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Take Care: Minimal and Maximal Techniques for a Mental Reset

LIFESTYLE

Some days, a hectic schedule means there’s only a minute to stop and breathe. Other days, we’re able to turn all of our attention inwards to see what our bodies and minds really need. But no matter what our day-to-day routines look like, self-care in some form is absolutely necessary, according to author Anna Borges who recently wrote The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care.*

Inspired by the duality of our new MINERALIST Hydra-Smoothing Lipstick and the idea that we each have a minimalist and maximalist side (and needs!), we turned to some of Anna’s tips on the best ways to embrace self-care — in a few seconds or a few weeks. Read on to find the kind of zen that’s best for you.

Minimal Self-Care Activities

If you have only a few seconds…

Laugh: As simple as it sounds, Anna says that laughter is the key to uplifting your mood in mere seconds. Start with one (HA!), then two (HA HA!), then three (HA HA HA!) and so on,” she says. “I have never made it to the seventh HA! without finding myself genuinely cracking up. Is it silly? Yes. But that’s the point; sometimes you need silly.”

If you have 1 minute…

Five Senses Exercise: For a quick fix that helps reboot your emotions, Anna suggests this minute-long exercise. “Like it sounds, it is bringing attention to the senses you’re experiencing, one by one, in the moment,” Anna says. First, notice five things in the world around you. Next, recognize four things you can physically feel. Then, listen for three sounds that would normally fizzle into the background. After that, pay attention to two things you can smell. And lastly, one thing you can taste “even if it’s as simple as zoning in on how you might describe the taste of the inside of your mouth.” The best part about this simple act of self-care is that you can do it wherever and whenever, whether you’re at work, in a long line to get coffee or just at home by yourself.

If you have a few minutes…

Guided Meditation: If you’re new to meditation, it might sound, well, intimidating. But we’re here to tell you that it’s possible to regain focus through guided meditation — even when you have just 3 or 4 minutes. Try downloading an app like Insight Timer or Headspace that provides short audio tracks to guide you throughout your short time, promoting conscious breath and focus.

Phone a Friend: Not sure you want to spend your time sitting still? Not to worry. You can also use a few minutes for a more active form of self-care. Try calling your favorite person, whether that’s a parent, sibling or long-distance BFF. Let them know that you need a quick pep talk. Sometimes self-care can mean asking others for help when you’re not feeling your best. You can always return the favor the next time they need a call.

Maximal Self-Care Activities

If you have 1 day…

Take a Mental Health Day: Shoulders up to your ears? A sick day doesn’t have to involve sneezing and sniffles; sometimes stress can get the best of us and we just need to take a step back. Anna suggests taking full advantage of these days to care for your future self. “According to therapists, you’ll feel much better if you plan out what you’ll do when you take them,” she says. “A good mental health day should be action- or task-filled, because you feel better when you’re productive and living with purpose.”

Then again, if you’ve pushed yourself too far and you feel like you just need to rest, Anna advises that you should listen to your body above all. “We all need a blanket burrito day every once in a while, so don’t push yourself if you really just need time to catch up on sleep, relieve pain, or do nothing at all.”

If you have a few days…

Digital Detox: Perhaps it’s a long weekend or maybe you’re cashing in on your PTO. Either way, you might be surprised how restorative it can be to get away from the digital-sphere where you spend most of your day. Delete your social media apps, put your phone on silent and hide your laptop away. If you don’t trust yourself, you can always go a step further and physically remove yourself from your technology. Instead of scrolling through your feeds, go glamping, take a walk and notice details of the city around you, or let yourself just sit and soak up all the elements of nature.

If you have a few weeks…

Luxurious Getaway: Get out of your routine by leaving it behind entirely. It might sound intimidating to take a vacation by yourself, but it can be incredibly rewarding. You’re able to spend time just the way you’d like to — and even learn what that means for you. This could take the form of a spa resort visit, a yoga retreat, a safari or even a trip to a friend’s vacation home in a different state. Go somewhere that fills you with happiness and offers the kinds of activities or peaceful quiet that you cherish. Willing to spend a pretty penny? We love the globe-spanning retreats offered by Yogascapes, while Getaway features more affordable options that give you the perfect little modern refuge to call your own.

*Anna’s tips have been adapted from The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care by Anna Borges, 2019. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. experimentpublishing.com