Give yourself five minutes

Before I started yoga and meditation, one of the notions I carried around was that these things were big time commitments. Many parts of me are big on schedules and efficiency, so those parts were able to readily dismiss those practices as "too time-consuming". Over time I realized was that this was also something other parts of me classified as selfless: if I chose to do something else (under the guise of helping others), then I could never be called selfish, which had been a big bad label for me.

But self-care is quite important and, really, vital to our daily lives. Sure, when someone says, "Hey, can you do a yoga class with me for 90 minutes every 3 days over lunch?" that might not be something that you can do. But I'm here to say: don't let this be an all or nothing event in your life. Find time to do self-care.

Let's start today. Let's try for five minutes. Just five! And that's all. When you're done reading this entry, five minutes or so will have passed. That's not much time. I know: I have a family and a job and a commute and never-ending laundry too. It's not going to be perfect. But it's going to be.

Here are a few ideas where and how this could happen:

  • During your commute: If you drive to work, give yourself five before or after you start the day. Radio off, eyes closed, and just listen and breathe. Easier on a train or bus.
  • At your desk: Work work work work work... pause. Stop. Take a deep, deep breath - you know, one of those super deep breaths. Go for it. And then let it all out, and chill.
  • Outside: If you have a desk job, take a brief walk around the block or in the parking lot. Get fresh air into your lungs - breathe all of it in.
  • In the shower: Awesome place to think, awesome place to take a quick moment for yourself and just be. There's a reason lots of people like the sound of running water: it's very relaxing.

And what do you do during these five minutes? Obviously I'm big on breathing: it helps with awareness, and forces me to slow down and be in the moment instead of elsewhere. But I have also found that doing one or two yoga poses is a great change of pace too. You may want to do a power pose (Amy Cuddy recommends two minutes. Just two!) Meditation is a great thing to do too. Or, listen to a song.

Don't let it go

Here's what I know is true: after even doing one of these small things, I feel much more centered and relaxed. I come back into the rest of my life feeling more refreshed, aware, and ready. Find something that sounds good for you - try things out! - and give yourself five minutes today.