Are you busy? I’m busy. And tired. But I like to get to the end of each day and feel like I have done something more than just keep my head above water.
I like to feel cared for and I don’t like to leave it to chance that others will make me feel this way. That’s why I have made this little list of ways I can take care of myself each day in five minutes or less. Sometimes I do loads of these in one day. Sometimes I only do one or two. But I never do none and I try to do at least a few.
They take no time at all and they will make you feel good too.
Your homework: choose your way to feel better in 5 minutes
Pick one and do it. Today. Then tell us and the world what you’ve done. Go on. Super double dare you.
It doesn’t just help you keep your teeth clean and avoid bad breath. If left unchecked, the bacteria that enters via your mouth can eventually work its way down into cardiac tissue and lead to cardiac arrest. Because you didn’t floss. No kidding. Get flossing, butt-breath, before you have a heart attack.
2. Call and cancel
Whatever it is, there is probably something you are committed to this week that you could cancel, and sit on your verandah and watch the sun set.
3. Paint your nails
Because it’s a quick way to feel a bit pretty, even if your head looks like hell.
4. Have a drink of water
Because something like 75 per cent of us are dehydrated. There are loads of reasons our bodies need water and I’m sure you’ve heard them all before. Here’s a surprising one. My grandmother used to hate to drink water and, as a result, she constantly ended up with urinary tract infections, which led her to have a series of heart attacks and strokes. Because she didn’t drink water. Just drink the water, dude. Then floss.
5. Do those pelvic floor exercises (sorry)
Because, sure, they suck. But not as much as peeing your pants when you sneeze during a presentation at work. In your best white suit (ha ha ha, just kidding; we have kids, not white suits). Start with five and hold them for five seconds if you can. Or start even lower if you need to. But build it up and keep on doing them. It’s like using sunscreen when you’re a teenager. You may not see the point but your older self will thank you.
6. Be in nature
Whether you can go for a run on the beach, a bushwalk, or just take your shoes off and feel the grass under your feet at the park, being a part of nature is soul restoring every time. A day is great, a week is tops, but a few minutes will do very well too.
7. Ask someone to help
Whatever you have to do, somebody can help you. Ask your mum to watch the kids for the afternoon. Instead of cursing under your breath, actually tell your partner what he/she could do to help, or write the kids a new chore list. Martyrs may get sainthoods but their actual lives are freaking miserable. If people say at my funeral, ‘she was such a giver, and we never heard a word of complaint…’ I will know I have done something seriously wrong (or, more likely, those folks are at the wrong funeral).
8. Have a cup of tea
Preferably in the sun. I like the ceremony of making myself a good and proper cup because it feels nurturing. I like a nice tea pot and a beautiful little tea cup. And quality tea. And no effing fruit teas except for the magical Numi Dry Desert Lime Tea which is effing incredibly, but that’s just a personal preference. Teas I recommend for relaxation are chai, chamomile or licorice. Mmmmm.
9. Listen to a favourite song
Maybe one that played at your wedding, or a favourite from a music festival you had a particularly good time at 15 years ago, or a new one that is currently making your bootie want to shake. Dance around the lounge if you can. Clothes are optional but please consider your children and neighbours in this equation.
Recommendations from this end of town: Fred Astaire by San Cisco, Sunshine by Ricki Lee, The Big Boss Groove by the Style Council, Kick, Push by Lupe Fiasco, Shake it Out by Florence and the Machine. Damn, I feel another playlist coming on…(we’ve already got a road trip playlist and a running playlist if you like the cut of our groove thang)
10. Eat a vegetable or a piece of fruit
Cause they’re vitamin bombs full of fibre and all kinds of great things. And you’re probably not eating enough, are you?
Don’t be afraid! There are great guided meditation apps and websites (my favourite of both is Meditation Oasis – something for everyone from beginners to old pros). If you have a crazy monkey mind that is hard to shut up, like I do, five minutes of sitting quietly and focusing on now will do you the world of good. Another great app I’ve just discovered is called Breathe – three minutes with your thumb on the screen following the breath instructions and you will feel calmed and revived. I do it before bed and it’s magical!
Get out of your chair and stretch high up on your toes and with your arms as high as they can go. Then roll your spine down vertebra by vertebra until you are dangling your arms towards your toes. Then roll back up in the same way. Do this as many times as you can be bothered. Set a timer for a few minutes if that will help. It will mobilise your spine and make you feel a couple of inches taller.
13. Write down five things you’re grateful for
Because a bit of perspective and positivity can be a wonderful gift. And because there’s an app for everything, I do mine at the end of each day on my Gratitude app. It even reminds me when it’s time.
14. Play with your kids
Without checking your emails or watching the news or reading your text messages. Just be in the moment and read, play, be silly. Because it’s fun, the kids will love it, but more importantly, you will feel great.
15. Throw away five things
From your desk, your kitchen window sill, your bedside table, your coffee table…because clutter is the enemy of the peaceful mind. I try to throw five things away from my terribly cluttered house every day without anyone else noticing (so far, so good). I know we are supposed to reduce, reuse, recycle, but my house is full of hoarders and they drive me mad.
16. Have a glass of champagne
Because, you can and it feels nice.
Okay, so which one are you doing today?