Feel good in 15 minutes or less (even the work-obsessed!)

Whether it’s work or home or both — calendars are full and to-do lists are long. Many of us feel starved for time and space to take care of our bodies, our minds and our overall well being. Too many minutes of our sleep is robbed by late night scrolling, emailing or shopping; and soon after our morning alarm goes off we are plunged into our screens and activities. When thinking about time-consuming exercise and self-care practices many of us get overwhelmed. Staying in the repetitive, destructive patterns we are in becomes the default.

The Importance of Mini- Routines:

It’s important to remember that small changes in our routine can make huge differences in our daily experience and therefore the experience of our life overall. Starting with foundational “mini routines” can help us create moments of inspiration, intention and reflection instead of stress and depletion. These rituals are the basic fundamentals of self care.

Here are five foundational mini “me time” formulas to bookend our days, and positively impact every moment in between:


  • A few key essential oils — bergamot, ylang ylang, lavender

Never underestimate the power of a sensory experience to bring you into the moment. Aromatherapy is an incredible tool to evoke relaxation, energy, focus, etc.

  • A journal

Taking a moment to unplug and reflect on your day, your goals, your challenges and what you are grateful for is an amazing way to press pause.

  • A bolster or firm pillow

Supporting the body with props enables you to fully “let go” and feel supported so your body can unfurl from the stress and contraction of day to day life.

Morning and Evening:

If you have 1 minute — Scents are powerful and impact our mood. Before you get out of bed, dab some bergamot (which has a light citrus scent) and ylang ylang (exotic flower scent) on your skin. Inhale the aromatherapy, close your eyes, and visualize a peak moment or highlight that you wish to manifest that day. Even a brief moment of visualization tied to a sensory experience (in this case, scent) can have a great impact on your day.

For evening, try relaxing lavender oil before bed and visualize the moments you are most grateful for from the day that just passed. A moment of reflection allows us to recognize what’s important day-to-day as well as acknowledge and compartmentalize anything that didn’t go our way.

If you have 5 minutes — Even 5 minutes of restorative yoga can feel incredibly nurturing to our nervous system. For morning and/or evening — lie over a yoga bolster or large firm pillow from the waist-up. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart and breathe deeply but naturally for 5 minutes. Set a timer and notice the difference after just 5 minutes of constructive rest.

If you have 10 minutes — A mindful meditation practice is simple, but powerful when it comes to getting off the ‘hamster wheel’ of your mind and routine. Upon waking and before bed, find a comfortable but upright seat. Set a timer for 10 minutes, preferably not on your phone. Begin with 10 deep breaths, fully inhaling and exhaling. Allow your breath to return to its normal rhythm, and rest your mind on the ebb and flow of your breath. As your mind wanders, gently return to the sensations of your breath, your body and the moment you are in.

If you have 15 minutes — Meditative movement helps us tune into the radio station of our body and enables us to both get a sense of where we are holding tension, and proactively stretch and open the spots that need some TLC. Ten minutes of morning and evening gentle “feel good” stretches with deep breath, followed by 5 minutes of journaling (reflections, affirmations or intentions) for the day over a cup of energizing green tea (morning) or relaxing kava tea (evening) — is day-changing.

Small, but meaningful

The bottom line is that self care can be accessible to everyone and doesn’t have to break the calendar or the bank to make happen. Finding practices and integrating self nurturing into your day starts with just a minute (or ten) of tuning into the moment in whatever way makes the most sense to you. As the practices above are depicted, it doesn’t have to be formal, it just has to be consistent and something you look forward to. Our personal well being formula is unique to us, based on body, mind, emotional landscape and day to day schedule. The bottom line is that with the right plan, even the busiest of us can find time to take care of ourselves in small, but meaningful ways.

Originally published at medium.com