2020 has been…. unusual, if nothing else, for most of us. With a horde of disasters that have plagued the planet in different aspects of our lives, most of us have been in either recovery mode or discovery mode of the many surprises that have come our way.
And yet, while nature seems to be taking a breath of fresh air for what seems to be like the first time in years, a lot of us have also been struggling with the weight of everything that has been going on: at a clearly personal level. Mental impacts of global crises are at an all-time high for people across age and background spectrums and it’s no secret that more and more of us have been feeling the pressure, somewhere or the other.
Well, as much as we hate being the bearers of the bad news that there isn’t much any of us can actually do about it (though we REALLY wish there was), we did a little bit of research so that we could bring to you some quick ways in which you can invest less than 5 minutes at ANY time of the day, to give yourself a little extra attention and a little extra care… so that if nothing else, you’ve allowed yourself to be cared for, for those five minutes.
Without any further ado, here are 5 things you can do in under five minutes to care for yourself:
Drink a Glass of Water
“Wait a minute. Why are you asking me to drink water?” – we hear you asking us. Here’s why: more times than not – and especially when we are not in the best of mental states ourselves, we tend to get so “caught up” in a moment that there is a chance we ignore our most basic needs… like water!
Of course, when we are asking you to drink water, it’s not just about the activity but rather, we hope you pay attention to every sip, every gulp – so that by the time you’re done, you’ve had a quick mental reset from whatever it is, that was potentially bothering you earlier. Oh and though we know water won’t really solve a problem, your body will thank you for the extra hydration and in the long run, your health will be one less thing for you to worry about! Win-win, don’t you think?
Listen to A Song You LOVE
Not just any song… THAT song. You know the one we’re talking about? The one that puts a smile on your face, no matter WHAT? That song. The one that you have a happy memory or maybe even a special reason to remember for! Well, if you’re not in the best of moods or if you’re not feeling your best, listening to a song you absolutely love is the quickest, most low effort way to almost instantly brighten up your mood. Again, doesn’t shoo the problem away, but certainly helps you clear your mind and focus better, once the song is done.
Word of caution if you’re anything like us though: Sometimes, we tend to get a little carried away, jumping from our favourite song to another, and another and another… and before you know it, a few hours have gone by…? Well, if that’s a possibility, we recommend setting a timer to remind you, before you begin, so that you don’t get swept away in your playlist!
Make A List Of 10 Things You Are Grateful For, Right Now
Yes, this year has been pretty awful. There… even the most optimistic ones among us, have said it. Yet, if you really think about it, even 2020 has had a bunch of reasons for us to be grateful for, individually.
Thinking about and making a list of all the things you are grateful for at any point, is a great way to put ourselves back into the groove of some good vibes, because after all, even the most terrible…. How bad can it really be?
So, we suggest either a mental list of everything (and we mean EVERY little thing) that you are grateful for at any point, to watch yourself feel better and better with every passing item in the list! Don’t believe us? Try it yourself!
Step Somewhere for Some Fresh Air
Outside your house? In your garden? In a balcony? At least at your favourite spot by a window? Despite all the restrictions on movement and meeting people, even in the pandemic, we’re sure you know of at least one place where you can safely go and enjoy a long breath of fresh air… and we want to remind you to use it as often as you think you need to.
Just like water, the fact that most of us are home bound in a pandemic means that we forget what fresh air feels like and sometimes, this one thing could make all the difference. So, no matter what your mood is, allowing yourself some access to fresh air that you can breathe safely while still socially distancing might just be the activity you didn’t realise you needed – to lift up your mood!
Practice Focused Breathing
No – focused breathing is not the name of the latest album from home by your favourite musician. Focused breathing refers to mindfully engaging in the activity of breathing and paying attention to the process while you clear your mind of any other thoughts. Sometimes, all we need is a moment of peace and quiet, no matter what the situation is and for those times, instead of holding back, try taking a minute out to get your breathing exercises done.
Find a quiet, comfortable place and position and start breathing in and out deeply, with your eyes closed while internally observing the flow of your breath. As you inhale and exhale, try to bring your focus back to your breathing and your breathing alone and for that time, don’t focus on anything else.
Before you know it, you’ll find yourself far calmer and more relaxed than when you started and this in turn, will help you cope with whatever you are going through, with a far clearer head and a far lighter mind… and sometimes, that’s all we need.
While we are no mental health professionals and if you find yourself in a situation where you could use professional help, we most certainly encourage you to do so, these are some quick things you can do as a pick-me-up on any day or at any time you think you could use an internal boost. As promised, all of these things take just about five minutes to get done with and we really hope you’ll be able to find a way to incorporate these into your routines as often as you can.
Are there any activities or measures you use to keep yourself calm on a day to day basis, especially in the pandemic? We’d love to know.
Until next time!