Quickies: 10 Minutes to a More Balanced Life

Previously in Life Is Now, I talked about "tuning in" to nurture the dormant parts of our selves ("Tune In to Turn On! Speak Your Truth"). Even as we awaken our full potentials, it’s easy to fall out of balance when money concerns, responsibilities, and cramped schedules distract us from self-care. But it only takes 10 minutes to cultivate greater balance.

First, determine which of your needs aren’t being met. If you aren’t sure, use this self-assessment. Then, choose an activity that will help restore balance to that part of your self and your life. Whether that means crossing an item off your to-do list or indulging in a special treat, devote a few minutes each day to your mental health and you will begin to feel more peaceful and fulfilled. Consider these mental health quickies:

Restore and Replenish

· Walk, do sit-ups, or jump rope
· Eat a snack
· Take a nap
· Breathe deeply
· Cook or find a new recipe to try
· Drink a cup of tea
· Put your feet up
· Stretch
· Do a few yoga poses
· Find a cause and sign up to volunteer

Repair and Resolve

· Hire a babysitter
· Ask someone else to cook
· Make an appointment to see a therapist
· Do the dishes
· Ask for help with a project
· Balance your checkbook
· Plan a day off
· Organize your work area
· Call about an overdue doctor/dentist/service appointment
· Catch up on e-mail

Nurture and Connect

· Talk or write to a friend
· Lay in a hammock
· Meditate or pray
· Pay a compliment
· Watch the sunrise/sunset
· Get and give hugs
· Sit in a park
· Give thanks verbally or in writing
· Plant something
· Inhale your favorite scent

Comfort and Indulge

· Change into sweats, pajamas, or slippers
· Dry off with towels warmed in the dryer
· Buy fresh flowers for your home
· Take a warm bubble bath
· Get lost in a magazine or book
· Buy a present—for you or someone else
· Hug a stuffed animal
· Listen to a comedy CD or mp3
· Fantasize or daydream
· Kiss or make love (what “quickie” list would be complete without this?)

Create and Play

· Write in a journal
· Shoot some hoops
· Dance or sing to a favorite song
· Color in a coloring book
· Work on a jigsaw puzzle, crossword, or Sudoku
· Play an instrument
· Work in the garden
· Swing on a swing
· Play with your children or pets
· Tell a joke

Print and try these "mental health quickies" when you need more balance in your life. Commit to spending just ten or fifteen minutes a day to care for your self. You deserve it!

What can you add to the list? How do you carve out time to take care of yourself? Share your ideas and stress relief strategies with us by adding a comment.