Lately, you’ve been feeling disconnected, and tender, and easily triggered. Lately, you’ve been feeling especially frustrated with everyone, including yourself. Lately, you just want to be alone, or to lay on the couch for hours. Lately, you’ve been feeling uninspired, and like the ideas just won’t come. Your brain feels foggy, and your body feels stiff.
Lately, you’ve been feeling like you’re nearing burnout—feeling physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually exhausted. And it’s important to intervene. It’s important to listen to your body (and your soul!), and make nourishing yourself a priority.
This month I’m writing a more comprehensive piece for Psych Central about this topic with expert tips. But I wanted to share some ideas here, too, just in case you’re not exactly feeling calm and carefree. All these practices and activities can be done in 15 minutes or less. Because when you can’t take a vacation, a weekend-long trip, or just a day off, turning to tiny options can be tremendously helpful.
- Stretch for 5 minutes while listening to soft music.
- Read one page or one chapter of your favorite book and savor the inspiration. Or try an uplifting book, or a book of poetry, or a mystery novel—whatever replenishes you.
- Fully feed one sense. Feed your sense of taste with a terrific meal. Feed your sense of smell by diffusing a calming essential oil. Think about what truly feeds each of your senses—which, of course, will be different for everyone. What does it look like for you?
- Make a list of all your needs. It could be a list of a hundred needs. It doesn’t matter. Then each day, address one of those needs.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a shower (or bath). Make it into a spa-like experience. Put on your favorite music. Buy a body wash with a favorite scent. Light a few candles. Spend more time than you normally would.
- Create 5-minute rituals. You might create a 5-minute ritual for your morning that includes sipping tea and reading scripture. You might create a 5-minute ritual at lunchtime, which includes talking or texting with your spouse. You might create a 5-minute ritual in the evenings, which includes journaling or listening to a guided meditation.
- Engage in window gazing. This tip comes from Be, Awake, Create: Mindful Practices to Spark Creativity by Rebekah Younger. She suggests sitting by a window, and setting a timer for 15 minutes. Take several deep breaths, relaxing into your chair. Notice the sensations in your body and your state of mind. Now focus on the area around your chair. Next notice the surface of the window glass, any reflections, and how they affect what you see beyond the glass. As your mind settles, focus on what’s outside. Notice the bigger shapes, and pay attention to any details inside them. Pay attention to what draws your attention. If your focus wanes, breathe in deeply, and exhale forcefully to reconnect with your body. Keep gazing out the window until your timer dings.
- Try different breathing techniques. When you find one you like, practice it every hour or few hours throughout the day.
- When you wake up, take a few minutes to take deep, slow breaths. Maybe set an intention for the day. Maybe also stretch your body. Maybe keep the phone in another room.
In short, think about what refreshes and rejuvenates you, and how you can incorporate these practices and activities into your everyday.
Of course, it’s also important to re-evaluate your schedule and responsibilities. Are you regularly taking on too much? Is this simply a busy month or a busy season, and life will slow down very soon? Do you have sky-high expectations? Do you need to ask for help?
After you’ve engaged in a relaxing activity, take some time to reflect, and see where you might need to make some changes.
You aren’t a robot. And you aren’t a failure because you need rest. So give yourself the permission and the space to care for yourself with compassion, patience, gentleness, and understanding.