Does this sound familiar: by the time you’ve finished work, meals, and everything else on your to-do list, you wonder how to possibly squeeze in something to benefit your mental health? The good news is that even a bit of time every day can have a positive cumulative effect.
It can be tempting to say that if we can’t carve out a large chunk of time every day, we’ll just do nothing at all for ourselves. But, we can’t underestimate the impact that just a few minutes can have when we choose to use them intentionally. They can refresh us, change our focus, and help us feel a sense of accomplishment.
What you do with these small bits of time is all up to you – it’s less about the actual activity and more about feeling positive during and after it. To get your ideas flowing, here a few suggestions you can do in five minutes or less:
- It may sound simple, but just breathe. Turn off the TV and spend a few minutes focusing on how your breath feels going in and out of your lungs – it can do wonders to slow things down. Add some positive thoughts if you like, such as “Breathe in the calm, breathe out the stress.”
- Do a small job. Tidy up your coffee table or cart those baskets of laundry out of the way. This might not seem like typical self-care, but if it gets clutter out of your environment and mind, it can feel like a big old deep breath that doesn’t take up much time.
- Have a mindful chat. Connect with a partner or kid or call up a friend and focus only on being present. So often, we have other things on our minds and don’t give all of our attention to conversations, and using our time to be fully engaged can be refreshing.
- Take a quick walk around the block. The change of scenery can shift our perspective and getting the oxygen and blood flowing for even just a few minutes can refresh our body and mind.
- Make a healthy snack. Rather that grabbing the closest and easiest thing, take a few minutes to make something fresh or blend up a smoothie. If it’s during your work day, take a true break and enjoy your food before going back to work.
- And prepare to say “awwww” for this last one…snuggle your pet. Animal lovers know that sometimes it just takes a few dog cuddles or cat purrs to make our day.
Of course, capitalize when you can make more time for yourself – think of these short blocks as good practice.
Artwork by Harshita Jha: www.Harshitajha.art