Here’s what micro self-care is not: Work out 4-5 times a week. Get a massage. Book a spa day. Take more vacations. Meditate. Garden. Take up a new hobby: paint, draw, crochet. Get out into nature. Get more sleep. Practice gratitude. Arrrrrggggghhhh! Yes, all of these are effective self-care ideas, but what can you do RIGHT NOW that does not take up big blocks of time, money, and that don’t require a substantial commitment from you? And that also help you to get through a stressful day at the office? Micro self-care, that’s what. So here’s a short post for some quick ideas.
What Is Micro Self-Care?
Micro self-care activities are the small activities you can do during the day that take less than two minutes each time you practice them. The reason they are successful is repetition. Weaving them into your daily routine is what literally changes your neural pathways from jangled to calm. The biggest bennie of all? Each activity is free and doable.
My Favorite Tips
- Clench your facial muscles and relax them, then pair with the next tip.
- Take 3 slow, deep breaths If it helps get West Point cadets through Beast Barracks, it’ll get you through tax season, a lousy email from your boss, or the start of a new job.
- Splash your face with cold water: Wakes you up, calms you down and cleans your mug. Now that’s efficiency.
- Play some music and do a little dance: Create a “neuroscience” playlist (personalized music that energizes you) to Spotify, Pandora or Alexa. Twerk if you dare.
- Do the cross crawl: March in place, knees high, arms swinging, crossing your right elbow to your left knee and your left elbow to your right knee.
My personal favorite is to start the day with several slow, deep diaphragmatic breaths. The key for me is to be at the office, and to do it right before opening my first email, or making that first phone call. I pair this breathing technique with ocean waves in the background. It takes less than a minute! There are oceans (LOL-pun intended) of free sound apps available for that. You can choose your own favorite soothing sound. It grounds you for the start of your day. And if you need a quick energy boost after lunch, stand by your desk and do the cross crawl (mentioned above) for 15-20 seconds. It really works. And if all else fails, do you remember the best selling book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all small stuff? Just thinking about the title can bring sweet relief. Perspective is key.
My view is that we humans have a very short time on this planet, and life will always be filled with challenges. I see no point in trying to manage them alone when getting a little help will shorten the time you spend struggling.
Call or shoot me an email if this is the case. Let’s figure out how to get you feeling more calm together.