- If you’re feeling down or depressed, doing some self-care can help you feel better. It doesn’t take long.
- Take a deep breath, call a friend, cuddle your pet, and spend 15 minutes in nature.
- A short exercise or journaling session can also help improve your health over time.
Ever wanted to blend in on the couch with a bag of cheese puffs rather than replying to a stack of emails in your inbox?
Most people go through periods when they feel like they don’t want to do anything. In fact, he’s one of the reasons why so many people struggle with procrastination, says Dr. Faisaltai, a board-certified psychiatrist who practices at Psychplus.
On days like these, a quick act of self-care may be all you need to feel better.
In a nutshell, self-care is the act of taking care of your body and mind. If you haven’t eaten all day, take the time to do something that helps you live healthier and feel better, like cooking your own meals.
You don’t have to sacrifice most of your day to start practicing self-care. Here are 10 self-care activities you can try right away in 15 minutes or less.
1. go outside
If you want to clear your head or change your mind, go outside and change the scenery. There is a wealth of evidence linking being in nature with improved mental health and brain function, according to a 2021 research review.
“Spending time in nature in your backyard or on the trail can help reset your focus and mindset,” says Erin Terada, licensed clinical psychologist and director of clinical training at Relief Mental Health. said.
You can also combine this self-care act with exercise by taking a walk. Or, if your mobility is limited or you don’t feel like walking, sit in your backyard or balcony for 15 minutes to get some fresh air.
2. Start a gratitude journal
Keeping a journal can increase optimism and reduce depression and anxiety. So, if you feel down or can’t focus on anything, take a few minutes to think about your gratitude journal.
Ask yourself simple questions like, “What am I grateful for today?” and write down your answer.
You may find yourself unexpectedly discovering something you took for granted or find yourself looking for something you can write down, says Terada.
All of these feelings of gratitude can help you feel happier in the moment and boost your self-esteem over time.
In fact, one study found that writing a short thank you letter once a week could improve your overall health.
3. Drink tea
Need some time for yourself? Try brewing some tea.
Many types of herbal teas promote relaxation and help relieve fatigue.
Additionally, certain teas such as green tea, oolong tea, and black tea contain theanine, an amino acid that helps boost mood.
However, these teas also contain caffeine, which can raise stress hormones. I guess.
Whatever tea you choose, create a ritual of calming yourself by sipping from your favorite mug in a quiet place.
4. Have a snack
If it’s been a while since you last ate something, it might be time to nourish your body with some mood-boosting snacks like:
5. Move your body
If you can exercise, short periods of physical activity can boost your mood and energy levels.
Don’t worry if you don’t have time to go to the gym. Even bursts of 1 to 5 minutes can have several benefits, such as improved focus without tiring you out.
Some simple exercises you can try in 15 minutes or less include:
6. Listen to music
“Listening to music can make you feel better,” says Jessica Borelli, professor of psychological sciences at the University of California, Irvine, and clinical director of Compass Therapy.
Research suggests that music can help reduce depression and distress as well as promote relaxation. So if you don’t want to do anything, a little jam session can lift your spirits.
Borelli suggests choosing songs with a personal connection, such as a favorite movie soundtrack or a favorite song from high school.
If you want to add movement, you can even stand up and dance to the beat.
7. Talk to friends
Research shows that people who have close relationships with friends and family tend to be happier overall.
So, if you feel overwhelmed or alone, reaching out to close friends and family can give you a new perspective.
A quick phone call or Facetime chat might work, but Borelli suggests taking a moment to write a letter so you can email it later. You can tell your friends the story of your day or thank them and tell them how happy you are to have them in your life.
Using handwritten notes to tell your friends how important they are to you may even help you feel closer.
8. Love your pet
You don’t have to reach out to your human best friend to practice self-care.
Studies show that interacting with pets can reduce feelings of loneliness and improve mood. So if it’s been a while since you last gave your furry friend some love, make sure you spend a few minutes with them.
Try playing fetch a few times with your dog or cuddling up with your cat. Spending time together can increase levels of oxytocin, the “love hormone,” which can make you feel better. You can also
9. Take a deep breath
If you want to clear your mind, Terada recommends practicing breathing techniques such as box breathing for a few minutes.
A box breath is completed in approximately 16 seconds. All you need to do is:
- Inhale slowly for 4 seconds
- hold your breath for 4 seconds
- Exhale slowly for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath for another 4 seconds.
Taking a psychological sigh can also help you calm down, as sighs can help your body relax. To try, he takes two quick breaths through his nose and a long breath out through his mouth. Repeat up to 3 times.
Laughing reduces cortisol and other stress hormones in the blood, while simultaneously releasing feel-good chemicals like serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine in the brain.
If you’re nervous, bored, or just trying to do something, try doing something funny like watching cute pet videos on Tiktok, catching up on memes, or streaming your favorite sitcom for a few minutes. Please give me.
You may find that getting a laugh out of the box helps you be ready to tackle the rest of your day.
When to Seek Professional Help
It’s okay to take a break once in a while. But if your mood begins to take a devastating effect on your health, happiness, career, and relationships, it may be time to contact a professional, says Tai.
A persistent low mood may indicate a mental health condition such as depression, or a medical condition such as an infection or chronic illness.
Here are some signs that it’s time to seek help:
Many people think self-care is complicated, but it can be as simple as taking care of your body, nourishing yourself, and putting your own needs first, says Terada.
If you want a quick way to boost your mood, you can start with small self-care rituals like going outside, making yourself a comforting drink, and spending time with loved ones and pets.
We all have days when we don’t want to do anything. However, if your mood swings are more frequent and you can’t fix your mood on your own, it may be time to contact your doctor or therapist.