Five Ways to Unwind in Under 10 Minutes
My uncle once told me that I should learn to enjoy the slow seasons in life, to rest, and to take the downtime as a gift. Before long, he warned, the floodgates will open, and there will be a lot going on.
"When the busyness sets in, you’ll wish you had rested."
I’ve found that to be true in my life, and I’ve also learned that it’s important to carve out time during the busy season to unwind and refocus. Rest does beautiful things to the mind, body, and spirit. The problem is that when you’re in the midst of a flood, sometimes you don’t have the time to breath--let alone time to relax. On the other hand, there are a few things I’ve learned to try when time is short, including:
- Write in detail. Focus your mind on a single, happy, or relaxing memory. Whether you’re recalling the Christmas dinner you ate when you were ten, or last week’s walk in the park, try to describe it as deeply as possible. If you write about Christmas, think about how the Christmas goose looked, how it smelled and tasted. What sides were served? Did you eat your meal off a paper plate or a ceramic one? Who was there with you and what were they wearing? If you’re writing about the walk, think about the different noises you heard, the weather, and the way your legs felt. Dive into the memory as much as you can. This is one of my favorite things to do because it’s hard to be anxious when you’re thinking about something joyful to such an extent.
- Meditate. This practice gets a bad rap sometimes, but meditation is something that even the early church leaders did to refocus. My favorite way to meditate is to use scripture. Often I’ll read a verse, then close my eyes and think about it. Pushing all of my other thoughts aside, I replay the words over and over, letting them sink in.
- Declutter something (AKA: practice the art of letting go). I tend to accumulate stuff. I’ve usually got stacks of papers on my desk, old mail on the kitchen counter, and clothes in my closet that I haven’t worn in a long time. Now and then, it’s refreshing to go through one of those things and throw out or donate what I don’t need. The trick here is to be honest and thoughtful, and to appreciate the free space that becomes available.
- Prayer-walking. Taking a stroll around the block can help, but adding the element of prayers helps you train your thoughts. When I prayer-walk, I try to focus on other people, loved ones, and friends rather than my problems. That helps me focus outward instead of inward, and it forces me to cast my anxieties on God, trusting that he already knows my needs and desires.
- Listen to your favorite song. This one is probably the easiest and least time-consuming thing you can do. There’s something about music that draws us in and invites us to experience the world from another perspective. To make this practice more meaningful, close your eyes and try to take in what the artist is saying, or listening to the combination of notes. Clear your mind of everything else and simply listen.
These are all things that I’ve done in the past, or still do today to de-stress and refocus, whether it’s first thing in the morning, at lunch, or before bed. If you’re in a busy season, try scheduling ten minutes to unwind each day (sometimes it doesn’t happen unless it’s written somewhere). I promise the benefits are worth it!
What are some other methods that you use to unwind in a short amount of time?