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One-Minute Self-Care Breaks for Super Busy Days

It often doesn’t take much for us to unwind, recharge, and feel better. Which, of course, is very helpful as you’re trying to juggle a variety of new (and sometimes stressful) roles and responsibilities. You also might be more tired than normal and yet struggle to sleep. You might have very little alone time. You might have very little time overall. 

But you likely have a minute. It almost seems silly but we can do a lot in a single minute to take care of ourselves, especially if we have multiple one-minute breaks sprinkled throughout the day. 

Pause to think about what brief practices you can start using to help you refresh and refocus. Here’s a list of 20 one-minute self-care breaks to try: 

  1. Close your eyes and take five deep breaths.
  2. As you’re waking up, gently stretch your arms and legs in bed. 
  3. Practice child’s pose. (See the above image.)
  4. Jot down a few phrases in your planner to cheer yourself up. 
  5. Look out your window, naming one beautiful thing you see. 
  6. Put your hands over your heart and say “I am doing my best.”
  7. Listen to a calming melody, anything from classical music to nature sounds. 
  8. Say a prayer. 
  9. Drink a bottle of water. 
  10. Apply your favorite lotion to your hands, breathing in the aroma. 
  11. Listen to this one-minute guided meditation
  12. Write down how you’re feeling. 
  13. Light your favorite candle and stare at the flame. 
  14. Reread a quote or poem that helps you feel better or puts things into perspective. 
  15. Massage an aching or tight part of your body. 
  16. Sketch a repetitive pattern. 
  17. Reply yes (or no) to an upcoming event. 
  18. Thank yourself for one thing. 
  19. End the day sitting in silence. 
  20. End the day reflecting on one thing you learned or appreciated. 

It can feel demoralizing and frustrating knowing that you can’t rely on your normal self-care routines—or even have 30 minutes to yourself.

But you no doubt can spare a minute—and perhaps many one-minute breaks throughout the day. Harness that. Savor it. Pick out the practices you’d like to try beforehand. Set alarms on your phone to remind yourself to take a minute for self-care. (You can even include the activity you’re doing with each reminder.)

For example, in his new book, The Joy of Simplicity, author Allen Klein uses an app with a “gentle ‘singing bowl’ sound [that] goes off every hour on the hour.” He notes that these small breaks refresh, center, and energize him. They also often get his “stagnating creative juices flowing again.”

A minute is definitely not as much as we’d like (or anywhere close). But it is something. And that something can turn into a small ritual that helps you get through the day, becomes a kind of anchor you look forward to, or perhaps even brightens your outlook. 

The key is to be intentional about it: This is your time. It is your time to feel good.  What do you want that to look like? 

Photo by Katee Lue on Unsplash

One-Minute Self-Care Breaks for Super Busy Days

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2020). One-Minute Self-Care Breaks for Super Busy Days. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 27 May 2020
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