While we are big fans of understanding the science of self-care, we also acknowledge that sometimes you just need a quick little way to take care of yourself in order to keep your day moving along. So, if you’re having a rough day, a stressful encounter with another person, or just need a general pick-me-up, here are five quick things you can try.


1. Pictures

Find a picture of a loved one (a partner, child, grandparent, friend, or a pet!) or maybe a picture of a place (a favorite vacation spot, a special place from your childhood, a place you go to relax). Find a picture on the camera roll on your phone or search one on the internet. Take a moment to look at the picture and pause. Take a deep breath. Call to mind the peace and comfort the subject brings you.

Bonus: print and frame this picture and place it somewhere where you’ll see it when you need it – in the corner of your desk, near the light switch so you see it at the start and end of your day, etc.


2. Sweet Treats

Stash away a little collection of treats that make you feel energized. Small little pieces of chocolate, a favorite trail mix, fresh fruit… whatever it is that gives you a little pep in your step. It doesn’t need to be anything extravagant. As you take a bite of your little treat, enjoy it slowly. Experience the taste of it using your different senses. Pay attention to the way it tastes as you chew it. One mindful bite of something yummy can last with you for quite a while!

Bonus: pick a snack that brings you joy, whether it’s a colorful collection of fruit, a treat individually wrapped in fun packaging, or something that was a special treat when you were a child… picking something that has positive associations will double the impact!


3. Breathing

We always talk about breathing here at Momentous, and that’s because we know it works! Feel free to dive into the science of breathing, but here’s the short version. Taking slow, deliberate breaths slows down the nervous system, making you feel calmer and more relaxed. There are countless breathing strategies, but for something quick, try breathing in for four seconds, holding for four seconds, breathing out for four seconds, and holding for four seconds. Repeat several times.

Bonus: Make breathing a routine part of your day! Post a reminder on a sticky note, set an alarm on your phone, or make it a habit during certain activities so it becomes routine.


4. Take a Walk

Getting a change of scenery is one of the best self-care tools. So often, simply taking a minute to walk away from the situation that is causing stress is enough to turn things around. We can’t always walk away, but if we have even 2-3 minutes before our next obligation, putting down phones and closing laptops and just simply walking away can make all the difference. You don’t have to do much – just walk down the hall, open the front door and walk to the corner and back, or take a quick walk around the block. You’ll probably find that a quick walk is enough to take your mind off things and give you a little reset.

Bonus: Get outside! If you can walk outside, even better. The weather, time of day and location don’t always allow it, but finding ways to incorporate the outside into your day can be transformative.


5. Write it Down

One of the most important things we can do to manage our stress is to acknowledge it. It’s hard to work on solutions when we haven’t identified the problem. While we don’t always have access to therapy and extensive self-care routines, we all can do one simple thing, and that is write it out. This doesn’t have to be anything extensive. You don’t need a leather-bound journal and a cozy writing nook. You don’t even need a paper and pen! Jot down notes on your phone, on the back of an envelope, or in a dedicated notebook. Just acknowledging the stress and taking a moment to sit with it before taking any action at all is important. It’s okay if what you write down is something as simple as, “I’m having a hard time.” Naming it is the first step. From there, you can move forward with a genuine sense of what needs to be addressed.

Bonus: Make journaling a regular routine! Make it a nightly habit before bed, take five minutes at the start of the work day, or find another quick time of day to make it a routine.


Now, we know that none of these tips will magically cure you of your stressors, nor will they dramatically change your life. But small actions count! And each of these small actions may be just what you need to make it through another day.

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