It’s Monday, which means you’re probably wound up and focused on getting stuff done. We all get caught up in the “I just don’t have time” whirlwind, but sometimes it’s necessary to stress less and relax more. It can make all the difference.
Here’s how to make the most of 5 minutes for a clearer, calmer mind and more relaxed body. Even on a Monday.
IN THE MORNING
Try 5 minutes of Meditation
Recent studies have shown that a few minutes of meditation can reduce anxiety up to 22 percent and even help your brain form new and permanent neural connections. Try standing with your feet hip-width apart, lying your hands on the tops of your thighs and closing your eyes to focus on the inner workings of your body. As you focus on keeping a steady cadence and clearing your mind, it might help to think of fleeting thoughts as passing clouds so you don’t respond to them emotionally – for these 5 minutes, just relax and be still.
IN THE AFTERNOON
Try 5 minutes of a Deep-Breathing Exercise
According to Liat Forti, a massage therapist at the Medical Massage Group in NYC, breathing deeply helps to improve circulation and release tension. She recommends the “balloon exercise,” to visualize and deepen your breath. Start by laying your hands on your lower abdominal and imagining that there’s an uninflated balloon between them. Inhale through your nose into your lower belly, picturing the balloon filling with air – you’ll actually see your hands move outward. Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling the balloon empty out.
IN THE EVENING
Try a 5 minute at-home Massage
At the end of the day, there are few things to be enjoyed more than curling up with your favorite Netflix series to unwind — but let's be honest, a temple massage would definitely help to ease your mind even more, and who doesn't like their scalp massaged? This five minute at-home massage can be done anywhere to relax and feel refreshed. Start by placing your fingertips on either side of your head, near your temples, while your thumbs support your jaw line. Rub your temples clockwise for a minute and then push the scalp up towards the ceiling, hold a few seconds and release. Work in sections across your entire scalp. Next, show your face a little love too. Using your fingertips, make little circles along your hairline, cheekbones, above your eyebrows and along your jawline. Gently rub your ears and earlobes between your thumb and index finger. Feel better now?
Try adding at least one of these exercises to your daily routine, and you'd be surprised at just how much less anxious you feel.