Last Updated on July 20, 2020 by Ash
Self-care doesn’t have to be time consuming. In fact, there are plenty of quick self-care ideas that take 5 minutes or less but are still highly effective.
Of course, there’s a time and a place for taking an hour, a day or even an entire weekend to focus solely on self-care. In fact, I highly encourage taking out your self-care box and doing that from time-to-time.
However, the fact is that we don’t always have the luxury of spending hours on self-care. That’s where quick self-care activities come in.
We can all find 5 minutes in our day to practice self-care. And if your day is so busy you feel you can’t even spare 5 minutes, then I’d encourage you to set your alarm 5 minutes earlier in the morning – trust me, it will be worth it.
Table of Contents
- 20 Quick Self-Care Ideas That Take 5 Minutes Or Less
- #1 – Meditate
- #2 – Perform a Self Massage
- #3 – Light a Scented Candle
- #4 – Journal
- #5 – Repeat Affirmations
- #6 – Do a Social Media Purge
- #7 – Change Your Bed Sheets
- #8 – Go For a Walk Outdoors
- #9 – Hug a Tree
- #10 – Brush Your Teeth With Activated Charcoal
- #11 – Read a Book
- #12 – Perform Some Double Breathing
- #13 – Drink a Glass of Water
- #14 – Tidy a Cluttered Area
- #15 – Plan Your Weeknight Meals
- #16 – Do a Face Mask
- #17 – Do 50 Squats
- #18 – Plan a Fun Weekend Date
- #19 – Write Down What You’re Grateful For
- #20 – Cuddle Your Pet
20 Quick Self-Care Ideas That Take 5 Minutes Or Less
#1 – Meditate
The benefits of meditation are vast and scientifically proven. Perhaps the most common reason people meditate is to reduce stress and decrease anxiety, which makes meditation one of the best self-care practices you can perform.
A short meditation session can have a lasting impact on your overall sense of wellbeing – try this 5-minute meditation when you’re short on time.
#2 – Perform a Self Massage
A massage is one of the ultimate forms of self-care. For those times you can’t visit a massage therapist, try performing a self massage instead. Watch the video below for a quick and easy self-massage tutorial for relieving neck stiffness.
#3 – Light a Scented Candle
Enjoying the ambience and aroma of a scented candle is an easy, effective way to practice self-care when you have limited time.
Recently, I lit one of my favorite scented woodwick candles and stood in front of it for a few minutes, just watching the flame. I immediately started to feel a wave of relaxation flow over me. It got me thinking – why are candles so relaxing?
The low, ambient light provided by a candle’s flame is relaxing and calming. Think about your favorite fancy restaurant – there’s a good chance that they have a candle on the table and they certainly don’t have glaring, fluorescent lights overhead – they want to create the perfect ambience for their patrons.
In addition to the ambient light and mesmerizing flicker of a candle’s flame, the scent of the candle itself can provide therapeutic benefits. Scented candles can assist with relaxation, help to reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calm.
#4 – Journal
When someone mentions “journaling” it might evoke images of an angst-filled teenager angrily writing about how annoying her teacher is. And yes, I’m sure that plenty of teenage girls are doing exactly that right now. But journaling isn’t just for teenage girls.
Journaling is simply the act of writing down your emotions, thoughts and feelings. It provides a safe space for you to express yourself, manage your emotions more effectively and increase your mindfulness.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, some benefits of journaling include:
- Helps you manage anxiety
- Reduces stress
- Helps you cope with depression
#5 – Repeat Affirmations
Repeating positive affirmations can be an effective way to reprogram your mind, replacing negative and self-sabotaging thoughts with positive ones.
#6 – Do a Social Media Purge
When you scroll through social media, how do you feel? Do you find yourself feeling envious of others? Do you feel anxious or upset?
If so, take a few minutes to unfollow anyone who doesn’t provide a positive benefit to your life.
#7 – Change Your Bed Sheets
When is the last time you changed your bed sheets? If it was more than one week ago, it’s time to wash them, according to experts.
Dirty bed sheets expose you to bacteria, fungi, pollen and animal dander and can trigger eczema and dermatitis. Plus, it just feels nice to sleep in clean sheets, so go ahead and spread some fresh sheets.
#8 – Go For a Walk Outdoors
In Japan, there’s something called “Shinrin-yoku” or “forest bathing,” which is the practice of immersing yourself nature and reaping the therapeutic benefits.
Ever noticed how refreshed and calm you feel after spending time in nature? Spending time outdoors is a great stress reliever and has proven benefits including reducing the risk of:
- Type II diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Premature death
- High Blood Pressure
#9 – Hug a Tree
While you’re taking a short walk outdoors, go ahead and hug some trees.
In Iceland, the Icelandic Forestry Service recommends hugging trees if you’re unable to hug people, but personally, I think we should still be hugging trees even if we CAN hug other people.
So next time you’re out enjoying nature, find a tree, put your arms around it, close your eyes, breathe deeply and enjoy embracing nature, both physically and mentally.
#10 – Brush Your Teeth With Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal tooth powder has countless dedicated fans (myself included) – it’s an excellent way to naturally freshen your breath and whiten your teeth in minutes. From my own experience, you can visually see the difference in your teeth after just one brush, with the effects being even greater the longer you use it.
Not all activated charcoal tooth powders are created equal, though. It’s important you choose a brand made with natural, organic ingredients and no non-essential additives. The brand I use and recommend is Living Earth Black Pearl Teeth Whitening Powder.
#11 – Read a Book
Ask any bookworm and they’ll tell you how incredible it feels to lose yourself in a good book. And according to Healthline, reading books has a whole host of benefits including:
- Increased empathy
- Greater vocabulary
- A reduction in age-related cognitive decline
- Reduced stress
- Helps alleviates depression symptoms
- Can help you to live longer
#12 – Perform Some Double Breathing
If you’re feeling sluggish, double breathing is a yoga breathing technique that can help to make you more alert and increase your energy levels.
Double breathing isn’t complicated – watch the following video for an easy-to-follow demonstration:
#13 – Drink a Glass of Water
Our bodies are made of about 70% water – it’s literally the source of life and without it, we’d quickly die.
In addition to keeping us alive (which is pretty important…) water helps circulation, reduces constipation, helps rid our body of toxins and can assist with weight loss.
Make sure you’re drinking enough water everyday. The amount you should drink varies based on a variety of factors, including exercise, environment and health, but according to Mayo Clinic, 8 glass a day is a reasonable figure to shoot for.
#14 – Tidy a Cluttered Area
Clutter is bad for your physical and mental health, so consider taking some time to declutter an area of your living space.
A good place to start might be your bedside table – after all, it’s one of the first things you see when you wake up in the morning, so it’s a good idea to keep it clutter-free.
5 minutes is enough time to throw out any trash, put away any misplaced items and do a quick wipe over.
#15 – Plan Your Weeknight Meals
No doubt you’ve heard the famous Benjamin Franklin quote, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Instead of winging it each night and ending up spending too much money on unhealthy takeout, take a few minutes to write out weeknight meal plan.
You’ll save money, consume less calories and reduce your stress levels.
#16 – Do a Face Mask
Give yourself a relaxing, spa-like experience at home with one of these bentonite clay mask recipes. Bentonite clay is a natural, relaxing way to practice self-care, while deep cleansing your skin and detoxing from chemicals and pollutants.
This Aztec Clay face mask only has 1 ingredient – 100% natural calcium bentonite clay and will get your skin feeling soft, fresh and clean in as little as 5 minutes.
#17 – Do 50 Squats
Get those glute muscles firing by doing 50 squats (or more if you can) in 5 minutes. Squats build your leg muscles – quadriceps, hamstrings and calves – and your glutes, but they also improve core strength, boost calorie burn and help prevent injuries, making them the perfect quick workout.
#18 – Plan a Fun Weekend Date
Give yourself something to look forward to this weekend by planning a fun weekend date – alone or a with a friend or loved one.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money (or any money) to have a fun weekend date. Here are some ideas:
- Read each others tarot cards (here are 3 simple tarot spreads for beginners)
- Go for a hike
- Play a board game
- Go to the beach
- Have a Netflix marathon
- Take your dog to a dog park
For even more ideas, check out this list of interesting things to do.
#19 – Write Down What You’re Grateful For
Writing down what you’re grateful for is one of the most important quick self-care activities you can do.
According to UC Davis psychologist and gratitude expert Dr Robert Emmons, keeping a gratitude journal “allows you to see your gifts in life as new and exciting, and helps you stop taking things for granted.”
You can use a simple notebook to write down what you’re grateful for or you can use a purpose-designed journal like the Panda Planner.
#20 – Cuddle Your Pet
If you’re fortunate enough to have a pet, spend some time cuddling up – it’s good for both of you.
Cuddling your pet not only increases your bond, it also increases oxytocin levels – often referred to as the “love hormone” in both of you. Oxytocin reduces stress and anxiety and inhibits cortisol production, the “stress hormone.”
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