Self-care ideas when you're short on time
Enjoy Life! Time Management & Productivity

Self-Care Ideas When You Don’t Have Much Time

When you think about self-care ideas, what comes to your mind?

Perhaps some of those super-complex rituals which revitalize you, but seem to last forever.

(like a bubble bath mixed with candles, light music, and a drink in your hand, following a previously done manicure and a facial)

So you may believe there is no way you could possibly find the time for self-care in your already jam-packed day, right?

Not quite…

Although having more free time does help, and can make your self-care routine really feel like visiting the spa, there are activities you can still do to take care of yourself without taking their toll on a time you have at your disposal.

Now, they might not be as luxurious as previously described, but your body, mind, or soul will surely benefit from them.

And that’s the true point of self-care.

Here are some quick self-care ideas that you can do when you’re short on time.

The best part?

Each one doesn’t take longer than 5 minutes.

You can surely give yourself at least that amount of time.

As you already know, self-care comes in different forms, and that’s why I’ve decided to break these self-care ideas into categories, depending on what you might need in a moment.

Whichever activity you choose, rest assured you’re doing a favor to a very special person – yourself.

Self-care ideas to recharge your body

Stretch a bit

No, you don’t need to place your yoga mat or do a full-body workout.

Just stretching your body a bit will help you feel less tense, and it doesn’t have to last longer than 5 minutes.

Plus, you don’t have to be a fitness expert (or need one) to do this.

You know, just regular warm-up exercises are all that it takes.

Stand up straight, stretch your neck, arms, and legs a bit.

Any exercise you may think of which will make you feel more elastic (or like you’ve instantly grown a few inches) will be good enough to do the job.

And some of these can be done even while sitting, so you can practice this activity almost anywhere you are, even while working on some other task.

(yes, I’m beginning to flow into the blurry waters of multitasking this way, but as you can see, it’s not all evil, despite what the majority says) 😉

Summary – stretch!

There is a time, and you can do it anywhere.

Take a healthy snack

Maintaining stable glucose (a.k.a. sugar) level in your bloodstream is what gives your body the fuel to steadily function in its prime throughout the day.

But, of course, I’m not telling you to eat candies and get the sugar that way.

Did you know that any food you take contains some level of sugar in it (yup, even if it doesn’t taste sweet)?

And having more smaller meals instead of 3 (or maybe even 2!) large ones is recommended.

That’s the equivalent of having regular snacks between the main meals.

So, with a wide variety of healthy food and snacks, you have a lot of options to choose from.

And don’t roll your eyes and think you now have to make drastic changes to your meal planning routine or spend a lot of time preparing them.

The most healthier, ready-to-go, no-prep healthy snacks are nuts and fresh or dry fruits (for extra sweetness).

Preparing and consuming time – 5 minutes.

Just what we’re talking about here.

15 Self Care Ideas You Can Treat Yourself With Even If You’re Short On Time Click To Tweet

Drink some water

Speaking of eating healthy food, you must not forget the importance of water intake as well.

Of all self-care ideas that recharge your body, this can by far be the quickest self-care activity you can do for yourself in a day.

No matter how much water you aim to drink in a day, at any moment in a day you can take a sip or two, and little by little you’ll reach the amount you’ve set.

Believe it or not, as simple as this self-care activity might seem, I’ve struggled with it for a very long time!

(if you’re interested to know about my crazy story, you can read all about it here)

What helped me succeed is having a habit tracker and keeping a bottle of water within my arm’s reach.

Printable habit tracker set bullet journal templates

Crazy simple and super quick to do, yet amazingly effective.

Do 10 squats

From time to time, I can get carried away by the work I do on my computer, and before I know it, my feet and my palms become cold – which is an obvious (and not good!) sign of poor blood circulation.

(I have to admit, this happens to me more often than I would like!)

That’s the moment when I realize I really should get my butt up and do some exercise to get the blood flowing.

Therefore, if your day (or some part of it) consists of one or more long periods of time when you have to sit or be still in one place, don’t wait (like me) for your hands or feet to become cold to do a little workout.

Doing only 10 to 20 squats placed in between your static work is a quick and simple exercise your body needs to maintain its balance.

(check out 16 health and fitness trackers that you can add to your bullet journal or planner to pay more attention to your body’s well-being)

Just breathe

When you think you don’t have enough time and stress is starting to take over, then is the right moment to take a quick break and get a fresh perspective.

Do you know how they say when you’re upset or angry you should breathe deep and slowly count to 10?

It was not said without a reason.

Breathing deep helps our body relax and de-stress.

Therefore it’s no wonder why meditation includes various breathing techniques.

This adds more oxygen to our body and slows down the heart rate, giving the feeling of a clearer mind at the same time.

However, you don’t have to be a zen-master to practice this activity.

Slowly take a deep breath, hold it for a while, and then slowly exhale.

Repeat it several times and you’ll instantly feel refreshed and calm.

And when you look at the clock – what a wonderful surprise!

This activity only took a few minutes.

15 quick and easy self-care activities infographic

Self-care ideas to feed your mind

Read a book / listen to an audiobook

Nothing quite like reading a book to broaden your horizons, inspire, or entertain your mind.

I know, you may think what kind of book can be read for 5 minutes to receive these benefits?

Not novels, that’s for sure!

(although you can read them like this as well. as you know, little by little, it adds up until you’ve completed the entire book)

In this case, what I recommend reading are books that are round-ups of quotes or short thoughts on various subjects.

I’m currently reading a book called “Signs by the roadside” by Ivo Andric, a series of short texts that are really quick to read, but very thought-provoking, and insightful.

You’ve probably never heard of it, but I do recommend you take a look.

(I’m not an affiliate, just think it’s a very good book, for this or any other reading time)

A different option is to read some book that contains Latin quotes (for example) or look around for some other type of book that might spark your interest.

And let’s not forget.

Maybe an even quicker way to “read” a part of the book in 5 minutes or less, is to use an audio version of it (if available).

This way a book might also be more accessible to you, no matter where you are at the moment.

Have a brief meditation

When a day becomes overwhelming, you’d better take a step back and unwind in order to clear your mind and recharge it, so you can tune in better later on.

One quick way to do this is to have a brief meditation session.

Now you may think you need to have more free time in a day for it, or get a mental image of a lotus-pose eastern master doing its thing, and instantly think “Meh, this mumbo-jumbo is so not for me!… Neeext!”.

But, wait!

Meditation is a way to better tune in to yourself, not an exercise to become the next most elastic person on Earth.

So cross that off from your mind and do these simple things instead.

Start with a pose you’re comfortable with.

You may sit, lie down, or even walk if that’s what makes you feel relaxed.

Slow down by breathing in and out a few times and engaging your senses.

Notice the world around you – what you see, smell, hear, and taste.

Become aware of how you feel at the moment – physically and emotionally.

This easy activity will help you focus on the present, slow down, and clear your mind so you can have more room for productive ideas to come in.

Go to your hobby

Having a creative vent to explore your passions is always a good thing.

A hobby enables you to enjoy your interests and helps your personal development grow, making your life richer and more fulfilling.

Now, depending on your hobby, having 5 minutes of time will often not suffice to actually DO something about it, that’s true.

However, it’s more than enough to mentally step away from the rush of your everyday tasks and brainstorm one or a few ideas you could try out in the future.

Whether it’s something you’ll actually work on for your next hobby-project, learning a new skill, or improving a certain aspect of it – the choice is all yours.

Don’t forget to keep a record of those ideas on some of your lists and, by all means, mark a day in your planner to actually dedicate yourself to them.

Ultimate Bullet Journal Set - more than 100 printable template pages for your next bujo

Solve a crossword puzzle or sudoku

Another way to engage your mind and have fun at the same time is by doing a crossword puzzle or sudoku.

Your brain will get its daily dose of gymnastics, and you could even learn some new things along the way and diversify your knowledge.

Write in your journal

It may be your bullet journal, a diary, self-care journal, a regular planner, or even a simple notebook.

Printable bullet journal beginners set templates

Any item you use to write down your thoughts, feelings, and ideas is good.

Use a small moment of your time to do a brain dump, or write down some of those ideas which buzz around in your mind.

Mark how you feel, think of the ways you can improve some of your life aspects, or briefly reflect on your thoughts.

Your journal can be a place where you can observe the evolution of your mind and soul.

And if you already keep this type of journal, sometimes you even don’t need to write down anything in it.

Just listing the pages you’ve already filled out could help you get the inspiration going.

Alternatively, you can draw a doodle or a few to both grow your creativity and lessen the tension you might feel.

Inspirational quote - there is not enough time to make up for the life you'll miss by not filling yourself up

Self-care ideas to cheer up your soul

Make a gratitude list

If you feel down, and things don’t seem to be going great, it’s time to take a quick pause and have a look back.

Think about the things in your life you are grateful for and write them down.

Sometimes, a mind might seem “jammed” and you might not have a long list to write about.

And that’s ok.

For a start, write down just one thing you’re genuinely grateful for.

Yup, no more than one will be quite enough to cheer up your soul.

Start from there, and expand it.

Think about the ways that one thing impacted your life for the better, what pleasant moments you already had from it, what good has it brought to your life, and what you were able to do/experience from it.

Sure enough to cheer up your soul in no time.

Take a look at this post to see which lists you should keep that’ll help you both do the work and feel happy and content about the life you live.

Give or receive a hug

A simple thing as giving or receiving a hug is something that instantly warms up the soul, both yours and the person you’re hugging with.

It could be your partner, a child, a family member, a friend, or even your pet.

(I also have posts of fun things to do in a relationship or with your family and friends you could check out, as well)

Are you alone at the moment?

Here’s one weird tip.

You can actually hug anything and you’ll feel better.

(as an example, ever tried hugging a tree? Am I the only one who did this at some point in time?! Impossible!)

Okay, maybe it’s not THE SAME feeling as hugging a living being (which belongs to the Animalia kingdom), but it still feels good, you know?

Try it out if you don’t believe me! 😉

A List Of Simple But Effective Self Care Activities For Body, Mind, And Soul Which You Can Do In 5 Minutes Or Less Click To Tweet

Look at your vision board

Sometimes life takes us on a different road than the one we’d like to be at.

Your vision board, as a graphic image of a life you want to have, is the perfect place you should visit to remind yourself of the image of a lifestyle you wish to lead.

Just by looking at it and visualizing yourself living out that lifestyle can give you the feeling of happiness that could both excite and calm you down at the same moment.

Here’s how.

It can excite you because of its possibility to become a reality and calm you because you might feel as if it’s already happening to you.

(now see what I mean?)

It’s also the right place to reconnect with your dreams and goals, and become inspired to take action to achieve them.

Listen to some music

Listening to some music is one of the items on this list of self-care ideas because music has a talent to deeply touch anyone’s soul.

You can also find the right music for any occasion, and a song to elicit any human emotion you can (and can’t!) imagine.

So take advantage of this feature music has to offer you, and from time to time (or even more often 😉 ) listen to songs that’ll lift up your spirit and cheer up your soul.

Make a playlist of the melodies that make you feel energized, happy, empowered – like you can conquer the world.

(at the moment, the song which speaks to me the most and sends shivers down my spine -for real!- is Innuendo by Queen – I LOVE it!)

Keep those songs at least on your phone, so you can listen to them wherever you are, whenever you want.

Need to say anything more?


Find a reason to smile, and no matter how frequently you do it – do it more often.

Reading a funny book or watching a comic movie could do the job.

But, since we’re talking about self-care ideas that you can practice in 5 minutes or less, there surely won’t be enough time for those activities.

However, there are other ways that will make you laugh in no time.

Remind yourself of some funny anecdote from your life, or have an easily accessible place where you’ll keep funny jokes or memes you’ve found online to go to.

(on my Pinterest account I have a board dedicated to the things I find to be funny)

Keep in mind,

Life is better when you’re laughing.

And so you came to the end of this list of self-care ideas you can practice even when you’re short on time.

If you liked it, take a moment of your time, and please share it.

(many thanks for it!)

Also, feel free to leave a comment and let the world know your thoughts. 😉

Love yourself!

Pssst... Here are more related posts just for you, dear! 😉

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