If you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious, practicing some self-care can do wonders for your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Taking a moment or two to take care of yourself can help ease the negative feelings and emotions. For social and environmental activists suffering mental exhaustion and compassion fatigue, this may help to ease the emotional burden.
Juggling an intense workload, study load or family life and only have five minutes to spare? That’s plenty of time to practice some self-care. Here are 15 self-care activities that you can do in five minutes or less.
1. Take a few deep breaths
Taking a few deep breaths can help to reduce your heart rate, relax the body and mind. If you have more time and space, why not do a five-minute meditation? You can go it alone or download a free guided meditation app such as Calm and Headspace.
2. Drink a glass of water
Drinking water is part of any healthy lifestyle as it helps to keep you hydrated, helps to regulate your body temperature and ensure your body is functioning properly. Taking time to drink a glass of water also helps you to slow down.
3. Write a list of things you are grateful for
People who practice gratitude feel more positive emotions and are more resilient when faced with adversity. Taking time to reflect on the things you are grateful for will help to shift your focus from the negative things to the good things in your life; improving your mental health in the process.
4. Light a candle
If you’re at home, lighting a candle will help to set a tranquil tone. This ritual will bring your focus back on the here and now. Lighting your favourite scented candle will also help to improve your mood.
5. Make yourself a warm drink
Whether it’s a cup of herbal tea or a coffee (avoid before bed though, you want to sleep not be up all night!) enjoying a warm drink is like getting a big hug. Take your time, sip it slowly and let your stresses go for the moment.
6. Brush your hair
It’s simple but can be effective when done consciously and intentionally. The act of brushing your hair for a few minutes is like getting a quick head massage, without actually getting a full head massage.
7. Apply a face mask
Face masks and self-care seem to go hand-in-hand as applying a natural face mask at home is like getting pampered at a beauty salon – minus the time or financial expenditure. If you’re making a DIY face mask, you’ll need longer than five minutes so if you don’t have time to spare, save it for the weekend when you do.
8. Have a laugh
Laughter is by far the best and cheapest form of medicine. Watch funny videos of cats, dogs and animals or read silly memes, whatever brings on the chuckle. Laughter reduces stress and triggers the release of endorphins, helping to improve your mood and mental well-being.
9. Listening to music
There is power in music. The right song can uplift, energise and motivate. So play your favourite song and watch your energy levels rise.
10. Just dance
Moving your body while listening to your favourite song can also elevate your mood and helps to destress. If you’re alone, even better; dance like no-one’s watching!
11. Stretch out
If you know how to do some yoga poses great, but if not, doing some basic arm, leg and neck stretches will still do the trick. Your mind and body will thank you for the five-minutes you spend doing this.
12. Take a quick shower
A quick shower will help to awaken the body and help to revitalise you if you’re feeling low in energy. If you really want to step it up a notch, have a cold shower– it’s guaranteed to invigorate your mind and body.
13. Organise yourself
If you living or working in chaos because your space is a mess and it’s directly contributing to your mental anguish and frustration, taking five minutes to organise, tidy and put things away may make all the difference to your mindset.
Writing down your goals can help you focus on the path forward if you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed. Setting goals and writing them down, increases your chances of achieving them as the process provides clarity around what you want to accomplish and the tasks you need to do to reach the goal.
15. Reach out to a loved one
If life is getting too much for you to handle, reach out to a loved one by text, direct message or give them a call. No human is an island, we are social beings and sometimes all it takes is to connect with another human being to help us feel like we’re not alone and that someone cares for us.
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Cover image by Klara Avsenik.