You may think that as an incredibly busy educator there is absolutely no way you can take time off for self-care. Good news – you totally can!
That is because self-care doesn’t always have to be a big event that requires tons of planning and a big chunk of time and money. In fact, meaningful self-care can happen in just 5 minutes or even less!
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Below you will find a giant list of 50 self-care activities that can be done in 5 minutes or less. I suggest that you go through the list and pick out the ones that sound the most appealing. Incorporate them into your day by:
- Scheduling them in your planner
- Adding them in at natural breaks in your day (e.g.: after breakfast, as soon as the kids go to recess, during my drive home, just after brushing my teeth, etc.)
- Setting alarms on your watch to remind you to do a given self-care activity.
- Keeping a list handy for whenever you have a few spare moments.
Even a few minutes can make a difference
If you are wondering how 5 minutes can make any kind of difference, it turns out that small breaks for self-care can impact your day in significant ways.
A self-care break can help you to calm down when you are feeling overwhelmed. It can shift your mood when you are feeling annoyed, irritated, or blue. In addition, it can boost your energy level, give you a sense of balance and help you to connect to yourself. All good things that you can have just by spending 5 minutes doing an activity you enjoy.
You would honestly be crazy not to give some of these a try.
Got 5 minutes?
- Just breathe – slowly and deeply for at least one minute. If you have an Apple watch, you probably even have a built-in app to support this activity. Stop ignoring it and breathe!
- Use music – a calming song to relax, a happy song to lift your mood, or put on something with a good beat and have a mini-dance party.
- Take a quick walk, ideally outside
- Wash your face. Bonus: add a scrub or mask.
- Give yourself a quick massage – scalp, earlobes, neck, hands, or feet.
- Doodle or color
- Drink a glass of water, tea, or wine.
- Pet your dog, cat, guinea pig, parakeet, turtle, iguana – whatever you’ve got.
- Water your plants (and talk to them)
- Light a candle and watch the flame.
- Jot down your feelings in your journal. Not really into journaling? Try this one.
- Crochet or knit
- Listen to a podcast or audiobook. The Moth is a great one for short stories told live.
- Write a question for yourself. It could be as simple as, “How are you feeling?” Then write a response using your non-dominant hand. You might be surprised at the answer.
- Mindfully eat a piece of fruit. No distractions. Focus on the flavors, textures, and aromas.
- Read something that reflects positively on you or your work. For me, it is often comments left on this blog or on my TpT products. For you, it might be a note from a student or parent, a stellar observation, or even a text from a friend.
- Google “Inspirational Quote” or search #inspirationalquotes on Instagram. Find one that speaks to you.
- Look at photos on your phone (Pro tip: make an album of pictures that are guaranteed to make you smile).
- Make a list of 10 things you are grateful for.
- Look at the clouds and let your mind wander.
- Mentally go over your day so far, looking for the wins. Celebrate each one.
- Think about something fun that you have planned in the days ahead. Enjoy the anticipation.
- Take a quick reading break – a novel, a magazine, or the blog you are reading right now (there’s a lot more to explore!)
- Send a text to a friend expressing how your feel about them, gratitude for something they’ve done, or just give them a compliment.
- Watch funny videos on Youtube or TikTok.
- Pray or meditate.
- Snuggle your spouse/significant other/current romantic interest…
- Eat a piece of dark chocolate (70% or more) by letting it melt on your tongue for 60 seconds. Letting it melt will not only extend the experience and help you to better taste the chocolate but according to Prevention Magazine, will also boost one of the nutrients in the chocolate so you feel the effect more. Sadly, I can’t remember what that nutrient is or the effect it has, nor can I find the article online, and I don’t have the magazine anymore, so you’ll just have to trust me on this.
- Give your eyes a makeover – different color eye shadow, more mascara, dramatic liner. Bonus points: show off your new look. Feeling shy? No worries, we’re all wearing masks these days. No one will even know who that mysterious woman with the stunning eyes even is.
- Smell something good – fresh flowers, baked goods, herbs, a scented candle.
- Start at your scalp and work your way down to your toes, relaxing each muscle as you go. Stay in this relaxed state for a minute or two.
- Roll your head from side to side, then shrug and roll your shoulders.
- Make an origami crane.
- Rearrange your desk, a counter, or a display shelf.
- Use your phone to take a picture of something. Bonus: make something ordinary look extraordinary.
- Browse recipes online.
- Moisturize – use your favorite product.
- Play a musical instrument. No musical talent whatsoever? Get yourself one of these drums. They are fun to play and sound beautiful and calming even if you are just randomly hitting parts of it.
- Find something in your home to donate or gift to your local Buy Nothing group.
- Watch your favorite scene only in a movie that you love. Some of my favorites: The “Big Mistake, huge,” scene in Pretty Woman, The Maj Jong scene and/or the airplane proposal in Crazy Rich Asians, The airplane scene in The Wedding Singer, ”No one puts baby in a corner,” Dirty Dancing, Any scene from Hamilton that does not include Philip. Zsu Zsu’s petals in It’s a Wonderful Life.
- Use a hula hoop, pogo stick, trampoline, balance board, or juggling balls.
- Read a poem, like this one, or this one or this one.
- Write a haiku or limerick.
- Watch birds, squirrels, bunnies, or ants.
- Watch part of a TED talk. Here is a playlist to motivate your best self.
- Read a Strange Planet comic. They are charming and make me feel like there may yet be hope for humanity.
- Play a game on your phone.
- Sing (in the car by yourself if you are shy).
- Do something for your near-future self. Write yourself a note and hide it in the book you are reading. Change your sheets. Pick out tomorrow’s clothes. Tuck a piece of (wrapped) candy into your jacket pocket. Your future self will thank you for it.
Now, you have this giant list.
You can surely find 5 minutes.
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