10 THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR YOURSELF IN UNDER 10 MINUTES
Written By: Bridget Murphy, Holistic Health Coach and owner of The Truest You (@thetruesyou)
A challenge many of us face is knowing that we want, and need to make some changes but not knowing how we can add something more into our already jam-packed days. We often fall into the trap of thinking we have to do something indulgent or out of the ordinary to make a difference to our health and wellbeing. While going away on a holiday, going for a massage or going out for dinner with close friends are all great ways to nurture your physical, mental and emotional health, unfortunately they’re not things we can do every single day.
So here are some small things you can do for yourself in under ten minutes. They don’t cost a thing (aside from your time) and when you weave them into your days, you’ll be creating small changes that will last. They’ll give your body and mind a chance to catch up to one another, give your nervous system some much needed TLC and help you to feel more like yourself.
WRITE AN ‘ABSOLUTE YES LIST’
Write down all the things you would say ‘yes’ to without hesitation and start doing these things over time. The things on your list might be big or small. Cost a lot or nothing. Take weeks, an hour or a few minutes. Be on your own or with others. There’s no right or wrong. Notice how you feel when you’re writing this list (I bet it’s different to how you feel when you write your weekly to-dos!).
TURN NOTIFICATIONS OFF
Doing this can take away a lot of distraction and urgency. Turn off as many notifications on your phone as you can. Think of things that make you automatically pick up your phone when you don’t really need to such as, social media alerts, email notifications or news updates. You can check these things at certain times through the day if you have a fear of missing something or need to be contactable throughout the day.
You can do this at any time of the day. You might do it when you wake up, while you’re at work, before you eat lunch, when you get home at the end of the day or before bed. Just do what you feel your body needs at the time. It doesn’t have to be fancy or in a special sequence.
When we’re stressed we hold tension in our mind and body and we become quite rigid. Stretching releases the fascial layer around our muscles (connective tissue) which helps our body to release and let go.
DO A BRAIN DUMP
Grab a piece of paper and write down everything that’s on your mind. Your to-dos, worries, wins, wonderings, questions, feelings- absolutely anything. Don’t worry what it looks like or if it doesn’t make sense. It’s a chance to free up some headspace and process what’s happening. You can tear it up and throw it away once you’re done.
NOTICE YOUR BREATH
Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Close your eyes and notice which hand is moving more. Chances are it’s the hand on your chest as most of us shallow breathe, especially when we have lots happening. Now take three deep breaths and try to get them to flow all the way down to your belly so your ribs expand and your lower hand moves. Now make your ‘out’ breath longer than your ‘in’ breath. If you breathe in through your nose for three seconds, breathe out through your mouth for at least one second more. You can gradually build up.
Try to do breathing breaks throughout the day. You can link it to another habit so that conscious breathing becomes second nature. For example, each time you pick up your phone or before you sit down to eat.
DO A BODY SCAN
Notice how your body feels. Unclench and wriggle your jaw, roll your shoulders forwards and backwards and circle your head around three times in both directions. Where does your body feel open and free? Where does it feel tense and painful? What parts of your body are you most grateful for?
You can also listen to a guided body scan meditation to help you fully focus on your body.
GO ON A SENSORY WALK
Go on a sensory walk or engage your senses wherever you are. It helps to bring you back to the present moment and makes you appreciate what’s around you. You can use the 5-4-3-2-1 method to help you.
Start by looking around and noticing 5 things you can see. Next, 4 things you can hear. Which sounds are close and which ones are further away? What are 3 things you can feel? It might be the sun or cool air on your skin, your clothes against your body or your feet touching the ground. What are 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste? These last two might be trickier but give them a try anyway.
USE POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS
Repeat some positive affirmations. Choose ones that resonate with you and stick with them until you’re ready to choose a new one. You can write these down to remind yourself, pop them in the ‘notes’ section on your phone or even put one as the lock-screen on your phone.
CREATE WHITE SPACE
Leave some white space in your day. This is a time where nothing is planned, there’s no outcome and you do what feels best for you when the time comes around. You can take the chance to simply be, focus on yourself and let your body and mind catch up to one another. You can start with five minutes and build up over time if you’re able to.
NOTICE THE GOOD
Take some time to practice gratitude. A lot of the time we’re rushing around from one thing to the next, always striving to have, be and do more while missing what’s right in front of us. Challenge yourself to say three things you’re grateful for at least once a day. You can do it when you wake up, each time you find yourself waiting at traffic lights or while you’re brushing your teeth.
If you’re a visual person and want to see your pile of good things grow, you can write your ideas on a post-it and pop it in a jar each day. This is great to do in your workplace and at home so people can join in the practice.
So, now it’s over to you. Which one are you going to try today?