An hour-long yoga class or a 20-minute meditation session both have enormous benefits—we all know that. But we don’t have to carve out big swaths of time to be able to care for ourselves. The truth is, in the middle of life’s most stressful moments, sometimes all we have time to spare is one single minute.
The good news is that even 60 seconds, when spent mindfully, can help put you on a path towards de-stressing. Here are three techniques that you can do in 60 seconds or less (really!) from my new book, Eff This! Meditation: 108 Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for When You’re Feeling Anxious, Stressed Out, or Overwhelmed.
OUTBREATH > INBREATH
This is my all-time favorite self-care tip for both it’s simplicity and it’s power: when we purposefully extend our outbreath to last longer than our inbreath, we activate our parasympathetic nervous system. This begins to relax us and automatically decreases our heart rate and blood pressure. The next time you feel like tearing your hair out, take a few deep breaths and exhale for a few counts more than you inhale. (Bonus: you can teach this tip to your kiddos, too!)
FEEL YOUR FEET
While you can do this grounding practice anytime and anywhere, I especially love it when I’m standing in line feeling frustrated: take a deep breath and tune in to the feeling of your feet touching the ground (or your shoes, or the floor.) Notice how your toes feel, how the balls of your feet feel, and tune in to your arches and your heels. Pay special attention to the feeling of connection between the different parts of your feet and what might be touching them. Maybe rock back and forth a little, or move your feet if it feels good. Spend 60 seconds doing this, and then notice if anything has shifted.
HANDS OVER EARS
This centering exercise helps by connecting you to your own body and heart: close your eyes and rub your hands together gently to the count of ten, warming them slightly. Place them gently over both ears, and with your eyes still closed, take a dozen slow, deep breaths. When you are done, open your eyes and see how you feel. (This is another great tool to share with your little ones.)
Modify these practices however you need for your own body, health, and situation. You can tune into the feeling of your feet while sitting in a chair or walking, or add an essential oil to your palms before rubbing them together. The most important thing is to try the techniques so that they become familiar to you—this way you’ll be more likely to remember them in life’s most harried moments!
You deserve to feel good, less stressed—these techniques can help.