Everyone has difficult days, no matter where they are in life. Even as women in our 50s, 60s, and beyond, there are no guarantees that the level of stress will always be lower as the pace of life is slower. Yes it rhymes, but no, it doesn’t necessarily happen that way for us.
Sometimes the day can seem overwhelming and we just need to step away and regroup. But, we can’t always take a vacation, get a massage, or even take the rest of the day off, so some quick 5 minute self care ideas might be the perfect solution. I like to call them tiny healthy habits.
It might go something like this:
You’re having one of those days where everything just seems to be going wrong.
You woke up later than planned and rushed around to get to your doctor’s appointment only to be kept waiting much longer than usual. The car needs gas and it’s pouring rain outside. And, you forgot to take the meat out of the freezer for dinner in your rush to get out the door.
So guess what? You’re stressed out and it’s not even lunchtime yet. And you committed to spending a couple of hours with your elderly parent in the afternoon. They deserve your attention and patience, so heading over there in your current stressed out state is not a good idea. What can you quickly do?
The common challenge that people have is that they don’t know how to quickly destress during the day. This can lead to them feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Another challenge is that people don’t have enough time to destress. This can be due to a busy schedule or because they don’t know how to relax in a short amount of time.
We all have those days when it feels like nothing is going right. It can be tough to manage stress and find ways to relax. But, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Stop for a moment, take a deep breath in, and then out. Now, take a seat and read through these 10 mini-stress relievers and self care tips that can each be accomplished in about 5 minutes. You’re doing something good for your mental health, my friend, as well as helping to uplift your mood.
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- 10 Best 5-Minute Self Care Ideas
- Learn to Pay Attention to Your Body
10 Best 5-Minute Self Care Ideas
1 | Get your body moving
Stretch, stand up and walk around, or take a quick brisk walk outside and get some fresh air.
Physical exercise is proven to release endorphins in your body and relieve stress. Whatever you choose, stay in the moment and let all other thoughts leave your head. Remember, it’s just for five minutes but you’ll feel so much better.
2 | Take deep breaths
Taking a few deep breaths is also great for when you need to find your center. Center yourself by sitting down in a chair, closing your eyes and taking deep, calming breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Or, try the technique called box breathing, which is inhaling for four seconds, holding the breath, then exhaling for four seconds. Box breathing may feel strange at first but it will become more natural over time.
Take a few minutes to notice how much better you’re feeling now.
3 | Give yourself a hand massage or a scalp massage
Self care doesn’t have to be extravagant! In fact, many people find that doing something as simple as giving themselves a hand massage for five minutes is a great way to destress.
Take a minute to give yourself a hand massage by squeezing your hands in different patterns and listen to any sounds that they make. The sounds will help you know if your hand massage is too hard, too gentle, or just right.
Or, give yourself a quick scalp massage like this: Gently massage your scalp in a circular motion with the tips of your fingers. Do it for about 2 minutes on each side of your head. Listen to any sounds that are being made and use the sounds as feedback for how hard you should be massaging.
4 | Clean up your space
Can you imagine what life would be like if we kept our work and personal lives separate? Cleaning up around the house or office can feel like a chore but it doesn’t have to be that way. Give yourself a break and just tidy up for 5 minutes.
No deep cleaning here, girlfriend. The idea is to spend just a few minutes to give your area a quick once-over. Save the more involved efforts for another time.
You could also enjoy this time by listening to your favorite song or podcast. It is quite amazing how much better you’ll feel with a tidy work space or home area.
5 | Take a quick shower
When you feel overwhelmed, sometimes all it boils down to is recharging your batteries. Just take a quick shower and let the water wash away your worries.
While in the shower, you could also treat yourself by using some aromatherapy scents like lavender or citrus to help you relax. It doesn’t have to be complicated-just a few minutes in the shower can make all of the difference.
6 | Sip on herbal tea
Take a few moments to enjoy some herbal tea while you catch your breath. Feeling stressed out can cause your breathing rate to increase and this is where herbal teas come in to save the day. Herbal teas can help you feel calm and relaxed after you’ve had a rough day.
Some of the most relaxing herbal teas to drink are chamomile, lavender, or lemon balm. You can also add a little honey to your teas for an extra stress-busting effect.
7 | Curl up with a nice book
If you have moments of self doubt, try curling up with your favorite book for 5 minutes. Read through the pages and imagine yourself as a character in the book. Let your imagination run wild and see where you end up!
Even though it’s just for a short time, the distraction of reading for a few minutes will help relieve your stress and give you a bit of a refresh to continue on with your day.
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8 | Drink a glass of water
Being dehydrated can actually contribute to stress in your life. As a result, drinking a glass of water feels like it relieves your tension right away.
Try these different variations to see which one works best for you: lemon slices or cucumber slices, citrus aromas with mint, chamomile tea with vanilla, or green tea with a hint of mint.
9 | Play with a pet
If you happen to have a pet, this can be one of the greatest stress relievers around. Who doesn’t love an adorable cuddle session or seeing that cute face just waiting for you?
Not only will your pet calm your nerves but they’ll also help show you unconditional love.
10 | Sit and do nothing
Sometimes, we feel like we need to keep moving but try sitting down and doing absolutely nothing. This sounds counterintuitive but it can be quite relaxing and cathartic at the same time. From this point on, just take a deep breath, focus, and spend 5 minutes of peace. Feel the quiet around you and take it in.
Learn to Pay Attention to Your Body
Your body gives you all the feedback that you need. You are your own best friend, so learn to pay attention to your needs. When you feel the stress and tension building up, stop. Know that you are doing what you need to take care of yourself and your mental well being.
Answering these questions will help reinforce the importance of taking time for ourselves:
- What are some things that have stopped me from taking time for myself?
- How does this stress affect my life?
- What can I do to reduce or eliminate stress in my life?
- What is something I can do for myself today, tomorrow, or even this week to reduce my stress levels?
When you have a moment of self-doubt, remind yourself that taking time for yourself is critical to your mental health. It doesn’t matter if it’s 5 minutes or 2 hours; what matters most is doing whatever you can to take time for yourself!
Give yourself some self-care love! Self care is supposed to be relaxing and it doesn’t have to involve spending big bucks or taking up too much time. And, it’s an essential part of a healthy lifestyle including wellness during those difficult times.
If you can find little moments throughout the day to do things like deep breathing, stretching, sipping tea, giving yourself a hand massage, or even taking a short shower, you’ll feel so much better.
These 5-minute self care ideas can help you destress at work or even in your personal life! It may not seem like a lot of time but it will make a noticeable difference for sure.
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