We all need a break from time to time. Our lives can be fast-paced and busy, moving from work to social engagements, from family commitments to chores, and a whole host of other things we have to plan for in our day. It’s important to be able to take a few minutes for yourself, but this can seem impossible when you have so much going on. However, there are ways you can help your mind and body to de-stress and relax in as little as 5 minutes. Read on for some tips to help you quickly unwind in your day-to-day life.
Find your inner peace
Practicing mindfulness and becoming more meditative doesn’t have to be limited to long yoga sessions or wellness workshops. There are ways you can connect with your inner self in short bursts, which will help you regain focus and become more aware of your body’s needs.
1. Visualize your goals
Picturing what you need to achieve, or even how you want to feel versus how you feel now, can help you produce positive changes. It’s not a bad thing to let your mind run and daydream for 5 minutes, as long as it’s productive for you and your state of mind! Positive visualization can help you reinforce your own beliefs and positively impact your self-image.
2. Take slow, full breaths
By connecting with your breath, you’ll become more aware of the present moment, and how you’re really feeling. Most of the day, you’re on autopilot with your body, so you might not realize how often you’re holding your breath, or breathing too quickly. Try breathing exercises throughout the day to help you reconnect with your breath and help you become more aware of your body.
Love yourself and your body
Being pampered feels great – who doesn’t love a massage? While we don’t all have time for a relaxing pampering session in our busy day-to-day lives, we can still find ways to treat our body to special moments and give ourselves a mini session of me-time.
1. Give yourself a massage
If you can’t get someone else to give you a massage, try the next best thing! A quick 5-minute massage for your hands, feet, or scalp can help relieve some tension. Grab your favorite hand cream and spend a few minutes rubbing it into your palms, followed by slowly moving up each finger. Do the same with a moisturizing foot cream, taking time to massage it into your skin until it’s fully absorbed and your feet feel smooth and fresh.
2. Change how you apply your skin care
How many times do you reach for your skin care, and simply rub it into your skin for a few seconds without really thinking about what you’re doing? We’re often on autopilot with our routines, but try to make the most of your time with your skin care, treating yourself to a delicate massage or using ‘tapping’ techniques to help the products absorb and relieve tension. For example, instead of rubbing your eye cream into the skin, try patting it delicately with your fingertips until complete absorption. This will stop you pulling at the skin, and give you just the right amount of pressure.
Look for moments of calm
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, we have to make our own space sometimes. Zoning out from what’s going on around you can be tricky, but if you actively search for spaces where you can be alone, or set aside times where you can get out of your own head, it’ll help you to feel more relaxed during the day.
1. Enjoy a calming cup of tea
Skip the caffeine and boost your sense of well-being with a hot, warming cup of tea (though in summer, enjoying cold herbal tea can be a refreshing treat, too). Not only can a cup of herbal tea help you to relax and unwind, but it can also be a somewhat ‘aromatherapeutic’ experience if you pick a tea with a strong natural scent, such as peppermint or lavender.
2. Get out into the great outdoors
You don’t have to escape to the beach or mountains to make the most of being outside (though it’s certainly a good idea, too). A simple stroll around the neighborhood, or relaxing under the leafy shade of a tree can help to give you a change of scenery. In addition, a quick walk can also give you some exercise, which is good for reducing stress levels.
Research suggests that physical activity and exercise can help improve how your body handles stress, as it triggers chemical messengers in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin which boost overall mood. If you can’t get outside, even just a five-minute burst of exercise at home could help you feel more relaxed and positive!
Ultimately, our minds and bodies are all different, and it’s important to find the best way for you as an individual to relax, as what works for one person may not work so well for another. Whichever way you choose to relax and unwind, just setting aside those 5 minutes for yourself will ensure that you spend time on you and you alone during the day – the most important thing overall.
Sources and references:
Jackson, EM. Stress Relief: The Role of Exercise in Stress Management. In The ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal (May/Jun 2013); Vol. 17, Issue 3:14-19.