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How To: Steal Some Self-Care Reps...

Often our day fills up quickly and it can become difficult to get outside, head to gym, meet with friends, etc. Which means we need to find small moments for self-care. Said another way, we need to learn to steal some self-care reps.

Provided below are a number of examples intended to suggest how to steal some "self-care" reps in between activities throughout the day that only take a few moments or less than a few minutes.

You may find that these small moments help to counterbalance the build-up of stress, pressure, etc.

Foundational self care activities include consistent SLEEP, consistent HYDRATION, balanced NUTRITION, CONNECTING with others, and a consistent effort to MOVE THE BODY.

Consider the following suggestions as you test and learn what works/helps you steal some "self-care" reps during small moments throughout the day.

  • Sneaking in some Breath work as often and frequently as possible to down regulate the nervous system. Link: Breathwork
  • One minute of Open Monitoring or Divergent Meditation to practice broadening your mind's focus and giving your focused brain a break... Link: Meditation Research or Link: Does Meditation Boost Creativity
  • Two minutes of Mindfulness to relax the brain's focus and open up awareness to self and the environment. Link: Mindful.Org
  • Delay Gratification by pausing to immediately respond to a stimulus - such as a text, email, or statement made by someone else to practice building space between the automatic response and the stimulus. Link: Marshmallow Challenge or Link: 16 Tactics to Consider
  • Practice productive and non-violent Self talk in challenging moments by developing language that is encouraging, kind,and compassionate - especially when we "spill the milk" and make a mistake. Link: Non-Violent Communication (NVC)
  • Try a moment of Loving-Kindness by practicing a metta meditation when you feel frustrated, overwhelmed, or irritated by yourself or with someone. Link: Loving Kindness Meditation
  • Move the body as often as you can through walking, climb a few stairs, stretching, tightening/contracting muscles, hopping up/down, shaking it out, push/pull something, dance, etc. Link: Tai Chi Walk
  • Connect with others about subjects you enjoy to cultivate our need for connectedness as well as prime the "feel good chemicals" - oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. Link: 4 Minutes to Better Friendships
  • Experience Novelty by looking for a few moments differently at your surroundings from a different place in the room, going a different route to the restroom, or eating lunch at a different location to spark our curiosity and desire for growth as well as prime dopamine, oxytocin, and adrenaline, etc. Link: 100 Ways to Be More Creative
  • Read for 2 or 3 minutes something fun, imaginative, joyful, offers curiosity, humorous, etc. to explore and cultivate divergent thinking.
  • Practice "beginners mind" when meeting with or interacting with others by seeking to Learn something new/different from colleagues, friends, or family to grow and prime dopamine. Link: Beginner's Mind or Link: How To Cultivate Beginner's Mind
  • Flood your mind with Gratitude as often as you can to counterbalance the negative bias that exists - it also helps with cultivating serotonin and oxytocin. Link: How to Gratitude or Link: Science Behind Gratitude
  • Don't forget to hydrate and eat regularly -Water & Nutrition fuel the cells of the body...
  • Give the focused brain muscle a break and give the creative brain muscle a moment to Doodle or draw shapes, comics, words, or whatever strikes you in the moment on a piece of scratch paper or in a notebook.
  • Get out in Nature for a few minutes as often as possible to recalibrate the rhythm of the body. Link: 19 Ways
  • Take a moment to have an Audible or Visual experience by listening to something that sounds calming or uplifting, looking at something that provides a sense of "awe", or smelling something. Link: Experience AWE
  • Keep a box of various Sensory materials or objects that may calm or soothe you, etc. in the moment.
  • Take your shoes/socks off and stand in the grass, on pavement, etc. and Feel the Earth beneath you.
  • Try Relieving Tension or stress by rolling your feet back and forth across a lacrosse ball. Link: How to Roll Out Your Feet
  • Give yourself a few moments to Transition from one activity to the next by identifying a ritual or routine such as a Body Scan that allows you to pause - check in with your body - identify what you may need - then move to the next activity. Link: How to - Body Scanner
  • After a period of focused time - have a taste or bite of something Sweet or Tart. The sugar from the treat will help with mood and reboot the brain. Link: Sour Candy
  • Find a moment to Hum a tune in between activities, on a walk, or on your way to a meeting. Humming helps to tune up the vagus nerve which helps with down regulating the nervous system. Link: Vagus Nerve
  • Listen for a few moments to Binaural Beats to relax the mind and give it a rest from the focused effort. Link: Binaural Beats
  • Stretch, Foam Roll, or Massage for a minute or two to contract/relax the muscles and decrease tension. Link: Myofascial Release
  • Take a moment and turn on the faucet or take a shower with either Cold or Hot water as a treatment to contract/relax the muscles and decrease tension. Place an ice pack on the forehead or back of your neck. Link: Vagus Nerve Stimulation or Link: White Paper
  • Create Zero hour time in the morning for self before the day and other activities begin - experience the "silence of the morning." Link: 30 Ideas to Consider
  • Pause when you can to counteract tunnel vision to broaden the focus on our "self" through Perspective taking. Take a moment or some time to reflect on others and try to capture what they are experiencing as a reminder there is something greater than ourselves beyond the moment.
  • Find moments to Play, Joke, or Laughter to metabolize the cortisol in our bodies and prime the "feel good chemicals" such as dopamine, adrenaline, endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin, etc.
  • Don't forgo setting Boundaries because you feel like you can't say "No" - rather be open to saying "Not Right Now" to create space/time for you.
  • When you feel stuck - Help someone else - your efforts will prime your mood and cultivate the "feel good chemicals" such as dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin.

The pace and rhythm of the day may get full and it may feel impossible to get away for self-care activities as often as one may want. While your time may be limited, I encourage you to be open to consider stealing some self-care reps where and when you can.