In reality, though, self-care is a must; if you don't take care of yourself, you wind up worn down, burnt out, and unable to take care of anyone else either. If you're interested in the benefits, check out my post on things that happen when you start to practice self-care. And read on for 25 more ways you can take care of yourself in just a few minutes...
[Image Credit: IvoryMix]01. Stretch. Particularly if you have a desk job - my colleagues and I sometimes joke that we're "chair-shaped" after a long day - drive a lot, or spend a lot of time in one position, taking a few moments to stretch out can really refresh you. It loosens your muscles and gets your blood flowing!
02. Do a puzzle. Crosswords, Su Doku, even Spot The Difference - puzzles like this keep your brain active and let you concentrate on something other than your stressful life for a few minutes. I've taken to doing the Guardian's Quick Crossword in my lunch break.
03. Do something different. Depending how much time you've got - it could be something as simple as having a different sandwich for lunch, going round the supermarket in reverse, or driving home a different way - doing things differently than your usual routine can make them feel a bit fresher and less of a drag.
04. Read something you don't have to. A chapter of your book (if they're short chapters and/or you're a quick reader!), a poem, even a dirty Limerick... A lot of people read to relax and there's a good reason for that - it's a brilliant way to take a step back from your problems for a few minutes
05. Colour in. I personally find colouring very stressful (all that staying in the lines!) but I know plenty of people who swear by it. You can obviously buy dedicated "Adult Colouring Books" or a quick Google brings up plenty of free downloadable colouring sheets.
06. Write it down. There's something about getting our worries and stresses down on paper that can give us a bit of perspective and make everything seem much more manageable. A quick brain-dump list can make the world of difference to how you feel about those niggling little worries.
07. Throw something away. (Or ideally recycle it, y'know!) I think we all have hoarding tendencies from time to time, so letting go of something we don't want or need can be quite a liberating feeling... Even if it is just chucking the receipts from the bottom of your handbag.
08. Use a face mask. Admittedly there's a limit to what you can use in five minutes but there are masks out there that work super quickly, or if you've got a little longer than a whole load more options open up for you! Overnight masks are a great option too - they only take a minute to apply and then you just remove in the morning when you wash your face.
09. Brush your hair. Especially if you use a Tangle Teezer or similar brush, this is like a quick head massage!
10. Look at pictures of baby animals. I think this one speaks for itself. I often just Google "baby penguins" or "baby sloths" and spend five minutes squealing at how cute they are!
12. Look at some old holiday snaps. Bring back those happy memories.
13. Make plans. Or at least, start making plans. Give yourself something to look forward to - be it meeting a friend for a coffee, a date with your partner, or a holiday in the sun!
14. Have a quick sort-out. Maybe you can only sort out one drawer of your desk, or one shelf in your living room, in five minutes - but, hey, that's one drawer or shelf that'll be sorted out, and a clearer space contributes to a clearer mind, in my experience.
15. Use the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 trick. This is a quick and easy way to ground yourself when you're feeling overwhelmed - you simply work through your senses and list five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste (you can even switch up the order if you like!)
16. Write a list. Who doesn't find lists calming? It could be a to-do list, a shopping list, even a list of things you like.
17. Book overdue appointments. If you've been putting off going to the dentist, the optician, or for your smear test - get it booked! These things aren't necessarily enjoyable but they're definitely part of taking care of yourself.
18. Get away from the screen. That's right - stop using your phone, computer, tablet or TV for five minutes! Gaze out of the window, flick through a magazine, maybe even have a conversation with someone!
19. Have a dance. Put on your favourite cheesy song and dance like no-one's watching you! The more ridiculous the better, really - you'll get your blood pumping
20. Eat a piece of fruit. Get in one of your five-a-day!
22. Look at the sky. Maybe you can spot some shapes in the clouds, maybe you can appreciate the sunshine, or maybe (most likely, especially if you're in Cumbria like me!) you'll just notice that it's raining again - but take that moment to notice.
23. Swap jokes. See who in your office knows the worst joke, or failing that - read these terrible kids' jokes!
24. Write a note or letter. To yourself or to someone else - to send, or just so you've written it. A note to say hello, to remind yourself that you're actually doing a pretty good job of this whole 'life' business, or to get something off your chest.
25. Stop multi-tasking. Just for five minutes, give yourself permission to concentrate on doing one thing and one thing only - and see how much more you're able to get done, and how much less stressful it feels!
Don't forget to check out my previous 25 ways to practice self-care in five minutes post for some more suggestions! Do you have any little habits or secrets that you turn to when you need to take care of yourself? Will you be trying any of these suggestions?