There are a lot of ways to spend our time and that leaves us feeling like we have no time. There is time. The average American wastes 55 minutes a day (roughly 12 days a year) looking for things they own but can’t find. Really, think about that, it is wild. Think what your day would look like if you took those 55 mins and spent if on self-care. I used to feel I did not have time for self-care, but I would look for my phone for 10 minutes, or have to turn the car around and come home because I forgot my computer. Being stressed, frazzled, and tired takes up unplanned time in our day. Self-care leads to being more relaxed, focused, and conscious.
There are apps that you can install on your phone that tracks how many minutes you spend on social media apps each day. We do have time in the day, we have 1440 glorious minutes in a day and they are all ours to decide what we want to do with them. We fill our day with 5 min distractions, and some of these can be dedicated to self-care.
I know not everyday is a spa day and we have many responsibilities throughout the day, but there are some quick ways to add self-care into your day. Below, are 10 easy 5 min routines to add to your day. Try one or two and if it feels good, add a few more. If you like it, extend some of those 5 mins into longer sessions. This life is yours to live.
- Take time to breath in the morning. It is wonderful if you have an hour in the morning for meditation, but if you do not, take at the very least 5 mins. Honestly, 5 mins can make a big difference in your day. Set your alarm for 5 mins earlier if you feel you need to. When you wake-up please do not grab your phone. Before you take on the world that lives in your phone, just take a few minutes to take deep breaths. I practice mantra meditation. The basic principle is to fill your mind with positivity. Instead of trying to clear your mind, try to fill it with good. You can pick a positive word such as peace, love, or a traditional sanskrit mantra and breath that in. When you start thinking about your list of things to do and how late you are going to be, just take a few minutes and breath in that word. There are a lot of meditation timers to help. It is best to have a set place for you to meditate each morning that is not your bed, but first just do what works. For years, my children could sense the moment I woke-up, so I usually just sat up in bed to meditate, so they would not wake up. This is something you can even do laying down (just try not to fall back asleep!) The main thing is to start your day in a peaceful and calm way before you tackle the rest of the day.
- Love your routine. Many people have a morning hustle to get out the door in the morning. Do you love your routine? Try to take a few minutes of consciousness to bring love into what you are doing. Do you love your morning shower, your morning smoothie? Can you add music to your morning routine. Sometimes we get caught up in the things we “have to” do. We can still do all of those things we have to do but we can twist the vibration of it all. Is there something that makes you function better? Make more time for those things. Music has a huge affect on my life. I invested in a wireless speaker and spotify, so I always have music easily available. It can turn the morning hustle into a whole new feeling.
- Close your eyes. This one is a hard one for me, but 5 mins goes a long way. If you are able to lay down, that is even better. If you can not, then just take 5 mins to close your eyes at your desk, or when you are parked in the car line while you are picking up the kids (just make sure you are in park). If I have been in meetings, on the computer, or with clients, it is very hard to stop, but it is worth it. I find closing my eyes and lying horizontal can really revive me.
- Do what you love. If you add more of what you love to your day, you are happier. If you are happier, you are more productive, and it will also affect those around you. Is there a song that tickles your brain when you listen to it? Does dancing around the room make you smile? Is there a yoga posture you can do that will leave you happy and revived? Does scrolling on instagram and seeing photos of your friends leave you feeling uplifted? Does going on youtube and looking a cat videos make you laugh out loud? If you love it, add it into your routine. I love essential oils, they transport me to another place and make me feel connected and calm. I take time to apply them and let them soak in. Sometimes I lay on the floor in child’s pose. Sometimes, I go on facebook and look at what the rest of the world is doing. The idea is to take a break and fill it with what you love.
- Drink water. I might have to write a whole other blog on just water. We are make of cells, cells are made of water. When we drink water, we replenish our cells, and flush out toxins. There are endless benefits of drinking water. There are hundreds of types of water bottles out there, find one you love and start toting around one of the greatest resources we have in life.
- Go Outside. If you have more than 5 mins then please stay outside as long as you can. But if all you have is 5 mins, then just get out there. You do not have to be on top of a mountain, or near a park, just feeling the elements on your face can have amazing affects and change your day. Don’t let rain or cold weather stop you.
- Stretch and do yoga. Moving, stretching, and breathing all changes our perspective and helps us relax and rejuvenate. If you only have a short amount of time, do some light stretching, and pick one pose you would like to practice. There are even stretches and poses available that you can do right at your desk if you need to. Of course if you have more time, do more.
- Shut the screens off. We love our screens, they are these amazing devices that connect us to people, ideas, discussions, entertainment, and endless information, but we do need to shut them off and reconnect with what is around us. This one, I suggest doing for more than 5 mins a day. If grabbing your phone has become a habit when you are waiting in line, on public transportation, eating, or sitting in a park. I suggest holding off for five minutes and take in your surroundings, connect with what is around you. Sleep studies have also suggested for optimal sleep, shutting off screens at least an hour before bed and not using them in your bedroom.
- Think of a few things you are grateful for. I aim for 3 each evening. You can of course do this at anytime of the day, but it is something that I have worked into my evening routine. It can be something that happened that day or something that you are overall grateful for. For me this helps me wrap up the day on a positive note.
- Take time to breath, meditate, and sleep. Right before bed when my mind quiets down, is when I tend to remember all of the things that I did not do that day, and all of the things that I have to do the next day. Just write them down and move on. This day is done and tomorrow is an entirely different day. Let this day go. Take another 5 or more minutes to breath and meditate. Go back to that positive mantra, fill your mind with that thought and let all the other distractions melt away, so you can enjoy a night of rest and start again fresh tomorrow.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel holds BA in Developmental Psychology from Suffolk University. She started her interest in health and wellness when starting her yoga and meditation practice over 20 years ago. Since then she has attended many workshops, retreats, and trainings on the subject. Rachel was a staffperson at the Prama Institute for six years and currently is the Director of the Mountain Breeze Pre-school in Marshall, NC. She lives happily with her husband, Alex, and their three young boys.