If you’re like me, making time for self-care can be challenging. You are always trying to do what’s best for other people, whether that be your kids, spouse, friends, or co-workers. It’s what makes you who you are and what makes you such a loveable person. But do you ever feel that by the end of the day or week that you are totally out of steam? Well, that’s why you need to take time to yourself to recharge or you won’t be as effective when it comes to managing your daily activities, including doing what’s best for those around you. You have to put your oxygen mask on before helping others put on theirs. That’s where self-care comes into play.
We all hear about self-care activities like binging your favorite show on Netflix, having a spa night, or taking a solo-vacation. These sound great, but I sure don’t have that much time on a regular basis. So here’s the good news, you don’t have to spend hours upon hours indulging in self-care. You can reap the rewards of self-care in small, 5-minute bursts!
Here’s my list of 50 quick, 5-minute self-care ideas for a better today:
- Watch a funny animal compilation video on YouTube
- Call a friend and have a quick chat
- Set a timer and meditate (just closing your eyes and breathing deep works too!)
- Take a quick walk to the end of the street and back
- Set a timer, and write down everything you’re grateful for
- Walk in the grass with your shoes off
- Take a different route to work
- Read poetry or a short story
- Put the phone away
- Pick a quick activity from your to-do list, and get it done
- Make your bed, you’ll thank yourself at bedtime
- Listen to a short podcast episode
- Finish this sentence: “I love myself because I __________________.
- Cry, if you need to
- Start a list of good things people say about you
- Write down your goals (the more times you put your goals to paper, the more likely you are to achieve them)
- Find something to donate
- Look at photos of loved ones
- Tell your pet a secret
- Do a quick clean-up of your work area, kitchen, bathroom counter, etc.
- Put motivational post-it notes on your bathroom mirror, in your car, or on your computer monitor.
- Spend time in the sun
- Go to bed early or sleep in late (just 5 minutes can make a difference)
- Do some squats
- Brew a cup of tea
- Play with your pet (or a friend’s)
- Shoot some hoops (even if you’re not good at it)
- Roll it out with a foam roller or tennis ball
- Take a steam (run the hot water in the shower, and sit in the bathroom and breathe it in, add some essential oils if you have any)
- Look up new recipes to add to your weekly rotation
- Build something with Legos
- Buy yourself some flowers
- Read the comics in the paper
- Sing along to the radio
- Brush your hair (really brush it out)
- Swing on a swing set
- Create a playlist of your favorite songs
- Lie down with your feet up the wall
- Look at the stars
- Watch the sunrise or sunset
- Order takeout instead of cooking dinner
- Write a letter (to yourself or a loved one)
- Set a reminder on your phone saying, “You’re doing great! Keep it up!”
- At the end of the day, write a “Win-List” to celebrate the day’s achievements (big and small)
- Cuddle with a loved one (or a pet)
- Visualize your happy place (mountains, sea, wherever you feel happiest)
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is any activity you can do that benefits your emotional, mental, physical, and relational health. Self-care is intended to improve your emotional and physical state. As discussed, it can be something as large as attending a yoga retreat or as small as taking a few deep breaths. The important thing is to choose things that will truly improve your mood and well-being.
Why Is Self-Care Important
Self-care can help you manage stress, negative emotions, and turbulent relationships. Self-care helps you focus on yourself and knowing your worth. When stress starts eating at us it can affect our work and our relationships. Taking some time to yourself gives you the space to reassess your priorities and how best to approach difficult situations, whether you are consciously focusing on these issues or subconsciously, Self-care activities can boost your self-confidence and give you tools to push away negative self-talk. Other activities can help your physical well-being, things like exercising or cooking a healthy meal. Self-care activities will help you be kinder to yourself and, in turn, others. It will give you the tools to handle difficult situations with grace and ease. It will boost your energy and help you focus on your priorities. Self-care will teach you patience, which can be applied in many places in your life — with your kids, with your boss and co-workers, and with people at the grocery store or in traffic. Essentially, self-care will lead you to a positive, healthy lifestyle that will allow you to care for yourself and others.
When Should I Practice Self-Care?
While scheduling time for self-care is important, you don’t want this to be another thing on your to-do list, another chore. If you spontaneously feel the need to go to a yoga class, do it! Put on that oxygen mask so that you can recharge your batteries for whatever comes at you next. If you like to schedule your day, then schedule it in where you see fit. After waking up, before bed, or while you’re driving to and from work are great times to practice self-care.
Do I Have to Practice Self-Care Alone?
Self-care doesn’t always have to be a solo activity. Spending quality time with your spouse or a close friend can definitely be self-care. It’s really about taking a step back from your normal routine and doing something that makes you feel good. Play with your kids (or nieces and nephews) or go to an exercise class with a friend.
Lastly, I’m sure you’ve seen the word “practice” sprinkled throughout this article. That’s because the skill of self-care takes practice. It’s not something that will feel natural to you overnight. Just as you might expect learning ice skating or chess to take time to master, self-care takes time to master as well. Be sure to give yourself a chance to explore different self-care activities and find ones that work for you. Self-care is not one-size-fits-all. Self-care is as individual as you are.
Recommended Book on Self-Care: The Self-Care Solution: A Year of Becoming Happier, Healthier, and Fitter–One Month at a Time https://amzn.to/39bBoMZ