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Self-care routine: From rundown to radiant on 10 minutes a day

How to help yourself to a little me-minute here and a few self-care-seconds there.

August 06, 2022 / 05:30 PM IST
While sitting at your desk, cup your palms over your eyes. Feel the relief flood through your eye muscles and, slowly, through your entire body. (Image: Hayley Murray via Unsplash)

While sitting at your desk, cup your palms over your eyes. Feel the relief flood through your eye muscles and, slowly, through your entire body. (Image: Hayley Murray via Unsplash)

“Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves,” said the Earl of Chesterfield.

Yes, we are all pressed for time. But what if there were a way to add a spring in your step and years to your life by stealing just 10 minutes—or 1/144th of your day—daily.

It gets better. You don’t need to wake up early or cut a meeting short. The trick is to keep doing whatever you normally do, just do it a little slower and with more attention.

Allow me to show you the way:

In the morning, before getting out of bed, treat yourself to some deep breathing and a long, lazy stretch. Eyes closed, give gratitude for your blessings and set your intention for the day. Keep it simple, such as “I will observe no-complaining day today.” Or, “I’ll complete my goal of writing 1,000 words by 6 pm today.” This helps you take control of your schedule, rather than letting the day sweep you along.

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Chances are, you rush through your morning brushing. Tomorrow, play a song while you polish your pearlies. Continue brushing at least until the song reaches halfway. “Good brushing should take at least two minutes, followed by vigorous swirling of water in your mouth,” says Delhi-based dentist Dr Manju Kaushik. As a bonus, you’ll get a little musical treat.

Treat your face to a mini-massage in the morning or at bedtime. Even a minute or two and you’ll feel the difference. Old routine: dab cream, run. New habit: feel your fingers as they travel up your neck and trace your cheeks in a gentle circular motion. Don’t forget the back of your ears. You’ll feel your facial muscles and your mind relax.

No time to sign up for a yoga class? “Try tadasana (mountain pose), perhaps while waiting for your coffee to brew or the printer to rev up,” recommends Delhi-based physiotherapist and yoga coach Zeeshan Ahmad. “It’s a fantastic circulation-boosting exercise and it takes a minute, max. Raise your arms above your head, then slowly rise on your toes as you breathe in. Count to five, exhale as you lower your feet back to the ground, and let your arms relax at the side of your body. Repeat three times.”

Nerves all knotted up? Let your hands hang loose, then shake them vigorously for half a minute or so. It’s an excellent way to release tension from your fingers. You can do this sitting or standing up. Each time you do it, visualise yourself shaking the stresses loose from your mind, too. It feels supremely comforting.

While sitting at your desk, cup your palms over your eyes. Feel the relief flood through your eye muscles and, slowly, through your entire body. “‘Palming’ or ‘cupping’ your eyes a few times a day calms and deepens your breathing, refreshes your mind and body, and gives you a mini-vacation in the comfort of your chair,” says Ambika Bhatt, mindfulness-based counselling practitioner.

At the end of a long day, splash your eyes gently with cold water a few times and dab them dry with a soft towel. You’ll feel the stress melt away. “My go-to remedy for dull skin is to rub an ice-cube all over my face,” says Aanshika Bhatnagar, who heads marketing for a premium beverage company. “It’s like hitting the refresh button at the end of a long day!”

Blink. There’s more to blinking than meets the eye. The simple action of closing your eyelids helps flush out tiny dust particles, filter out foreign bodies, and coat the eye with essential moisture. A study published in the American Academy of Optometry journal recommends paying special attention to blinking while working on your computer. Handy tip: a healthy adult eye should open and close about fifteen times a minute. Time your blinks; it might help you decide whether your eyes are under undue strain.

A lot of the day’s stress resides in the soles of your feet. Here’s an easy way to pamper them: Tuck a rolling pin under your bed; and just before climbing between the sheets, roll your feet gently along the pin for a mini-massage. Or keep a rolling pin or a foot-roller in your office drawer to use at work.

See, how easy it is to help yourself to a little me-minute here and a few self-care-seconds there—tiny crumbs of time sprinkled throughout your day. Try these tips and share them ahead!
Shubhra Krishan is an independent features writer. Views expressed are personal.
first published: Aug 6, 2022 05:30 pm
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