5 Minute Self-Care Techniques
This is part two in my series about ways to take care of yourself in just 5 minutes. You can find my last post here, which shows you how to use a portable art kit, and simple doodling methods to relax and re-energize. This week I want to talk about your self-care attitude, and a two more methods for quickly and happily lowering stress and anxiety.
Visualization for Stress Relief:
This is a five minute guided visualization. Sometimes getting your own thoughts to quiet down can be a challenge, so having a guide may help you more easily reach a relaxed state.
Grab a rock, leaf, stick, or other natural object, and gaze at it for 5 minutes. Take it in with all your senses. How does it feel? Is it bumpy, smooth, flat, hard, or soft? Does it have a scent? See how much you can notice in the details – what are the color variations, patterns, and irregularities?
Self-Care Is an Attitude
You are really busy, right? I get it. Your job is demanding. You have a partner, husband, kids, pets, and meetings to attend. I have to break it to you though, good self-care is not about your life finally slowing down all by itself. It’s not going to happen.
Self-Care is an attitude.
Yes, I am giving you permission to have an attitude. Despite what you may have been told, taking care of yourself is not selfish, or self-centered, it’s wise! There’s a difference between making sure your needs are met and fulfilling your every whim and desire at the expense of others.
When you prioritize yourself, suddenly little things shift, no matter how much responsibility is on your shoulders. You make self-care happen, because it’s non-negotiable. It means that you know if you don’t take care of your physical, spiritual, and mental needs, sooner or later you will pay the price. You may not be able to see it now, but the people you take care of will feel the difference when you have taken care of yourself first.
A retreat, regular ladies night out, or massage may or may not be realistic given your time or financial situation, but you can make 5 minutes for self-care everyday. What’s one small, relaxing thing that you could do to let go, or recharge your batteries? Here’s two methods I like for releasing stress and anxiety:
What are your go-to ways to de-stress or relax when you are on the go? What are your challenges with reducing anxiety and stress? What was your experience with the guided visualization or the gazing meditation? Make 5 minutes for you to relax today, and tell me how it goes in the comments section.
Title Image Credit: 123rf.com:devas Stone Image Credit: Copyright: 123rf:stillfx
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Great post, Amy! Both posts really hit home with me about my need to take some time for me every day, and what great suggestions about how to do it. Thanks for the visualization, too, great idea!
Thanks for dropping by! I especially appreciate this comment coming from you given the work you do in meditation. Meditation and visualization during pregnancy sounds like a wonderful way to relax and connect. I’m so glad that you have found the 5 minute self-care techniques useful. I think for moms especially, having tools to relax in short time periods is so helpful. I also find that feeling that you have permission to take care of yourself is key. It’s that self-care attitude – without it, you will always come last.
I’m so glad you have made some time for you and I’m so curious if you have made any art?!
All the Best,
It is amazing to listen to the visualization as you go through the exercise. My question is how do you work with others who has trouble visualizing? Sometimes one may not be able to focus for 5 minutes at a time. Thanks for your time.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, it’s a great question. It sounds like you must have some tips of your own to share with us? Please do! When I see clients in the office, I definitely do have folks who struggle to visualize or focus for very long. For these folks, I am curious what you have found, but here’s what I would do. First, because I now work with largely high functioning teens and adults, I have the luxury of working in a highly collaborative way that is very empowering and usually quite effective because the client is helping to tailor the intervention to their particular needs.
I do this by offering choices – for example, we could do a visualization for the beach or under a tree, which one appeals to you more? Or, if someone is feeling overwhelmed with the idea of closing their eyes and visualizing, we talk together through ways of making it feel safer. These options might include holding a heavy stone or using a weighted lap blanket to create a sense of grousing, focusing on a point on the floor if closing their eyes feels to scary, etc.
I also use other mindfulness techniques that a lot of people enjoy, and that are a good alternative to visualizations. One is power doodling to music. You can find zillions of patterns on http://www.zentangle.com. I find it’s the most relaxing when people do it to some music that’s not too fast or too slow either without words, or in a language the client doesn’t speak. This seems to help the music set a mood without being distracting. Doodling is a great activity because it’s so easy, anyone can do it, and it can be very mindless, allowing the brain to get into that drifting space that is so important for overall health and well-being.
The other technique that I frequently use is called 3-2-1. People use this in different ways, I have also seen it as 5-4-3-2-1. I find 5 to be too long for some folks. So the idea is to focus on things you can see, hear, and physically feel. So in round 1, the client names 3 things she sees, 3 things she hears, 3 things she physically feels. In round 2 she names 2 things in each category, and in round 3, she names 1 thing in each category. The idea is to name all different things in each round. It’s such a successful grounding and mindfulness technique.
I hope some of these spark some ideas for you, Annmarie, but please do tell us, what works for you?
Thanks so much for stopping by!