Mental Wellness

20 Ways to Find 5 Minutes for Yourself

Time is such a funny thing.

When I was a single, fresh college graduate, working a full-time job – I thought I was so busy. After I got married, whoa! I had no idea I could be this busy.

After I had one child – my whole world was rocked. Now I was really busy.

But wait – I added a second child.

Just when I thought things could not be more busy – I added school into the mix.

The funny thing is, knowing what I know now, as a once-fulltime working mom of two kids – I could have fit way more into my supposedly busy days of having one responsibility (working fulltime).

These days we have more to do than ever before. Of course, part of that includes our social media scrolling, binging full TV seasons in 1-2 days and checking emails for the billionth time in a day.

It is absolutely possible (did you hear me – I said possible) to find five minutes of time just for you. This is regardless of what your schedule looks like. I used these strategies when I was working full-time and now that I am at home with my kids full-time.

I want to be clear, this isn’t five minutes to social media scroll or quickly clean the house. It’s not time to look over your insane schedule and plan this or that. It’s not time to send emails and obsess over your to-dos. This is quiet time. This is five minutes to give you a little bit of breathing room. Use this time to meditate, journal, pray, read, create awareness and to just breathe.

  1. Wake up early: If you get up five minutes earlier than you need to – you can start your day with intention. I’ve noticed when I wake up late (or even on time) I’m starting my day behind. I’m starting it trying to keep up and catch my breathe.
  2. Stay up five minutes late: Most parents stay up later than their kids anyway, why not schedule in some “you time?” Just turn off Netflix five minutes early to sit and be. Trust me – the show isn’t as good as your well-being.
  3. Take a walk: This is my favorite on the list. I used this while I was working and now that I’m at home.

    In the news business it can feel like there is no down time. I remember at one point telling someone I didn’t even have time to go to the bathroom. Maybe you’ll have to make some changes to get to this point – maybe that means less chatting with your co-workers, packing a lunch so you don’t have to go out to buy or staying off social media to save time (studies say employees are costing companies TRILLIONS of dollars by wasting their time on Facebook.) Instead, go outside and walk. Leave the phone in your back pocket and the earbuds on your desk. Just take the five minutes. Especially when I was working – this five minutes of peace helped me get a handle on what was sure to be a busy and stress-filled day.This also works perfectly for stay-at-home-parents. Throw your kids in a stroller and walk. You don’t need to be entertaining them for every minute of the day. In fact, when you’re not engaging them for just five minutes of this walk – you’re also teaching them how to slow down and just be.

  4. Get to your destination 5 minutes early: Okay, I’m not an early person. BUT this can help by leaps and bounds. I started getting to my son’s school five minutes before pick-up. Instead of scrolling through social media – I brought a book along. Five easy minutes for your soul.
  5. Sit in your car for 5 minutes: When you get home, it’s okay to sit in the driveway for a minute. It’s even okay to do this when there are kids in the back. If the kids are hating every minute of it – you can tell them you’re starting car quiet time or they can think of the things their most grateful for. And if you have to – turn on the radio.
  6. Let your children watch a TV show: It’s okay for kids to have screen time. The recommendation is currently a max of two hours. It’s very easy to use your child’s screen time as a chance to catch up on cleaning, make dinner and respond to all those online notifications. But I want to challenge you to take at least the first five minutes to do nothing at all.
  7. Find peace in the things you have to do: I remember when we moved into our home without a sprinkler system for the backyard. Ah! How would I ever find the time?!

    Then my father-in-law said, “If the worst thing about your day is you have to come out to a beautiful backyard and water it by hand – then you’re not doing too bad.” When you’re doing the things you have to do – watering the lawn, doing the dishes, mopping, cooking – take your five minutes simultaneously.Turn off the literal noise and keep the worrying and to-dos in your mind to a minimum. Instead, focus on the now and what you are doing in the moment.

  8. Take a shower: When all else fails – get that free time in the shower. Just remember to keep that over-active mind to a minimum.
  9. Take 5 minutes between responsibilities: While I was working – this was tough. I would race to work, then race to drop my son off at school, then race to finish work, race to let the nanny go, race to get dinner done, race to get the kids in bed so I could get adequate-ish sleep by the next morning’s 1:45 a.m. alarm. But once I made my ‘me time’ a priority I was able to slow down.

    You might need to adjust your schedule a bit. For me, I needed to hire a nanny who didn’t have to be out of my house 10 minutes after my shift ended.

  10. Take advantage of children’s naps: Don’t use your child’s entire naps for the cleaning and catching up. Take the first five minutes to yourself. Turn off the phone, sit down on the couch and just be.
  11. Take advantage of time in the car: Sometimes while driving with my kids I zone out. Of course I’m still paying attention to where I’m driving, but I stop trying to entertain my kids and teach them. I turn on a digital children’s book and for five minutes I clear my mind.
  12. Facebook Vs. Free time: Social media is taking away what would have once been your personal time. Even a walk to a bathroom now includes a glance at your social media sites. Instead, leave your phone in the living room or at your desk – walk to the bathroom/kitchen/wherever without your phone. Take however many minutes you can get in the hallway, in the elevator or on the way to the conference room.
  13. Just be: I know – I’ve said this a lot in this post. When life is crazy and you just don’t think you can take the five minutes – just be.When I was working – I would “just be” while anchoring. That means I would be very present in what I was doing. I let go  of all my concerns, to-dos and what was next so I could just focus on my job.At home, I do the same as I watch my kids play. I just let it all go – to watch my kiddos play.
  14. Institute Quiet Time for the Whole Family: This not only gives you some time to be alone – it also teaches your children the value of quiet time.
  15. SCHEDULE! Look, this isn’t going to happen if you don’t prioritize it. At the beginning of your day, decide when you’ll take five minutes to think of nothing.

I asked about this on Facebook and chose five of my favorite comments for the list.

16. Going to the Gym: I love this idea from Shandra Rose Hill. She heads to the gym and checks her kids in at the daycare room.

17. Stop & Smile: Bradley Santos said he just stops what he does and smiles… for five minutes worth.

18. Prioritize: Jan Ball Jones puts a timer on the phone each day at the same time to make sure she fits in the personal time.

19. Bathroom Privacy: I laughed at how many times people commented that they get their five minutes by sneaking away to the bathroom. Hilarious, but it totally works (for home and work!).

20. During Lunch: Tracy Weisz said, “I try to sneak it in while they’re eating because they take forever to eat!”

Check out my Happiness in Progress podcast about meditation or prioritizing yourself for more ideas on how to put yourself first (at least for five minutes!).

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