5 Minute Self Care

self care by psychotherapist analisa jayasekera liminal space counseling

These days, people find themselves busier than ever.  We are working longer hours than previous generations and more than any other industrialized nation.  Additionally, we have our offices in our pockets 24/7 in the form of smartphones buzzing and beeping.   It is very important to practice good self-care habits in order to maintain good health, reduce stress, and increase happiness.  I define self-care as any activity that is done with the intention to reenergize oneself while addressing components of physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.  Self-care looks different for everyone because we come with different personalities and interests.  For some, self-care is meeting a friend to talk over coffee, for others it’s finding a quiet space to read and journal

If you have not figured out what self-care is for you, try out different things and reflect on whether or not they give you energy or make you feel depleted.  Your self-care habits may change depending on what’s going on in your life.  Maybe when you were in college, self-care was going to a group zumba class.  But now that you have little ones that cry in the gym childcare, your self-care is meeting another mom and drinking coffee while the kids play. 

There are some days or some seasons in life where you may find that your time to devote to self-care is very limited for whatever reason.  Self-care does not always have to be an entire day at the spa or a three-hour workout.  You can squeeze moments of self-care in throughout your day and get replenished even when you are only devoting small chunks of time to it here and there.

There are a lot of times throughout our days where we are waiting in line, waiting to pick someone up, driving from place to place, or just in between tasks or appointments.  Often times these minutes pass with us mindlessly scrolling through our phone or stressing out about the next to-do.  But you can recapture these minutes and devote them to self-care.  By making the effort to invest five minutes here and there to self-care, you will begin to see big payoff in your overall health and wellbeing.

what is self care ideas by psychotherapist analisa jayasekera

Here are some quick 5-minute self-care ideas:

  • Take five minutes to mindfully enjoy your coffee by a window.  Notice the taste and smell and feel the warmth of the cup in your hands. 
  • Stuck in traffic?  Use the time to listen to you favorite music, a new podcast, or audiobook you enjoy. Practice gratitude by being thankful that you had some time to listen.  
  • Light a scented candle while you are making dinner or folding laundry. You don’t have to save candles for special occasions, enjoy them in your everyday moments and notice the smell.   Smells can evoke great memories and feelings of happiness. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, writes about the importance of smell to our vitality and enjoyment
  • Take the time to put on some nice lotion and notice the smell of it and how great your skin feels.  Take some deep cleansing breaths.
  • Have somewhere to be soon but you don’t have to leave quite yet?  Instead of using the time to add a few dishes to the dishwasher, do a few stretches or some yoga poses to reenergize yourself.  The dishes can wait.
  • Do you have a desk job where you are sitting a lot?  Set a timer and every 45 minutes or so, take five minutes to stand up and move around and take care of your body. 
  • If you love to read but find you never have time, carry a book with you or have a go-to book on your phone.  When you are waiting in line or parked in the car waiting to pick someone up, use the time to read a few pages.  You may be surprised how quickly you can finish a book when you spend your waiting time reading instead of checking Instagram. 
  • Do you find yourself getting sucked into the black hole of the internet?  I open my computer to look up one thing and then a half hour later I’ve gone down some rabbit hole and forgot what I was going to look up in the first place!  Well there are some ways to help combat this.  Rescue time is an app that keeps track of your time spent online.  https://www.rescuetime.com  Why not set the timer the next time you are web surfing and leave some extra time that you would have spent online to self-care instead?  You could take some time to call a friend and catch up, get outside for a walk, or make an easy recipe you have been waiting to try.  

Getting in good self care does not have to mean you set aside half the day for it.  You can work it in in brief increments throughout your day and notice great benefits.  What are some of your suggestions for five minute of self-care? Let me know in the comments below!