Self care is essential for maintaining your mental and physical health, but it can be hard to find the time to do it. Thankfully, you don’t have to block out 30 minutes to look after your well being. These self care activities can be done in 10 minutes or less!
You can use these quick self care ideas during your break at work, when the kids are napping, between study sessions, or any time you just need to relax and take time for yourself.
Whether you’re having a bad day or you just want to take a few minutes to look after your well being, these activities won’t take a whole lot of time but they will leave you feeling refreshed. Even better, these 10 minute self care ideas are free!
How to Get the Most Out of Your 10 Minutes of Self Care
Self care is important for everyone, but it’s especially crucial for people who are constantly on the go or who just generally have a lot on their plate. Or maybe life has just thrown a lot at you lately and you need to chill out.
Even if you only have 10 minutes to spare, there are ways to make those minutes count.
Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your self care practice:
- Make sure you put away any distractions before you start. Take a few deep breaths and clear your mind of anything else you “should” be doing.
- Choose an activity that’s effective for you. Make sure the activity aligns with your needs and interests, don’t waste time on something that doesn’t feel good.
- Be present so that you can really enjoy the experience. Don’t rush through it just because you think you don’t have enough time. The point of self care is to relax and de-stress, so make sure you take your time and enjoy it!
I’ve done all the 10 minute self care activities below and I can say each of them works!
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The Best Self Care Ideas in 10 Minutes or Less
1. Gua Sha Face Massage
If possible, put the gua sha in the freezer for 5 minutes before massaging your face, it feels so refreshing especially if you have a headache or any tension in your face. I sometimes hold tension in my jaw and a gua sha is perfect for massaging that area. If you don’t have a gua sha you can always use a frozen spoon and whatever moisturizer you have.
Trust me, this quick self care activity is a must try.
People think of meditation as sitting for an hour trying not to think, but just 10 minutes can be incredibly effective at calming the body and mind.
Here are some of my free meditations that are under 10 minutes
3. Write a Success List
Many of us can be very critical of ourselves, always thinking about the things we’ve done wrong and the times we’ve failed. It does nothing to help us improve ourselves, so one of the biggest acts of self care we can do is to prove that voice wrong.
Take a few minutes to sit and write down all the things you have achieved recently or in the past few years. Give yourself credit for all the lessons you’ve learned, the challenges you’ve overcome, the skills you’ve cultivated, and the many ways that you’re always doing your best.
I’m not talking about checking off the list of things society says we should achieve, but the little ways in which we have grown over the years. The small accomplishments that add up like compound interest to make us who we are.
Write down every single thing you’re proud of doing, even if it’s as basic as folding your laundry.
4. Say Loving Affirmations to Yourself in the Mirror
This one sounds so silly, but I swear it works.
I decided to commit to ‘mirror work’ every morning for a month. At about 7 am before I do my skincare and makeup I look into my eyes in the mirror and tell my reflection how much I love her.
I say things like: I love you, I accept you just as you are, I’m so proud of you for getting through hard times, you are smart and strong and you deserve good things, you are worthy, you have always been enough, I love you.
And then I put my hands over my heart, close my eyes, and just let that positive energy sink in for a few breaths.
It felt so awkward at first, but now it just feels really nice.
5. Cuddle Your Pet
Self care is important for everyone, especially those who are constantly taking care of others. There are many ways to practice self care, but one of the simplest and most effective ways is to cuddle your pet.
Pets provide us with unconditional love and acceptance, which can be very soothing and healing. They also help us reduce stress and anxiety, promote relaxation, and increase our sense of well-being.
I don’t know why, but when I press my forehead to my dog’s forehead I instantly feel better. Likewise, when the cat boops my nose with his nose it’s like a shot of happiness.
So if you’re feeling stressed out or down, consider cuddling with your pet – it may be just what you need to feel better.
6. Vent into Your Journal
When something bothers us, it’s natural to want to talk about it with someone we trust. However, not everyone has someone they can talk to, and even if they do, talking isn’t always the best solution.
Venting into your journal for just 10 minutes can be a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. It allows you to express what you’re feeling without judgement, and it can also help you process difficult emotions and gain insight into frustrating situations.
Writing can be incredibly therapeutic; when we put our thoughts and feelings down on paper, it can help us make sense of them.
7. Listen to Music
Listening to music can be self care in different ways.
Your favorite upbeat song can instantly boost your mood and energy levels (Cruel Summer by Taylor Swift is my happy song), but sometimes other emotions inspired by music can be valuable too.
A sad song can help you have a good cry and relieve pressure in that way, or an angry song can help you vent frustration. A slow soothing song can help you relax and unwind.
So next time you need a break, take a few minutes to put on your favorite song and relax.
Sometimes we don’t realize how much tension we’re holding in our bodies, so stretching can go a long way to helping us relax and feel good.
Pair it with slow, intentional breathing and you’ve got a perfect 10 minute self care routine. I find that stretching every night before bed helps me sleep better.
Even if you’re at work some light stretching can help, I recommend searching Youtube for “desk job stretches” or “standing job stretches.”
9. Make a Comforting Beverage
Grab your favorite mug and make a drink you like.
Something about the ritual of making tea or coffee and sitting down to take that first sip feels really good. It’s simple, but that can be the best form of self care in a hectic world.
Don’t scroll on your phone or think about the things you need to do that day, just be in the moment. If you can go outside and listen to the birds or look out a window, even better.
10. Pull an Affirmation or Oracle Card
Sometimes you just need to hear a positive message, and an affirmation or oracle card can do that for you.
If you’ve never used them, affirmation cards give you an quick inspiring quote or message, and oracle cards can give you deeper insights into your mind and spirit.
11. Take 10 Slow Deep Breaths
If meditation isn’t for you, you can still benefit from a few moments of slow, intentional breathing. Obviously we all breathe on automatic pilot, but when you take a moment to pause and really pay attention to the act of inhaling air into your lungs and exhaling it out, it sends a signal to your nervous system that it’s safe to relax.
Sit or lay down, gently close your eyes, put you hand on your belly and take at least 10 slow breaths in through the nose and out of the mouth. Try to fill your belly first and then the chest, and then exhale it all out. Each inhale and exhale should last 4 to 5 seconds.
I find I can get more air into my lungs when I’m laying down, but sitting at your desk, in the car or wherever you happen to be is perfect.
This simple act of self care will take you less than 2 minutes!
12. Get Space From Your Electronics
Scrolling through social media can be a way to unwind and zone out, but it can also be a source of stress. It’s important to take time to disconnect from your phone, and connect with your body and the present moment.
Put your phone or laptop in another room and do something else for at least 10 minutes.
13. Take a Walk
Walking is the perfect self care activity, and you don’t have to do it for very long to reap the benefits.
At home or during your lunch break, set a timer for 5 minutes and walk away, then when the timer goes off turn around. If you can walk somewhere with a little bit of nature nearby, even better.
Really focus on the sounds around you, the sun and wind on your skin, the color of the sky and trees. Maybe make eye contact and smile at people if that feels ok to you.
14. Write a Love Letter
Self care can be taking some time to appreciate the people in your life. Write a letter to someone you love and tell them all the ways they make your life better.
It doesn’t have to be a romantic letter, you can write letters to your parent, grandparents, children, or best friend. You don’t even have to send it, but if you do both you and that person will feel good.
15. Make a Smoothie
One easy way to practice self care is by making a smoothie. A smoothie is a great way to get in some nutrients and vitamins, and it’s also a quick and easy snack or meal.
There are many different recipes for smoothies, so you can find one that fits your taste preference and dietary needs. If you’re looking for a nutritious smoothie that will give you energy, try adding banana, spinach, and yogurt to your blender. I really like the Vega strawberry banana protein powder (fyi the chocolate flavor is grainy) if you want to add that. If you’re looking for something more indulgent, try adding chocolate chips, peanut butter, or ice cream to your blender.
Sit and enjoy your smoothie without any distractions.
16. Read for 10 Minutes
A 2009 study showed that reading can reduce stress by 68%, and as a huge bonus it can slow dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
So not only is reading self care in the moment, it helps you maintain healthy functions of your brain. Reading for even 10 minutes can be the perfect way to unwind and let your mind and body relax.
17. Put on a Face Mask
A little pampering doesn’t have to take long, putting on a face mask for 10 minutes can be just what you need to relax and feel rejuvenated.
While you’re waiting for your mask to do it’s magic, you can close your eyes, do your nails, read, stretch, talk to a friend, or any other activity you enjoy. Make it a two for one self care special!
18. Sit Outside
It’s been proven many times that being in nature is very healing. You don’t necessarily have to go anywhere, you can just sit outside and watch the world do it’s thing.
Listen to the birds, watch the clouds go by, or look at the moon and stars. Doing this for just 10 minutes will make you feel better.
19. Make a Gratitude List
Taking time to appreciate the good things in your life will instantly boost your sense of well being. You can set a timer for 10 minutes and write down as many things as you can think of, or walk around your house and verbally point out all the things in your home that you’re thankful for.
“I’m thankful for that cozy chair where I read everyday, this air conditioner keeping me cool is amazing, I’m so grateful for the food in my kitchen, this art on my wall makes me so happy, the sun shining in my window cheers me up, man I’m grateful for my toilet and indoor plumbing,” etc etc.
20. Just Close Your Eyes for 10 Minutes
Just closing your eyes for 5-10 minutes can be an incredibly effective form of self care. You can put on some relaxing music or enjoy the silence and just be in your body.
You may or may not fall asleep, but you’ll come out with more energy and inner calm.
21. Take a Shower
I don’t know about you, but showering can be my favorite form of self care. It feels like all the stress and worry from the day goes down the drain and I come out feeling lighter and happier.
Light a candle, use a nice scented body wash, and put on your favorite lotion and cozy pajamas afterwards.
22. Use Aromatherapy
I’ll admit that sometimes I roll my eyes when I see ‘use essential oils’ on a self care list, but scent really can make you feel happy or relaxed.
Essential oils are a great option, but I love to light my favorite candles when I want my environment to give me a boost of happiness. A lemon scented candle can make me feel a little more energized, chocolate candles makes me feel luxurious, and pumpkin candles make me feel cozy.
Figure out what scents you like for different moods and let them help you feel good.
23. Drink a Glass of Water
I know, I know, it’s cliche, but a lot of people don’t drink enough water and it really can make your body feel better! There have been many times when I felt sluggish and drinking water made me feel so much better.
Get down at least 8 oz and see how you feel. It may not give you a caffeine boost, but it can still be a good pick me up.
If you struggle to drink enough water, get a cute water bottle or holographic tumbler cup, or designate a really fancy glass to your hydration goals. How pretty are these iridescent water glasses? I mean you can use the cups you bought at Target too, but sometimes it’s nice to zhuzh up common activities.
If you wanna put some wine in there after the kids are in bed, by all means!
24. Change Your Sheets
I know putting fresh sheets on the bed can feel more like a workout than self care, but when you slide into bed at night and you’ve got those clean, soft sheets on your skin it feels so good!
Even if it’s 2 in the afternoon, do future you a favor because it’ll feel like self care at bedtime.
25. Clean or Declutter One Space
Cleaning may not feel like self care for everyone so feel free to ignore this one if it’s not for you, but the result of cleaning or decluttering one space may make this worth 10 minutes of effort.
Our physical surroundings have a significant impact on our mental state. When you have a clean and organized space it can instantly help you feel more relaxed and calm.
When your space goes from chaos to clean it takes a weight off your shoulders, so while you may not enjoy the cleaning part, basking in the glory of your accomplishment afterwards feels rather divine.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Start with one small space, such as your desk, a family drop zone, your kitchen counters, or a junk drawer.
- Set a timer for just 10 minutes. Maybe put on some music.
- Get rid of anything that you don’t need or use.
- Keep only the things that are useful or make you happy and organize them in a pleasing way.
- Don’t think you have to get it all done now – Rome wasn’t built in a day!
- Enjoy your tidier space!
I hope you got some good ideas from this list of 10 minute self care activities! Want more? Try these:
- 30 Self Care Ideas to Reduce Stress
- Summer Self Care 7 Day Challenge
- 15 Winter Self Care Ideas
- 28 Self Care Ides for Introverts
Free Self Love Journal Prompts PDF for Subscribers