The Art of Self-Nurturing: 5-Minutes to Change Your Day

The Art of Self-Nurturing: 5-Minutes to Change Your Day by Kelley Grimes | #AspireMag

“Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” ~Joshua J. Marine

In my last Art of Self-Nurturing column, we explored five ways to reconnect to what is most important in our lives. Since we are currently living through unprecedented stress and uncertainty, choosing to focus on what is important can support us in staying grounded in this storm. Allowing our choices to be informed by what is important to us can center us even as the world spins out of control. Practicing mindfulness, pausing to check in and listen to yourself throughout the day, journaling regularly, cultivating gratitude, and giving yourself permission to prioritize self-nurturing are all ways to reconnect with what is important to you.

But how do we engage in any of these nurturing activities when we are overwhelmed and having difficulty focusing? I have been hearing from so many clients and friends that they are struggling to focus right now and complete tasks. Part of this challenge comes from all of the changes we are having to adjust to during the pandemic and the stress we are experiencing as a result.

When we are stressed our amygdala, or the fight flight part of our brain, is activated. The amygdala is programed to search for danger and assess whether we are safe or not. As result we may be hyper vigilant to what is happening around us to make sure we stay safe. Unfortunately, this makes it really difficult to stay focused and complete tasks. In addition, we may be experiencing waves of intense emotions crashing over us like grief, sadness, anxiety, fear, and anger that impact our ability to focus.

And that does not even take into account supporting all the other people in our lives that are also having a difficult time! Navigating all these unknowns is incredibly challenging and so it is remarkable that we are doing as well as we are. If you have been struggling, please know that you are not alone. Try not to judge or criticize yourself if you are having trouble focusing and instead respond to yourself with understanding and compassion. Choosing a nurturing response to ourselves when we are struggling can make all the difference and begin to shift things for us. Once we realize how normal it is under these stressful circumstances to have difficulty focusing then we can figure out what is the next most nurturing thing we can do.

Investing our energy in something within our control during these uncertain times may be the wisest and most empowering thing we can do. Indeed, investing our energy in self-nurturing practices can change our day for the positive and create ripples effects throughout our lives.

So, my invitation to you today is to try a nurturing activity for five minutes a day for the next 21-days. You can engage in the same activity each day or try a new activity. Since it can take 21-days to create a habit, I am encouraging you to commit to 21-days. If that feels like way too much commitment, make it seven days.

Give yourself the opportunity to focus for five minutes a day on something that could nurture you and notice the impact on your well-being. Start a timer, bring your attention to the practice and notice how you feel at the end of the 5-minutes. If you were able to stay focused, acknowledge and celebrate yourself! If you had difficulty, return again later in the day or tomorrow and try again. The idea is to give yourself permission to experience the positive impact five minutes of focused nurturing can have in your day.

Here are some self-nurturing practices that you can engage in for five minutes to change your day:

  1. Connect to Your Breath. Even ten intentional breaths in and out can change your brain, bring you to the present moment, ground you, calm your nervous system, and connect you to your body.
  2. Go Outside. If you have been in your home for an extended period of time, going outside can be refreshing, provide a new perspective and break, and allow you to focus on the clouds, nature, other people, and life outside your home. It may also give you an opportunity to connect with your neighbors.
  3. Take a Walk or Exercise. Even five minutes of moving your body can be nurturing to your health and well-being. Try jumping jacks, a few yoga postures, or walking around the block.
  4. Pet Your Animal. It is amazing how nurturing it can be to cuddle your pet or beloved animal. Research shows that petting animals decreases stress and increase overall sense of calm and happiness.
  5. Aromatherapy. Using essential oils can transform your mood and add to your overall sense of well-being. You can use uplifting oils, like sweet orange or tangerine in your diffuser or add essential oils to your lotion in the morning to energize or calm you depending on the oil.
  6. Play a Game. This is a favorite option in our home as my husband is a board game maker and we play games throughout the day. We tested if it was possible to play a game in 5 minutes and indeed it is – just choose the game wisely!
  7. Listen to Music. Choose one or two of your favorite songs to listen to and if you feel inspired dance your heart out.
  8. Talk to a Friend. Reach out to a friend to give and receive support.
  9. Paint a Rock or Color. Being creative is a fabulous way to nurture and express yourself. I have a few friends that are painting beautiful patterns and inspiring words on rocks and then leaving them around their neighborhoods to bring joy to others.
  10. Write a Note to Family or Friends. In this time of social distancing finding ways to stay connected is more important than ever and deeply nurturing. Challenge yourself to reach out to a few people each week, let them know you are thinking about them and nurture your relationships.
  11. Journal. This powerful practice can allow you to process your experiences, deepen your understanding and awareness of yourself, and affirm your feelings.
  12. Read Something Inspiring. There is no end to inspiring reading material. Give yourself permission to explore and nurture your inspiration.
  13. Declutter. Choose a drawer, cabinet, or area of the room you can declutter in 5 minutes and feel the spaciousness and freedom that decluttering can provide.
  14. Cultivate Your Gratitude and Acknowledgement Practice. Spend five minutes a day writing down what you are grateful for and what you acknowledge yourself for doing. Be sure to include your commitment to nurturing yourself!

May you be inspired to try a variety self-nurturing practices for five minutes a day, as you nurture peace in the world from the inside out!

Sending you peace, love and gratitude, Kelley

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Looking for daily inspiration to live with more peace, joy and meaning? The Cultivating Peace and Joy Mobile App will encourage and inspire you every day to nurture yourself by providing beautiful self-nurturing prompts, quotes, images and ideas. Give yourself the gift of daily self-nurturing reminders and encouragement. Download your free mobile app today!

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Kelley Grimes, MSW About Kelley Grimes, MSW

Kelley Grimes, MSW, is a counselor, speaker, internationally bestselling author and self-nurturing expert. She is passionate about empowering overwhelmed and exhausted individuals to live with more peace, joy, and meaning through the practice of self-nurturing. Kelley also provides professional and leadership development to organizations dedicated to making the world a better place and is an Aspire Magazine expert columnist. She is married to an artist, has two empowered daughters, and loves singing with a small women’s group. Learn more at www.cultivatingpeaceandjoy.com and be sure to claim her free Cultivating Peace and Joy mobile app