“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” —Anne Lamott
Last February we did a post on micro–care. We use this term to describe any number of small nurturing things that take five minutes or less—things you can do throughout your busy day. Although this list is different from the one we posted last year, it has the same benefit of creating and increasing energy. You’ll feel better, less stressed, and refocused on what’s important.
You can do these things independently or in conjunction with each other. No matter how busy you are, they’ll support your physical and emotional well-being, recharging your day.
Pause, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Inhale deeply through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Deep breathing slows your heart rate and can lower blood pressure. Imagine your breath bringing oxygen to all your organs. It’s amazing how focused, conscious breathing can fill you with peace.
2. Use Positive Self-Talk
When your inner critic begins to tell you all that’s wrong with you and everything else in your life, don’t listen. After all, it’s more than likely not true, and it’s up to you to recognize what I call your “monkey mind” when it starts doing its thing. The simplest thing to do is not engage.
Move into being loving and compassionate with yourself, just as you would with a friend. From here, positive self-talk will naturally surface.
3. Drink lots of water
Even though I only drink one cup of coffee in the morning, I’ve noticed that when I’m busy, I forget to drink water. It’s subtle, but what a difference it makes in how I feel.
Staying hydrated prevents headaches and promotes mental clarity. Drink water all day!
4. Let Your Thoughts Come and Go
If you hear your thoughts leading you down the path of self-judgment, worry, or negativity, let them be. No need to engage. Before you know it they’ll pass, as that’s the nature of thought.
As you notice them coming and going, rather than taking them as the gospel truth—once again—let them be. You’ll find you get more done and feel less triggered.
5. Move into the Present Moment
When you’re busy, it’s easy to get caught up in all that needs to be done, which increases feelings of stress.
Move into the present, and you’ll engage with what’s in front of you. Tasks will flow with greater ease. And any conversations you have with others will be more open, allowing for deeper understanding. Calm is a result of being present in the moment.
6. Stretch It Out
We mentioned this in our last post on micro-care, but it bears repeating. Every hour or so, stretch your body. Raise your arms over your head, touch your toes, jump up and down. Move your body.
Not only do you get the kinks out, you also release tension.
7. Put the Thing You Want to Do Least at the Top of Your List
There is nothing more gratifying them completing something you didn’t particularly want to do. It opens up the way for more to get done. It also makes the rest of the day fall into place. You can let that one thing go knowing you’ve handled or begun the process, and that can recharge the rest of your day. It’ll also free up mental real estate for other things.
8. Make Self-Honoring Choices
Self-honoring choices are anything that is for your benefit. It’s listening to your true self, and choosing what’s is genuinely best for you.
It can be anything from eating a healthy breakfast instead of donuts, taking time to visit a dear friend, or saying no to something you don’t have time for. Be self-honoring in the choices you make, and then follow through. You’ll find that you have more to give.
9. Smile and Laugh
Laugh everyday. Take pleasure in your relationships. Smile at things that make you happy. Take a break and watch a funny YouTube video. Laughter releases endorphins and makes you feel good.
10. Message Someone You Love
Sometimes just taking a break to connect with someone you love can feel like a mini vacation. Send a text or a quick email. This simple act reinforces the good things in your life.
None of these things take more than a few minutes, and some of them are just about going within and checking in with yourself. Yet all of them lead to pausing, recharging, and getting the most from your day.
We’d love to hear about micro-care that you do throughout your day.