Finding a few minutes to take care of yourself can be really hard in today’s fast-paced society. Between work, caring for family, and other day-to-day responsibilities, it can feel almost impossible to carve out time for a meal, let alone time to unwind. But what if we told you that taking five minutes to focus on self-care could help you handle life’s stressors with a more present, focused mind?
Self-Care Made Easy-ish
Research has shown that people who routinely take time for self-care are better able to care for others and feel more capable of handling daily life. The good news is that self-care doesn’t have to involve an hours-long process or cost any money. In fact, basic things like eating when you’re hungry, taking a shower, or setting aside a couple of minutes during your commute to focus on your breath all count as acts of self-care. Here’s a list of ways to check in with yourself when life is moving too fast.
1. Try Box Breathing
Research has found that slow, stable breathing calms the heart and blood pressure, may reduce cortisol levels, and helps you focus more clearly. Navy SEALS use box breathing to stay calm and improve their concentration in extremely tense situations. But box breathing can help you stay calm and focused even if you’re having a great day. Also called 444 breathing, the technique involves breathing in for four seconds, holding it for four seconds, breathing out for four seconds, and holding for four seconds. Repeat this process three or four times, and you should feel more focused and centered.
2. Stay Hydrated
Did you know that if you’re thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated? Not drinking enough water can cause headaches, dizziness, brain fog, and fatigue. If you struggle with drinking enough water, try setting the alarm on your phone every hour or look for an app that lets you track how many glasses you drink each day.
3. Nourish Your Body
When you have a go-go-go day, finding time to stop and eat can take time and effort. Taking time to eat helps keep your blood sugar stable and gives you the energy you need to function. If you struggle to find time to cook breakfast, try making some overnight oats with some Bob’s Red Milloats before you go to bed, and you’ll have a nutritious breakfast waiting for you when you wake up. Don’t feel like cooking a big meal after work? Try making a double batch of your favorite dinner when you do have time to cook and freeze it for later in the week. Then you won’t be tempted to swing by the drive-thru on the way home. Ocean State Job Lot has different size food storage containers for every size meal.
4. Write it Down
Sometimes, writing down a busy day’s tasks, adding bill reminders to your monthly calendar, or journaling about something that’s worrying you can help you gain perspective and make things feel more manageable. Daily journaling in a notebook can help boost your mood and give you a sense of control when feeling overwhelmed.
5. Keep Your Makeup Fresh
This one might seem odd to have on a self-care list, but using expired makeup could cause a breakout or worse. According to the Mayo Clinic, expired makeup could harbor bacteria which might put you at risk for infections. Cleaning your makeup brushes regularly with mild soap and water is also wise to prevent bacteria buildup. So how do you know if your makeup is past its prime? Look for a little open jar icon. Next to it should be a number like 6M, 8M, 12M, and so on. That number tells you how many months after opening your product is good for!
6. Get Out!
Outside, that is! A few minutes of fresh air can give you an energy boost, clear your mind, and help you feel calmer. Try to sit outside for a few minutes and soak up some sunshine every day or plan a family hike. Even being mindful of the outdoors when you walk to your car can help you feel more present. Listen for birds or look for buds on the trees. Or start a small garden with just a few plants at first to make it manageable. Taking time to weed and water can become just as soothing as meditation!
7. Move It!
Just a few minutes of exercise can help boost your mood and calm your mind. Stretching, yoga, or a minute of brisk exercise can offer health benefits and boost your energy and mood. We have a large selection of exercise equipment to help you get started.
We hope these suggestions help you feel a little more focused and relaxed throughout the day. Life can feel like a non-stop hamster wheel, but armed with some of these techniques, the day-to-day can be manageable and enjoyable again!