Pay Attention: How Are You Breathing?
You just got a huge project pushed onto your already-overloaded to-do list, or maybe your roast for your dinner party came out tough and stringy. Now you have to figure out how to reprioritize everything you need to do, or calculate if you have time to whip up a different entrée so your party isn’t a total bust. Before you begin running around trying to solve all your problems at once, pause and pay attention to how you’re breathing.
Sure, you need to breathe to live, but when’s the last time you really paid attention to how you’re breathing? The kind of breathing you do naturally under stress is shallow breathing. But you can try focused breathing to help reset if you’re feeling stressed or angry. Your body’s natural response in those states is to breathe harder and shallowly. Instead, take a second—or six—to focus on your breathing, which gives you a chance to connect with your body and be present in the moment.
It doesn’t have to be a big song and dance. Just shift your thinking away from whatever’s stressing you out (it can help to focus on calming imagery or a word or phrase), take a deep breath in through your nose, filling your lungs and letting your belly expand….and exhale. There. Don’t you feel better?
Got a few more seconds to spare? Try these breathing exercises to calm down when everything is terrible, and watch the rest of our series of six-second self-care videos.
Feeling Stressed? Try Stretching
Are you hunched over your phone or your computer right this very second? No judgment if you are—but do yourself a favor and take a second (or six!) to stretch.
If you haven’t already, add stretching to your daily routine. Stretching regularly can help strengthen your muscles and increase your flexibility, which in turn can improve your joint health. It can also help better your posture, reduce tension, and boost energy.
The best part is that stretching takes hardly any time at all. You can do it pretty much anywhere, and it feels SO. Good. So the next time you’re doing something that requires making repetitive motions—gardening, cooking, painting—take a moment to streeeetch it out. And for more quick ways to take care of yourself, watch the rest of our six-second self-care videos.
Use Your Water Break as a Mini Meditation
When you’re running around all day (as much as you wish, your chores won’t do themselves!), you might notice yourself feeling a little fatigued. Or maybe you have a headache or a muscle cramp. Think back—when’s the last time you drank some water?
According to the 2005–2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, on average, Americans drink 3.9 cups of water each day. You’ve probably heard that you should drink 8 cups of water a day, although how much you specifically should drink depends on a number of factors. (You can check how to really tell if you’re drinking enough water here.)
When you’re feeling ragged, take a moment to pause, and drink some water. (Plain water not to your taste? Try these fruit and herb combos to perk up your bev.) Not only will it help you stay hydrated, but you can use these precious few seconds to check in with yourself for a mini meditation. Remember, you have to take care of yourself so you can keep on making things happen. Watch the rest of our six-second self-care videos for ways to boost your well-being.
Feeling Overwhelmed? Look at Nature
When you have a ton of things on your plate, getting through the day can feel like an uphill battle. But you’re absolutely determined to cross off everything on your list, so you’ve girded your loins. All the same, after hours of flying through your to-do list, your concentration starts to flag (hey, you’re good, but not that good). We know you don’t want to stop, so here’s a trick that will take just a second—or six, to be precise: Look at some nature.
In one 2014 study, researchers found that when people were exposed to natural environments, the participants were calmer and less stressed. And they didn’t even have to be physically in nature—the same study reported that looking at photos of nature, as well as having artificial and potted plants around, also had restorative effects. Another study published in the journal Psychological Science found that when participants looked at photos of nature, their ability to focus was better than when they looked at pictures of urban settings.
Can’t see any greenery from where you’re sitting? No problem. Just watch our six-second video for a quick refresh before jumping back into the fray. And for more quick self-care strategies, watch the rest of our six-second videos.
Take Care of Yourself in 6 Seconds: Take a Multivitamin
Some days, it can just feel like your to-do list is miles long. You’ve got chores to do, a medicine cabinet to clean up, a garden to weed and water. Even if you enjoy the tasks at hand, you can feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of everything that needs to get done (why, oh why are there only 24 hours in a day?!). So take a second—or six, actually—for a little self-care. Support your health with a multivitamin like Centrum, which has essential nutrients that support your immune system, energy, and metabolism, so you don’t have to miss a beat. Looking for other quick and easy ways to take care of yourself? Click through the rest of our series of six-second self-care videos, and remember that a little self-care can go a long way.
Find other great health and wellness stories at BHG.com/Strive.