13 Ideas You Can Do in Under 10 Minutes
It’s that thing you know you should do (and desperately want to!), but you can never seem to find the darned time for. That’s why we knew you’d love this: The Self-Care Habits for Busy People mini guide.
Because, when it comes to making time for ourselves, the struggle is real. There’s a common misconception, though, that self-care needs to be this long, involved ritual for it to have any impact.
In actuality, even small chunks of time spent practicing self-care can create big internal shifts for you.
In an article on the importance of self-care, Psychology Today shared that mindfulness experts suggest dedicating even 10 minutes a day to self-care can positively affect our mental health.
We all lead busy lives but who among us can’t afford to spend a measly 10 minutes on ourselves—especially if that 10 minutes could make a world of difference in how we feel and show up in the world?
(And sidenote: the busier you are, the more crucial it is to create space for self-care.)
13 Ways to Fit Your Self-Care Routine In Fast
If you’re feeling challenged to fit “you time” into your already busy days, here are 13 simple, yet powerful self-care habits you can do in 10 minutes or less.
1. Recite Affirmations
One of the easiest ways we can practice self-care is by speaking to ourselves in a loving and kind way. Consider this: you could splurge on a pampering spa day, grab brunch with friends, or start a new hobby or class you’ve been wanting to try out (all great self-care options, of course!).
But if, at the end of the day, your inner voice is whispering things like, “You shouldn’t have done that. You don’t deserve to put attention toward yourself.” Or “God, why did you mention that [insert embarrassing story]? You are so annoying and stupid.” Or “[insert whatever other negative self-talk you might be engaging in]”…those other forms of self-care will have been in vain.
If you struggle with negative self-talk, affirmations can help you break unhealthy thought patterns and create a new belief system anchored in positivity.
If you’re unfamiliar with affirmations, they’re positive statements that affirm how you want to feel or show up in the world.
Here’s a quick 10-minute affirmation routine you can do:
Step 1: Think of a positive statement that aligns with how you want to feel/be. If you’re having trouble thinking of something, try Googling “positive affirmations” or doing a search on Pinterest or Instagram.
Step 2: Once you have an affirmation in mind, recite it to yourself aloud at least five times (feel free to do more if your heart desires).
Step 3: Write the affirmation down at least five times (again, feel free to write it as many times as you want…the act of writing helps to ingrain the new positive intention into your brain).
Affirmations are an especially useful practice to incorporate into your morning routine to set the tone for your whole day. In fact, there are tons of affirmation decks available to buy (hello Amazon Prime) that you can place around your home and work space as mini-reminders to motivate, inspire, and center you. There are even mobile apps you can use if you prefer paperless options.
Make affirmations a cherished daily habit and we promise, those words will soon become unconscious beliefs!
Mindfulness meditation is another practice that can be done in just a few minutes and can change the course of your entire day.
Meditation focuses your attention on self-awareness in the present moment, making it an excellent self-care activity to help ease stress and anxiety and promote feelings of calm. In addition, research indicates that practicing mindfulness can improve sleep, reduce blood pressure, and even help manage chronic pain and certain health conditions.
You can practice meditation anywhere you can find a quiet, distraction-free space to sit or lie down and be still. You can perform a self-guided body scan meditation or if you prefer a little more support, there’s a wealth of mobile apps that offer short, guided meditations you can do in just 5-10 minutes. (A few of our favorites apps are: Calm, Headspace, and Ten Percent Happier).
3. Get Outside
Ever notice how much better you feel when you head outdoors? No, it’s not just in your head. Getting outside, especially right when you wake up in the morning, has been said to help improve focus and mental clarity, and inspire you to make healthier choices throughout the day.
Plus, soaking in some sunshine (and vitamin D) can do wonders for improving mood and boosting energy. Even 5-10 minutes of sun exposure can offer positive benefits. So put some sunscreen on, set a timer for ten minutes, and head outside to do some cloud gazing.
4. Connect With a Loved One
Social self-care is an important, and often overlooked, type of self-care. We humans need connection and in this increasingly online world we’re living in (hello, remote workforce!), many of us don’t get nearly enough.
Check out this NBC article to learn more about why we’re wired for connection and why being around other people makes us healthier.
Think of the people in your life who are comforting, supportive, and uplifting (stay away from toxic energy-suckers!) and take ten minutes to connect with them.
Here are a few ideas:
- Have a quick phone touch-base with your mom.
- Ring up your bestie for an impromptu facetime chat.
- Surprise your significant other with a meaningful text.
- Drop in on your next-door neighbor to catch up.
- Plan a weekend away with family or friends.
5. Engage Your Senses of Sound & Smell
If you only have a few minutes, here’s a fast way to mellow out:
Put on some music to match the way you want to feel (music has been shown to offer a multitude of positive psychological effects). Try classical music if you just want to relax, spa music if you’re going for a zen frame of mind, upbeat jazz if you want to feel energized, Beyonce if you want to feel powerful, or (our personal favorite) Flo Rida if you just want to smile.
Next, light a candle, some incense, or diffuse some essential oils into your space to match the mood you’re going for (Psychology Today shares that scent is closely tied to human emotion). For instance, you might diffuse lavender or frankincense to relax or wild orange if you want to feel happy.
The combination of soothing sounds and scents will help balance your mood in no time.
6. Tidy a Space
When your physical space is cluttered, your mind can feel cluttered and anxious as well. So pick a space that’s been bothering you, grab a garbage bag and a dust cloth, and set a timer to declutter as much as you can in ten minutes. It doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but you’ll be surprised by how much you can accomplish!
7. Breathe & Stretch
Studies have shown that breathing exercises can improve our brain health, increase positivity, decrease our emotional reactivity, and much more. If you’re feeling particularly anxious, combining breathing and stretching exercises can help you feel much more relaxed.
Most often, we think of the physical benefits of stretching, but there are also several mental benefits.
- Decrease tension
- Improve sleep
- Increase blood flow and circulation
- Decrease stress
To begin, set a timer and spend a few minutes taking slow, deep breaths. Then follow it up with a quick stretching routine. If you prefer, you can also do a quick yoga workout, which combines breathing and stretching into one powerful exercise.
8. Break a Sweat
In the mood for something a bit more energetic? You don’t need to exercise for a long time to feel the positive effects. If you’re short on time, here are a few ideas to get your blood pumping and your mood elevated:
- Go for a quick walk (or jog) around the block.
- Jump rope for ten minutes.
- Try a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout.
9. Spend Time With Your Pet
Aside from being adorable, loving, and faithful, pets support our mental health. They help lower stress, reduce depression and loneliness, improve self-esteem, increase mindfulness, and this study even linked pet ownership with decreased probability of childhood anxiety.
Don’t have a pet? You can still benefit from spending time with Fido or Kitty. In fact, animals are being used more and more often in therapy, education, and care settings for precisely this reason. Visit a shelter, local park, or see if your neighbor will let you love on their pet for a little bit.
10. Celebrate Your Life
One quick and fulfilling form of self-care we love is to celebrate your life. For this practice, just grab a notebook and a pen, set a timer for ten minutes, and do a brain dump of everything you love about your life…big and small. Making note of all you have to feel grateful for is a surefire way to put you in good spirits.
11. Do Something Creative
Take a few minutes to engage in your favorite creative activity.
Here are a few ideas:
- Color in an adult coloring book.
- Sew or crochet.
- Work on a jigsaw puzzle.
- Freewrite in a journal.
- Start a vision board.
- Make like a kid and build something with logos or magnetic tiles.
- Create a relaxing music playlist.
12. Listen To An Inspiring Podcast
If you’re in need of some motivation, try listening to a few minutes of an uplifting podcast. Here are a few we love:
- The Marie Forleo Podcast
- Happier With Gretchen Rubin
- RISE Podcast
- Impact Theory With Tom Bilyeu
…and of course, we have to also give a shout out to our very own Better Than Ever podcast.
13. Do Absolutely Nothing
No, this isn’t a trick…sometimes doing absolutely nothing is the best form of self-care you can give yourself. If you’re feeling burnt out, overwhelmed, spread thin, or all of the above, try removing yourself from your current environment for a few minutes and retreating somewhere quiet where you can just be (that means leaving your phone behind!). Giving yourself a few minutes to collect your thoughts and realign with your intention may be all you need to get yourself mentally back on track.
More Self-Care Tips & Tricks
We hope this list of ways to practice self care inspired you and showed you that you don’t need a ton of time to show yourself some TLC. Quick self-care habits like those highlighted above can be easily incorporated into your morning routine to set your day off on a high note or into a relaxing evening routine to unwind before bedtime.
Want more self-care tips and tricks? Check out our 60 Healthy Self-Care Ideas to Feel Better Than Ever blog post. If you’re ready to find out how you can become a health coach in as little as six short months, you can get started with us here today.