We all have those days. Those days where it feels like your to-do list is Mount Everest, your muscles feel less than relaxed, and you’re finding it hard to organize your thoughts. It’s time to take a (meaningful!) five minute break. And since we know how busy you are, we put together a little how-to guide to make those five minutes count!
Feeling overwhelmed and unable to focus? It’s time to unplug. Turn off your phone, laptop, ipad, or any other devices.
Sometimes our full integration with our devices, internet, and social media can become overwhelming. With constant internet access, it’s easy for work to creep it’s way into time that should be spent relaxing at home or enjoying friends and family. And whether we like to admit it or not, social media has been shown to have draining effects and leave us feeling less satisfied with our own lives.
Put your electronics on silent and find somewhere you can stow them while you unplug. Getting the electronics out of sight will help you feel less inclined to check them. By doing so it will be easier to separate yourself completely.
Pour yourself a glass of water or brew yourself a relaxing cup of tea. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day and often we are so busy that we will forget to simply give ourselves time to drink water.
Water serves so many vital functions in our bodies, it’s important to make sure we drink enough throughout the day to keep ourselves healthy. Try to drink eight 8 ounces glasses of water a day.
If you’re struggling to drink enough water throughout the day, try planning out a water-drinking schedule! It may seem strange but it’s an effective way to keep yourself hydrated. Try something like this:
Wake up–cup of tea or warm water with a lemon slice
Before leaving the house–cup of water with mint or parsley (refreshing!)
Before lunch–cup of water
Afternoon–a cup of water (try adding some fruit!)
Before dinner–cup of water
Before bed–cup of relaxing tea (make sure it’s caffeine free!)
Making a schedule for drinking water will make you feel more obligated to hydrate, as it can fit right into your to-do list.
Sit Up and Breathe
Notice your posture. Are you sitting hunched over a laptop? Are you slouching? Take a moment to sit up, straighten out your back, and roll your shoulders back to open up your chest and bring more oxygen into your lungs. .
Focusing on your breathing results in deeper breathing. Deep breathing yields benefits such as reducing stress, allowing for muscle relaxation, providing more oxygen to the bloodstream, and can improve focus. Try this simple breathing exercise often used at the beginning of yoga practice to bring awareness to the breath and slow your breathing.
- Breathe deep and focus on your breath. Focus on making your breaths deeper and more slow, holding your breath for a few seconds before exhaling
- Breathe in through the nose for 8 seconds
- Hold your breath for 1 second
- Exhale out of your mouth for 8 seconds
- Repeat this process, but hold your breath for 1 second longer each time, maintaining the 8 seconds for the inhale and the exhale.
Breathe for as long as you need. You’ll start to notice the deeper breathing filling more space in your lungs and increasing cognitive clarity after just a few moments.
Please note that you shouldn’t be making yourself sick or dizzy. Listen to your body and respect its boundaries. Slow down or lower your second count if you start to feel uncomfortable.
Move Your Body
Now that you’ve gotten some oxygen in your bloodstream it’s time to get moving! Go on a quick walk, do a little dance, or take a moment to stretch.
A brief bout of exercise gets endorphins flowing and increases blood flow. This is the perfect pick-me-up for the mid-afternoon slump and trumps coffee any day! Depending on where you are and what you’re doing, you may have more or less freedom to go on a walk or do some quick yoga poses, so just give yourself a few minutes to move in whatever way you please.
This step is so simple and so effective.
It’s easy to lose sight of the important things in life when our schedules get so busy and cluttered. This is why it’s vital to ground yourself and express gratitude for the things that are already in your life, as opposed to how we often express longing towards the things that aren’t in our lives.
Take a moment to jot down 3 things you are grateful for. Anything counts, as long as you can sincerely generate gratitude towards it. Reflecting on these moments of gratitude has been shown to increase overall happiness and help to cultivate a more positive attitude.
What are your favorite ways to take five minutes to yourself? Let us know in the comments!