Does it feel like you have too much to do and not enough time to manage stress in your life? You’re not alone. We all have stress in our lives, and not knowing how to manage time and stress is a recipe for disaster, particularly for our mental health. Responsibilities relating to our family, friends, work, health, and more can become very demanding, and it may feel like you don’t have time for stress-management skills. But if you know how to manage your time, you can find little ways to manage stress. The trick is to know what you can do for yourself in small quantities of time. In order to stay healthy, happy, and productive even when you’re experiencing a lot of stress, it’s important to understand how and where you can incorporate quick stress-relieving activities throughout your day.
Below are 15 different ways that you can manage stress even when you only have 5 minutes or less. Consider which activities you are already doing in your life and which ones you may want to adopt. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. What works for you might not work for others because we are all different, and we each have different needs. Focus on what helps YOU manage stress.
- Meditate – when you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be helpful to focus on your breathing for just a couple of minutes. You may even want to try counting as you notice each breath in and out.
- Step outside – that’s it. Literally, just go outside for a minute and feel the sun on your skin. It might help.
- Listen to a song – when you have time, make a playlist of songs that help you when you feel stressed, whether they are slow, calm songs or upbeat, happy songs. Find what works for you! Then when you feel stressed but only have 5 minutes, play one of your songs.
- Stretch your body – just a couple of quick stretches can make a big difference in how your body is feeling.
- Text someone – it can be so helpful to check in with those who you care about. Most people tend to isolate when feeling overwhelmed and stressed but connecting with others, even with a quick text message, is much healthier than isolating.
- Make a list – when it feels like everything around you is chaotic, grab a pen and paper and write down what’s on your mind.
- Play a phone game – simple games of all kinds can help give our minds a break during the day.
- Pick out a movie for later – if you only have a couple of minutes, pick out a movie for later so you have something to look forward to.
- Grab a blanket – or a pillow for your back. Make yourself as comfortable as possible when feeling overwhelmed.
- Light a candle – aromatherapy is always a good idea.
- Find an inspiring quote – especially a quote that you truly resonate with.
- Compliment yourself – reflect on what you love about yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s an important part of self-care.
- Look at funny memes / jokes – simply go online and amuse yourself with the latest memes.
- Create a goal – when we feel overwhelmed, setting a goal can help us feel like we are getting back on track.
- Write down a happy thought – even if it’s a silly one, write down anything that makes you feel good.