You’re a busy person. Your days are filled with meetings, project, deadlines, family issues, and many other urgent things. That leaves very little time for rest and rejuvenation. Over time you may begin to feel disillusioned. You may wonder “What is this all for?” But the thought goes away as quickly as it comes. You may say, “I’d love to take some time out to rejuvenate but I don’t have the time to sit for 30 minutes to an hour.”
Yes, we’re all strapped for time. It’s often difficult to find a moment to sit, reflect and rejuvenate your spirit. Instead, we push and push until we burn out from the effects of stress.
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to take 30 minutes out of your day to rejuvenate. You can do it in 5 minutes. I’ve got a few ideas to help you get started:
Yes, just sit (or stand) and smile. Truth is, you will begin to feel the effects of this simple activity within seconds. As an added bonus, you can do it while doing another activity. It seems downright silly to smile to yourself for no good reason but it works. Your mood and mindset will shift from being negative to positive. Don’t feel like smiling? Fake it!
Take a second now to notice your breath. Two things will likely happen. You will observe how shallow your breath is and you will almost immediately begin to breathe more deeply. Actually, you’ll notice a third thing – you’ll wonder why you don’t breathe deeply more often. The physical and emotional benefits of deep breathing have been well documented. So stop what you are doing and breathe.
We’ve become so used to the constant noise around us that we are often unaware of how much it grates on us and increases our stress levels. We yearn for silence. Yet we still find it hard to be comfortable with it. Don’t run from silence. Learn how to harness its power.
4. Call a parent, spouse, or a friend
How many of us go for days or weeks before calling a parent or loved one because we couldn’t carve out 30 minutes to an hour? A quick call is far better than nothing. Not only is it good for your relationships, it can also give you a quick energy boost.
5. Take a walk
Feeling stuck on something that requires creative thinking? Get up from behind your desk and go for a 5 minute walk.
6. Watch a TED talk
Looking for a mental pick-me-up? Watch a TED Talk. These educational, entertaining, and inspirational presentations will connect you with your childlike sense of wonder. All these talks are less than five minutes.
7. Do a kind deed for a random stranger
See someone looking lost or distressed? Take a minute to see if they are ok. Picking up a big mac in the drive-thru? Pay for the person behind you. Learn to become more attentive to the needs of those around you and begin to act in small ways.
The stress and tension we experience in our day to day lives often show up in or bodies in the form of tense muscles. Melt away the stress using these exercises.
9. Recite positive affirmations
You are what you think. We often take our thoughts for granted, not realizing how much they can affect our mood and well-being. Begin to exert influence on your thoughts by speaking speaking these affirmations aloud.
People pray to help them connect with the divine and to cope with life’s ups and downs. If you are inclined to pray, use it as an opportunity to let go of burdens and as a source of rejuvenation.
11. Write to someone who has made a difference in your life
Every once in a while our lives are changed profoundly for the good because of someone’s words or deeds. This person could be a teacher, mentor, clergy, our a next door neighbor. It could even be an influential person you’ve never met but experienced through their work. Write this person a quick note to thank them and let them know how much they influenced you for good.
12. Meditate on your favorite motivational quotes
Whenever you hear a motivational quote that speaks to you, write it down. Turn to them whenever you need encouragement.
Write about what’s happening to you right now. Don’t worry about writing a literary masterpiece. Simply write your thoughts and feelings.
14. Think of one thing you are grateful for
Try to hold a mental image of that thing for 1 or 2 minutes.
15. Start something you’ve been procrastinating on
Want to start a blog? Take five minutes to purchase the domain name. Need to write a paper or article? Take five minutes to sketch out a rough outline. Putting off yard work? Gather all the tools you need. You get the picture – regain your power by replacing procrastination with quick bursts of proactivity.
16. Listen to your favorite song
You’ll feel better instantly.
17. Read your personal mission statement
What? You don’t have one? Start writing yours today. Don’t worry about making it perfect. Just start now and edit over time.
18. Read a past journal or blog entry
If you maintain a blog or journal, reading past entries can be an amazing way to see how you have grown over the years. Seeing how far you’ve come can give you the mental and emotional boost you need to face today’s challenges.
19. Lie down
Set your timer for 5 minutes and lie down on a bed or comfortable sofa.
20. Play with your child
Tap into your child’s boundless energy by spending some time with them. This will only work if you are not distracted.
21. Write an apology to someone you have hurt
This will be hard but you will benefit from the sense of relief you will feel.
22. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is simply the ability to become fully engaged in the present moment. It is more difficult than it sounds since our minds wander effortlessly to past difficulties or future anxieties. We also frequently engage in day-dreaming and mind-wandering. Research has shown that our mind-wandering significantly contributes to our unhappiness. The good news is that we can learn to become more mindful.
23. Make a donation to a favorite charity.
24. Develop a morning routine
This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Developing a morning routine often involves waking early in order to spend an extended period of time focusing on self-improvement exercises to empower your day. Hal Elrod wrote about his powerful method he calls the Miracle Morning. Here is his 6 minute version that can be done during periods in your life when you are short on time.
In addition to your established morning exercise routine, do these little exercises during the day while at work.
26. Snack on these fresh fruits.
27. Strike a “power pose”
Use these posture hacks to boost your confidence.
28. Watch pictures or videos of family and friends
Put those gigabytes of data to good use.
29. Disconnect from your devices
In an environment saturated with computer screens, tablets, smart phones, and flat screen TVs, it’s quite possible to spend your entire waking hours staring at glowing screens. Put them down for 5 minutes to rest your eyes and mind. You’ll likely be tempted to spend a few more minutes away from screens once you disconnect.
30. Clean your desk
You may not realize how much your disorganized desk is stressing you. Take a few minutes to dust and neatly organize your piles.
Once you experience the quick benefits of some of these action steps, you’ll find yourself squeezing in 5 minutes here and there throughout the day to do more. You’ll discover (or rediscover) what Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People calls the production/production capacity (P/PC) balance. It is hard to keep producing (income, results at work and home, etc.) over time without investing in your capacity to produce (yourself). So take 5 minutes today to start rejuvenating yourself so you can continue to produce good fruit in every area of life.
Cylon is a spiritual chaplain, musician, devoted husband, and busy dad of six. He blogs about practical spiritual tips for living well at Spiritual Living For Busy People – sign up and get his free guide 20 Little Tricks To Instantly Improve Your Mood Even If You Feel Like Punching Something (or Someone).