6 Ways to Relax When You Don't Have Any Time

Angela Tague
March 6, 2015

Need some new ways to relax? Here's how to get your zen on when you only have a few minutes day.

Are the lunches packed? Did you respond to all your emails? Who will take the car to the shop? With so much to do, hectic mornings have become the norm before the kids ship off to school and you head in to work. It's no wonder you need some ways to relax! Get some much-needed zen back in your life, and schedule some personal time into your day.

Here are six simple relaxation methods you can use when you only have a few minutes to spare:

  1. Breathe Deeply
    It sounds cliche, but deep breathing really helps! Holistic wellness coach Pax Tandon explains that breathing helps you feel calm by reducing your level of stress hormones. When you feel overwhelmed, "stop what you're doing [and] take a few deep cleansing breaths," Tandon says. "Focus on the way the breath feels as it flows through the nostrils and back out again, or on how the chest feels as it expands to accommodate your lungs as they fill with air." To relax throughout the day, she recommends placing small colorful stickers in random places, such as the bathroom mirror or the car dashboard, as a reminder to stop and take a deep breath.
  2. Use Your Hands
    Sherlyn Pang Luedtke, empowerment coach and author of "The Mommy Advantage," suggests sculpting with play dough. She says, "Squeezing, mashing, and creating with play dough nurtures your inner child." You could also use similar substances, such as silly putty and kinetic sand. Letting loose on this type of hands-on task momentarily diverts your attention from stressful situations, allowing you to feel refreshed when you return to work.
  3. Start a Journal
    Michele Pullo from HappyCalmChild likes to include relaxation techniques when she speaks publicly to parenting groups. If you only have a few minutes each evening to unwind, Pullo suggests journaling. Start by writing down a favorite memory with your child. Every time your kid says something adorable, write it down. "The next time you need a pick-me-up, go to your journal and relive these memories. Remembering the good moments will restore those nurturing feelings and ease your anxiety right on the spot," Pullo says.
  4. Meditate Mindfully
    You don't have to join a yoga studio to get your "om" on. Christine Marion-Jolicoeur, parenting coach and author of "The Joyful Parenting Workbook," recommends making meditation portable and quick. "Download a few different meditations on your phone that you can listen to on your commute, at the office or at home whenever you need a boost or a break," Marion-Jolicoeur suggests. Simply by focusing on the positive, encouraging messages, you'll feel more at ease and let go of tension in a matter of minutes, making you better prepared to take on your day. Healthline.com has reviewed the best meditation apps to help you get started.
  5. Enjoy Your Meals
    When it comes to eating lunch during your workday, make it one of your ways to relax. Don't check your messages or run errands. Instead, concentrate on your food, advises Dana Lin, co-founder of ZenLife Services, a company that focuses on reducing stress in the workplace. Lin practices what she preaches: "No matter how busy I get, I take my real break and take my time eating. I enjoy each bite. This helps me replenish, nourish and relax my mind and body before I head back into work again." Stepping away from the computer during meals gives your brain a mental break from the work environment, so take your next lunch break at a park or in a conference room overlooking outdoor scenery.
  6. Take a Soak
    Coax your mind into a naturally relaxed state by nurturing the body. Dr. Carolyn Dean, co-author of "The Complete Natural Guide to Women's Health," suggests soaking in a hot bath infused with Epsom salt. "Magnesium is known as the anti-stress, anti-anxiety mineral. Epsom salt, which is made of magnesium sulfate, will relax muscles and be absorbed directly through the skin," Dr. Dean says. For additional relaxation, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the water or light a scented candle.

Need more relaxation tips? Check out Care.com's Guide to Managing Stress.

Finding ways to relax may seem like a daunting task since you became a parent, but it's possible. Why wait? Carve out a few minutes today to try one of these ways to relax, and you'll be better equipped both as a parent and an employee to handle the surprises that come your way.

Angela writes about parenting, pet care and being a home-based writer. She and her husband live in Iowa with their two spoiled dogs.

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