If your life feels like a nonstop flurry of activities, you’re not alone. A recent survey revealed that the average American has less than 30 minutes of free time available each week. Also, while technology was intended to save us time and make things easier, the reality is that being continually connected and available can be stressful.
Because your time is limited, many traditional self-care activities may be too time-consuming to fit into your day. So instead, consider integrating a few quick activities into your day. By taking a few minutes here and there to slow down and restock, you can find the peace and serenity you need to make it through the busyness of life and enjoy a higher quality of life.
Everyone knows that physical activity is beneficial for both mental and physical health, but sadly, many busy Americans are unable to devote even 30 minutes per day to a workout. If you feel that your life can’t accommodate a trip to the gym or a three-mile walk every day, try to integrate short bursts of physical activity throughout your day. Creative ways to sneak in the extra movement include:
- Always taking the stairs rather than the elevator
- Parking at the back of the parking lot so you have further to walk
- Setting hourly reminders on your smartwatch to sneak in 5 minutes of push-ups, jumping jacks, or any other physical activity that can raise your heart rate
- Using earbuds for phone calls in order to walk and talk at the same time
- Buying a standing desk to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting
While these quick activities might not seem as beneficial as a lengthy workout, you’ll be surprised to discover how quickly they add up!
Mindfulness is the practice of quieting your mind and directing your attention to the present moment. It trains your brain to let go of the past and future and instead, live purely in the moment.
The benefits of mindfulness include:
- Reduces time spent worrying about things you can’t change
- Decreases your overall levels of stress and anxiety
- Helps you attain a feeling of peace despite your circumstances
- Allows you to appreciate the beauty of the present moment
- Improves your ability to focus
While there are several ways to practice mindfulness, meditation is perhaps the most popular and straightforward route. Try to start and end your day by focusing on your breath or an object for five or ten minutes. If you find your mind wanders and you aren’t sure how to harness it, there are plenty of free online guided meditations to provide help.
Also, when you first begin, avoid being hard on yourself. Dr. Jason Campbell states, “The most important thing with mindfulness is to be patient and not to judge yourself. Just like anything else, it takes time and practice to master mindfulness.”
When your life gets busy, and you feel like you have no time for yourself, don’t despair. By devoting short periods of time throughout your day to both physical activity and the practice of mindfulness, you can reduce your stress and attain a more peaceful and centered quality of life.