If you are short on time, there are “quick” activities that can give you many mental and physical benefits: walking, meditation, reading, breathing, stretching, talking with a friend, taking a nap, dancing.
The benefits they cause are good for the mind and body: mental stimulation, calm, social connections, muscle relaxation, gratification, rest.
Prioritizing wellness means devoting time-even brief but valuable time-to personal well-being, improving mental and physical health.
“I don’t have time to do [qualcosa che so che mi fa stare bene]”. How many times have you told yourself that? We all tell ourselves this sooner or later, and it is true: some things we like to do take up time and in the end, unfortunately, are the first to be sacrificed on the altar of commitments, work, and duties.
However, what if we told you that you can do many of them without committing that much time afterwards? That’s right: there are things that can make you feel good, distract you, give you serenity while not requiring much time. Like 15 minutes: is that little enough to commit to? Promise: it’s worth it.
Take a walk
The benefits of walking are now well known: it tones muscles, keeps blood pressure in check, and strengthens the heart but not only that. It is also and especially good for the mind because it allows it to sweep through its eyes into its surroundings, to be stimulated and thus to produce ideas and insights.
Indeed, it is proven that changing environment activates it, just as it is true that sitting in a place that is like a fixed scene and where nothing changes literally “puts the mind to sleep.” Then take it out and let it be free to express itself and generate ideas. Your feet and legs, however, will thank you.
There are many exercises you can do to breathe well, and doing them helps you increase concentration and contain or cancel states of anxiety. What breathing can do in a few minutes is underestimated and unbelievable. If you want to try it, here are six simple exercises to do.
Well, since you have been breathing why not take the next step? Meditation is in fact based on breathing and can be done even in 10-15 minute sessions. Its benefits are undeniable: it calms you down, increases your memory, and gives you peace of mind. Contrary to what you may think (which is then what is commonly known about meditation in the superficial descriptions you listen to around), it is a very physical activity, involving the senses and the body as well as the mind (not just the mind).
We could simplify by saying that it involves you completely and, therefore, if done well, it creates harmony between mind and body. And where have you heard this story of body and mind in harmony before? That’s right: in running and, in general, in physical activity.
Have a stretching session
A good way to reconnect with your body that is often neglected during the day is to have a stretching session. The good thing is that it helps a lot to make the muscles more elastic, it stretches the fibers and fortifies them, and it doesn’t take up as much energy, so you can do it without fear of sweating and having to take a shower right afterwards. The important thing is to always do it a few hours after practice, never right before or right after.
If, on the other hand, you feel like breaking a sweat and really want to think about nothing, a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout is for you. 10 to 15 minutes at a very fast pace with guaranteed results. And afterwards, a good shower, because you will sweat a lot. But if you don’t want to put in too much effort, the 5 Tibetans are for you: simple and very quick exercises. With one caveat: for them to be effective, you have to practice them every day. They take up little time and that is why you should NOT ever skip them.
Call a friend
Wellness also comes from sharing and connections. Instead, many researches show that loneliness is a major contributor to quality of life.
Maintaining relationships with friends and those closest to you is good for you and them and improves everyone’s life. Calling a friend -even for a few minutes – can strengthen relationships and warm the heart, especially in difficult times. Even if only to talk, even if only to be heard.
You must have realized by now that being well also means allowing thoughts to leave your mind. One way to do this is undoubtedly to run but another is to keep a journal. Writing allows you to order your thoughts, give the right weight to things, and see them from a different point of view. Everything becomes big when we keep it inside, and it is no accident that we sometimes speak of the mind as a cave inside which we feel safe but where everything can also have distorted dimensions.
When we transfer to paper (or screen) what is in our heads, letting it flow out in a stream of consciousness, something miraculous happens: we get rid of it or at least lighten the load.
In short, try to write down what you do during the day, what you eat, the feelings you had while running, what you thought about, the people you met, the conversations you had. You will help your memory and most importantly you will lighten up.
Do you feel you have nothing interesting to write about? Try then to note down things or people toward whom you are grateful to. That’s why they call it “The Gratitude Journal,” and it sounds new age or crazy, but feeling capable of gratitude makes you appreciate the things that really matter and makes you feel better.
Read a few pages of a book
We often repeat an African saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” A book can be scary: it contains hundreds of pages and reading it all can take hours and hours. But you don’t have to do it in one session. Little by little, 3-4 pages now and another 7-8 before you fall asleep you can conquer it and finish it.
So, if you have a spare moment, if you don’t feel like doing anything else, if you’re in line at the Post Office, open a book and read it-it’s guaranteed to make time flow faster and give your mind what it likes so much: the gratification of having done something.
Take a nap
How good it sounds and is a nap? The benefits it gives are countless: it refreshes, recharges, breaks up the day. We love naps! Isn’t it nice to be able to have compelling dreams even in such a short time? In fact, it only takes 15 to 20 minutes to take a little dream trip, but don’t overdo it: sleeping an hour or more during the day will give you a long-lasting daze. And it will make the rest of the day more difficult.
We often say that, as we have become adults, we have forgotten how good it is to play and run. However, we should add another activity that we often forget to practice: dancing! If you notice, it’s a very intimate thing that you stopped doing-if you ever did-just as you stopped drawing: because someone told you you weren’t good at it. In fact, we talk about “dancing” and not “dancing well.” Who cares how you dance, the important thing is to do it!
After all, it is a physical activity that releases emotions and allows the mind and body to let off steam. In short, it allows you to express yourself, and the great thing is that you can do it even in solitude, so you don’t have to fear judgment from others, if you ever gave a damn.