You’re a busy person with big responsibilities. You know you should be taking time out for yourself but you just can’t seem to squeeze it into your schedule. So here are a dozen self-care ideas that take less than 10 minutes.
Self-Care Ideas For When You Don't Have Much Time
No matter how hectic you are, you can find time for at least 1 of these 12 things.
1. Have a shower
Don’t have time for a long soak in the tub? No worries. Hop into a hot shower and let the water wash your worries away. Bonus points if, afterwards you…
2. Slip into something a little more comfortable
My fleecy unicorn pyjamas are my go-to when it comes to feeling comfy and cosy. Once I’m in them, I can’t help but be much more relaxed.
Of course, I work from home, but even if you have to leave the house or interact with others, there are still options. They might be anywhere from slipping off your stilettos to popping a padded cushion on your chair.
When your body feels a lot more comfortable, it’s easier for your brain to relax. Speaking of which…
When you're anxious or stressed, you have a tendency to carry that tension in your muscles. Stop what you’re doing right now and drop your shoulders. See? I bet you didn’t even know they were up around your ears.
Your brain and body have a very symbiotic relationship. When you feel anxious, your body tightens, ready to spring into action or take flight. Similarly, when your body is tense, your brain assumes there’s something to be concerned about so it goes into red alert mode.
Tell your brain to cancel the alarm by stretching out your muscles and joints. Let go of any tension your body feels, and you’ll find your brain follows suit.
This is an odd one but it’s believed that, by chewing, you’re sending a strong signal to your brain that there’s nothing to fear. After all, you wouldn’t be chowing down if you knew danger was just around the corner, would you?
5. Take an extended bathroom break
I love my daughter, but sometimes I need a break from the barrage of conversation and questions.
Maybe I’m lucky but the one place my daughter won’t follow me is to the bathroom. I put that rule in place a long time ago and never wavered on it. Hopefully you, too, can pee in peace.
Sometimes you just need to clear your head and hear nothing but silence for a few minutes. In those instances, bathroom breaks are the quick-fix solution. (In fact, some days I’d wager I spend more time in there scrolling through social media than I do actually using the facilities. Stepping away for those brief moments has avoided many a meltdown in this house.)
If you find yourself on the brink of a breakdown, whether at home or at work, activate ‘bathroom break’ mode and go lock yourself in there for a few minutes until you feel a little better.
6. Engage in a guilty pleasure
Nibble on some dark chocolate after the kids go to bed (or devour the whole damn thing; absolutely zero judgement here), pop on some headphones and listen to some cheesy music at work, or read that romance novel on your commute. Life’s too short to be so serious all the time.
You might have to give the cat a bath (good luck with that), but no-one said you can’t have ABBA blaring in the background.
7. Enjoy a good drink
This is one I personally can’t relate to; I pretty much exclusively drink water. I’m teetotal (yes, yes, I'm still Irish), and I don’t like hot drinks, so alcohol, tea, and coffee are out for me. But I realise I’m the exception to the rule so, if you enjoy them, go for it.
Whip out the good coffee grounds, use the exotic tealeaves, or open that bottle of scotch you’ve been saving. Take a few minutes to truly savour every sip.
8. Get some fresh air
Stepping outside and sucking in a lungful of clean air can calm even the most frazzled of nerves. Even if you can’t go outside, it’s still a good idea to step away from a stressful situation and take a few deep breaths.
Quickly jot down everything that’s on your mind, from the serious to the silly and everything in between. Things swirling around our heads tend to appear much more stormy than they actually are. When you write things down, you start to separate yourself from them and can observe them from a slightly more objective viewpoint.
If your brain is racing, write your thoughts down on paper and see how it forces you to slow down.
I know, I know, you’re not a monk. But meditation has many proven benefits and, the truth is, you don’t have to sit cross-legged and closed-eyed to enjoy them. Sit comfortably in as calm and quiet an environment as you can find, and simply focus on one thing.
Most people like to focus on their breathing, but you might like to listen to a particular sound, like birds singing. Or perhaps you’d prefer to repeat a phrase or affirmation to yourself, either in silence or out loud. Or maybe you could do a quick “body scan” where you start at the soles of your feet and, working your way up, mentally check in with each body part to see how it’s feeling. If it's sore or tight, try relax it or stretch it out. One you reach your head, you should be feeling a lot less tense.
Still a skeptic? I have a beginner’s guide to mindfulness meditation that will soothe even the most cynical of souls. (I should know, I was one of them)
11. Let it all out
Sometimes stepping away and having a good scream or cry is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Letting tension build to boiling point is a terrible idea, so release some of the pressure before you blow your top.
Punch a pillow, run as fast as you can around the block, or make like a toddler and throw yourself on the floor in a screaming and kicking fit. (Best save that one for when you’re alone, though.) Whatever it takes to turn that valve so that you don’t end up in full-on meltdown mode.
12. Perform a random act of kindness
Self-care doesn’t have to be selfish. Sometimes one of the best things you can do for your own wellbeing is to help another human. I know it’s helped me feel much better about myself (which, I guess, is kinda selfish after all).
If you’re stuck for ideas, I’ve listed 17 in this post:
Taking care of yourself should be your top priority. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup. But you’re busy, I get it. While the above are no substitute for a reasonable period of time off, they’ll still help you top up your self-care batteries when you’re running low on energy and equally low on time.
Even the busiest person can carve out 10 minutes in their day, so use your breaks to take care of your wellbeing and you’ll soon be back to your old self again.
Are there any self-care ideas you'd add to this list? Leave them in the comments. 🙂