Last time I posted I spoke about fear. Fear is a topic that’s been front and center in my brain, because it’s such a universal experience, with far-reaching consequences. Fear is something that affects all of us to one degree or another, and I’ve personally struggled with it on a high level my entire life. Fear has been behind some of my worst decisions. It sparked a decades-long battle with addiction. It kept me playing small.
Over the last decade, I’ve done a lot of work on myself. I’ve worked hard for my sobriety, worked hard to peel back layers and layers of limiting and damaging beliefs, bad habits, low self-esteem and learned helplessness. I’ve overcome debilitating fear over and over again, but it’s still something I grapple with, and I imagine I always will.
With that said, there are some things I have learned along the way. For example, I’ve learned that my fear is at its most powerful and paralyzing when I am depleted. Depletion is most often the result of a lack of self-care. When my self-care is on point, fear is less overwhelming, intuition is stronger and decision-making is easier. Also, I take challenges and failures far better and recover faster when I’m feeling healthy, strong and nourished physically, spiritually, and emotionally. For me, self-care is my first line of defense in the battle against fear.
Self-Care For The Endlessly Busy, Distracted and Overwhelmed
I realize that self-care is a topic that’s been beat in to the ground but let’s face it: We live in a society that values productivity or even just busyness over taking it easy and slowing down. If you are an entrepreneur or a parent or a caregiver of any kind, there is a good chance you are over-doing it.
Days may go by with you on auto-pilot, caring for everyone and everything but yourself.
“I don’t have time to work out or get a massage or sit and read a book or go to the beach or have lunch with my friends” is what you’ll say.
Okay, fine. Do you have 5 minutes? Good. That’s all you need. If you have a bit more time, stretch that out to 10 minutes. Either way, you can do these things every day and dramatically enhance your life.
*I’m going to on record here and say that I don’t think that time is always what’s behind the lack of self-care, but since it’s often the number one reason listed, let’s just get into the solution around that, shall we? Taking five or ten minutes a few times a day is reasonable. If you’re not in the habit of consciously slowing down with the intention of caring for yourself, you may need some reminding to create the habit. I suggest putting reminders on your phone, or if you’re a planner person, scheduling it in right there with returning phone calls, picking up kids and buying groceries.
Here’s A List Of 11 Things You Can Do That Take 5 Minutes Or Less:
Self-Care doesn’t always mean taking a spa day or even a couple hours. It’s little things that build up. It’s important to make sure that your self-care activities cover the body, mind and spirit alike. I separate them into Spiritual, Physical, Social/Support and Emotional/Motivational.
1. Write A Gratitude List
Gratitude is a life-changing practice. Appreciating and acknowledging the gifts in your life, both big and small is a surefire way to increase contentment and peace. Try to vary your list so it’s not the same thing every day (My family, my health, my home, my job, etc.). Be specific in your list. “I’m grateful for my bed with my soft, fuzzy blanket and clean, crisp sheets. I’m grateful for my steaming cup of rich coffee that I get to sip while chilling in my comfy bed.”
2. Practice A Short Meditation
Download one of the many apps out there that offers short, guided meditations, or search YouTube. There are a ton of them. My two favorite go-to meditation apps are Headspace and Insight Timer. Insight Timer has thousands of free guided meditations, and there are plenty that are just a few minutes. Put your headphones on, sit comfortably and give yourself that space and the gift of meditation.
If you aren’t already meditating I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a game changer.
3. Read Something Inspirational
This could be a daily type book, or a random page open. I do this regularly with a couple of my favorites, I just sit quietly and breath for a minute, and ask to receive the message I need. Then I open up the book and see what I’ve been given.
4. Free Journal For Five Minutes
Dump whatever it is that comes to mind, even if it’s a string of profanities on your lunch break. Keep a small notebook in your bag at all times and take advantage of those little moments when you are sitting in your car, waiting at the doctor’s office or even standing in line.
5. Eat A Healthy Snack
When is the last time you ate? Don’t make me put on my Mom voice. Eat a damn snack. Some almonds, an apple, a protein bar or something else that keeps you from getting all hangry.
5. Get Up And Stretch
If you sit all day, or even if you don’t, a good stretch or even a super quick and gentle yoga flow can help you relax, rejuvenate and get your blood pumping.
7. Go Outside And Walk Barefoot
Getting your bare feet in the grass can quickly ground you and replenish your spirit when you’re feeling anxious or burned out.
8. Drink A Glass Of Water
We are dehydrated more often than we know. If you’re feeling tired, irritable or achy, a big glass of water can help!
9. Call Or Email A Friend
So a five-minute phone call is hard to pull off, but it’s doable. Get on the phone with someone who lifts you up, lights you up or puts up with your shit. Let them know you appreciate them. Call them even if you know they won’t pick up and leave them a voice mail. Send a a sweet email. Or, you can jot down a quick note to someone and give it to them later.
10. Visualize Your Ideal Life
Hold the image in your mind of what it is you dream of. You, walking hand in hand with a romantic partner on a beach in the Maldives, or Practicing yoga in Bali, or driving your dream car down Pacific Coast Highway. Maybe sipping tea on the deck of your dream home. Whatever it is that lights you up and brings a smile to your face. Spend a few moments during your day manifesting it!
You can do this during a break at work, or you can sneak into the bathroom any time during your day. Set the timer for 5 minutes and maybe listen to some uplifting instrumental music (there’s a ton of it on YouTube) while you visualize your dreams, goals and most ideal life.
Note: Don’t do this if you’re not in a good space. Breath, journal, stretch or read instead. Best to do your visualization when you’re already in a calm, positive “lit up” space.
11. Give Someone A Hug
Yep, even if that someone is yourself! If you’re with someone who needs a hug or if you need one — or even if you think you don’t, get one anyway. If you’re with a partner or a friend, exchange five-minute foot rubs. Don’t look at me like that, I’m serious. We need physical contact from other human beings to survive. It’s true.
Bonus: This one doesn’t take more than a couple seconds: Say No.
Say no to Power-Drainers and people who don’t support you. Say no to “just one more little thing” that could be the thing that puts you over the edge. Just Say No.
*Self-care needs to be a part of your daily routine. It should be assigned the same level of importance you give to so many of your other daily tasks, habits and responsibilities. To help you out, I’ve created a printable Self-Care inventory so you can track your self-care activities. You can print it out, or fill it out via Acrobat Reader (Just do “Save As” so you can keep using it!)
Get Your Free Download!
Thanks for stopping by! Please leave me a comment, I would love to get to know you better! And if you think someone else could benefit from this, give it a share.
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