sure nobody is watching).
  • Push-ups (quick math: one set of 10 push-ups, three times a day, over a seven-day charter is 210 push-ups that you wouldn’t have done otherwise.)

Washing/drying dishes (7 minutes)

  • Take a mental holiday. Visualize yourself skiing in Aspen, using your hard-earned wages to start the business you’ve always dreamed of, or relaxing on the shores of a serene lake with a special someone.
  • Practice loving-kindness meditation: a scientifically documented way to increase your happiness by silently sending loving thoughts to others.
  • Stare out the window.
Credit: Rubi McGrory

Snooze button (9 minutes)

This is the toughest one. Sleep is sooo important and feels sooo good. But so does 10 minutes of yoga.

  • Yoga with Adriene on YouTube has hundreds of free videos for you to choose from. Bonus content: Benji the dog practices alongside her.
  • Read something inspirational that can carry you through your day.
  • Journal: the mere act of writing your feelings takes them out of your head and allows you to step back from them. You don’t have to go back and read anything, just get it out. Paper, notebook, tablet, phone, laptop; whatever feels comfortable and safe.
  • Meditate: there are almost as many meditation apps as there are stars in the sky right now. Somebody has recorded a guided meditation that will start your day on the perfect note.
  • Snooze for eight minutes and use the ninth minute to set an intention for the day or to have a moment of gratitude.

Tea break (15 minutes)

This is no time for TikTok; this is you-time.

  • Read something that doesn’t ask you to decide which celebrity wore it best.
  • Ted Talks are around 14 minutes long.
  • Call a friend.
  • Call your mom.
  • Sit outside.
Credit: Rubi McGrory

Lunch break (30 minutes)

Instagram can wait.

  • Curate a playlist of inspirational songs.
  • Go outside and let the sun shine on your face.
  • Update a gratitude list.

After dinner, waiting for guests to return to the vessel or retire to their cabins (60+ minutes)

  • Sneak outside and bathe in the light of celestial bodies.
  • Waterfall pose: Lie on your back on the floor with your feet up against a wall.
  • Get out of your head with puzzles or games.
  • Make something for pleasure: draw, color, knit, or embroider.
  • Bust out your book, the one you’re reading about four agreements or the importance of vulnerability or the memoir of that amazing person you admire.

Ironing/polishing silver (feels like forever)

  • Pop in an inspirational podcast (or your fave murder ladies because they’re your besties after all, aren’t they?)
  • Audiobooks
Credit: Rubi McGrory


  • Every time you see your reflection, make finger guns and be your best hype-man: “Hello, gorgeous!” or “Hey, hot stuff!”
  • Remind yourself that no matter how hard this trip is, it will be over soon (it’s okay to keep a secret countdown someplace where the guests won’t see).
  • Shower crying is always available but be sure to follow it up with towel dancing.

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