5 Ways to Chill Out When You Only Have 10 Minutes

Maybe you’re going through a big life transition — having a baby or buying a house. Maybe you’re overworked or overscheduled and you don’t have enough time to yourself. Or maybe, just maybe, there's a global pandemic spiking your anxiety levels.

Whatever’s going on, you need to chill out. But how? That’s the question when you can barely scrape together a few free moments every day.

I’m challenging you to dedicate 10 minutes — just 10 minutes — to yourself. That’s as long as it takes to brew a pot of coffee and to try one of these blissful, relaxing activities to reset and refocus.

1. Do This Upper-Body Stretch Sequence for Desk Workers

You don’t even have to get up from your chair for this (although it’s probably a good idea to stand up). Flow through the following stretches and hold each one for 30 seconds. Repeat the sequence two or three times.
Hands in the air: Clasp your hands together and press them overhead.

  • Left shoulder stretch: Use your right hand to bring your left arm across your torso. Press your left arm into your chest until you feel a stretch.
  • Right shoulder stretch: Repeat the above, but bring your right arm across your torso.
  • Shoulder squeeze: Roll your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulders together. Think about trying to make your elbows touch behind your back.
  • Left spinal twist: Grab onto your chair and gently twist your torso to the left without shifting your hips.
  • Right spinal twist: Do the same as above, but twist to the right.

2. Complete Five Rounds of Box Breathing

Box breathing is a deep-breathing technique that’s been proven to help with anxiety, depression, and other conditions. Here’s how it works:

  • Breathe in for four seconds.
  • Hold for four seconds.
  • Breathe out for four seconds.
  • Hold for four seconds.

Repeat that sequence five times and you’re sure to feel re-centered.

3. Read a Good-News Article or Watch a Happy Video Online

Instead of scrolling through the usual negative headlines and angry posts on your social media feeds, take a few minutes to actively seek out some good news. You’re just doing yourself a disservice when you spend 10 minutes scrolling through hate posts. Use that 10 minutes for good, and find a funny cat video or something else that’ll make you laugh.

4. Call Someone You Love

Call your mom, sister, best friend, dad, grandparents, or anyone who makes you happy. Talk for a few minutes about something good that happened today — avoid talking about current events or anything that upsets you. The goal is to leave the conversation feeling refreshed and joyful.

5. Wash Your Face

There’s something so cathartic about washing your face. It’s like hitting the reset button. Clean, moisturized skin just makes anything feel a tad more doable. If you work from home, you can do this any time. If you work in an environment that’s not conducive to spontaneous face-washing, however, this tip may be moot for you (especially if you wear make-up on the job).

Since we don’t live in a perfect world where everyone works from home, I have another tip that’s just as cathartic as washing your face: standing outside. That’s right. Simply stand outside for five to 10 minutes and reap the many benefits of nature.

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