Instant self-care: 15 ways to recharge in 15 minutes

Written by: Karl Sakas

A client told me during a weekly check-in that he was feeling overwhelmed by all of his responsibilities. I recommended a few “instant self-care” options—things he could try for 15 minutes that’s 100% about him. I expanded the list to include what’s here.

Some of these will depend on what’s around you and what’s nearby, and whether you can lock your office door—and they won’t fix the underlying source of your stress. But I bet you can apply at least a few of these to make things easier, to make space to find longer-term solutions.

Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.

1) Turn off your phone and email. Turn off the lights. Lock the door. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Rest.

2) Walk around the block… or around the parking lot. If you can, grab your favorite beverage from a coffee shop that’s a little farther away than your usual place.

3) Do something active. Stretch. Do some push-ups, sit-ups, and/or jumping jacks.

4) Make yourself a healthy[-ish] snack. Cut up an apple, munch on frozen grapes, or put together a turkey wrap.

5) Drink a bottle of infused lemon water. You can make it with strawberries, cucumber, or oranges, or anything else that would make your water more interesting. Hydrate. (I know I’m usually under-hydrated.)

6) Light a candle, put on some music, close your eyes and focus on the smells and sounds. Lock your door and put up your “Do Not Disturb” messages.

7) Call someone you like. Have a quick chat about how the day is going and catch up. Say at the beginning you had a few spare minutes and wanted to check-in. Don’t let yourself linger on the call too long. (Or if it’s going great, that’s OK, too.)

8) Visit a nearby park. Sit on a bench and people watch. Take a walk. (May take longer than 15 minutes, depending on where the park’s located.)

9) Read a chapter of a book—or however many pages you can get through in 15 minutes.

10) If you work from home, take a shower and get back to your desk refreshed.

11) Research a place you’ve always wanted to visit.

12) Water your plants, or do other simple office chores. If you don’t have a plant, find (or order) one.

13) Make yourself some tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.

14) Take a nap. If you’re feeling drained, drink some coffee or tea and rest your eyes for 15 minutes until the caffeine kicks in.

15) Give yourself something to look forward to later. Set up a dinner with friends, or a loved one.

Question: What do you do for self-care when you’re feeling overwhelmed?

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