For some, self-care means booking a vacation in the tropics or a full day of pampering at the spa. But while the idea of getting away from it all may sound great, it might not be the most practical (or budget-friendly) option for managing everyday stressors.
Never fear. In his 2018 book, #Chill: Turn Off Your Job and Turn On Your Life, psychotherapist Bryan Robinson says people don’t need lavish vacations or expensive therapies to practice self-care. Instead, he recommends what he calls “micro-chillers” that can be performed in just a few minutes a day to help relieve anxiety, enhance mental clarity and soothe physical tensions.
Taking a few moments to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, he says, is a simple yet effective way to clear the mind and get the body moving.
“We call that nature bathing,” Robinson explains. “Spending 120 minutes per week outside is a game-changer. It can be sitting outside when it’s sunny; it can be walking or hiking, swimming or golf. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. It lifts your mood, gives you more clarity and helps you feel happier and more productive in what you do.”
A mere five minutes of meditative breathing — whether it’s at home, at work or anywhere in between — also has the power to relax the body and increase mindfulness, notes Robinson.
“Listen to the sounds around you without trying to remember them. Just notice each sound,” he explains. “What that does is bring you into the present moment. When you start to notice you’re in the present moment, your heart rate slows down, your breathing slows down, your muscles start to loosen and you feel calm.”
And while indulging yourself with spa days and long vacations is certainly worthwhile, taking time for even small self-care efforts can make all the difference.
“There are 1,440 minutes in a day. You take five minutes and you still have 1,435,” Robinson points out. “Everybody has five minutes, no matter how busy you are or how much you have on your plate.”