Meeting canceled? Kids taking the bus home? Finish lunch early? Instead of breaking out your cell and playing Candy Crush, turn your newfound bonus time into time for you.
You don’t need hours to reap the benefits of a little solo R&R. Studies have shown that taking time to relax can lead to better concentration, improved well-being, and the prevention of burnout. In other words, it’s important to take advantage of the precious moments in your day that you have to yourself. Here are some ways to turn your focus inward, no matter how busy you are.
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If you have five minutes before a meeting…
1. Breathe. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the best thing to do is what comes most naturally: inhale and exhale. Deep breathing has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate. What that means for you—it only takes a little action to feel much calmer.
2. Color. Remember how great art class was when you were free to just create and let your mind wander? Coloring books for adults may help you relive that same feeling.
If you have 10 minutes during lunch…
4. Renew. Give yourself a mini facial with a sheet mask (we love these ones from Sephora). They only take five to 10 minutes and will leave your skin feeling refreshed and fabulous.
5. Pose. Doing a sequence of yoga poses will give you a great stretch and help to calm your mind. No need to sign up for a full class. Just grab a mat and do what feels great for your body, or check out our at-home yoga workout here.
6. Listen. Like an old friend, music is a comforting thing. Make a playlist for different moods and take a few minutes to close your eyes and just indulge in listening to your favorite songs.
7. Write. When your head is clouded with thoughts, taking time to release them by writing in a journal can be a great exercise. Don’t have one? We have some great options in the Weight Watchers’ online store.
8. Read. Grab a copy of your favorite magazine off the newsstand or pick up that book you’ve been wanting to read and let yourself get lost for just 10 minutes. Allowing your mind to explore another story gives you a mental break.
If you have 20 minutes or more after work…
9. Bathe. Running a hot bath with candles, soaking salts, and essential oils is the ultimate indulgent experience. Bring your favorite book, turn on some tunes, or just sit back and let the warm water sooth you.
10. Walk. Taking a walk during your lunch break can improve concentration in the afternoon . Plus, getting some vitamin D and fresh air is sure to boost your mood.
11. Learn. Podcasts are a great way to learn about something new from anywhere. Try searching for podcasts that interest you and give one a listen. We love Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations.
12. Appreciate. Surrounding yourself with art, history, and culture is a great way to spend time feeding your mind and soul. There are incredible museums in each and every state. Find one near you here.
13. Pamper. Going for a manicure and/or pedicure can make you feel like a million bucks. If you’re not sure where to go, try using Spafinder to look up the top places to pamper yourself in the area.
While finding free time is always great, don’t forget to make time for you, even if it is just once a week. More is always preferable, though.
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