'Life feels surreal and stressful, so it's no surprise that time for ourselves is suffering

In these crazy busy times during lockdown we are being Mum, Partner, Peacekeeper, helping neighbours, cheering for our heroes, trying (sometimes without success) to get those sentences written so our children will still be literate when this is all over AND we're working too. This is without the crazy shopping trips and limited exercise whilst we try to stop our children from stepping in something and keeping away from everyone we see. Life feels surreal, stressful and it is therefore no surprise that our time for ourselves is suffering more than usual.

Here are my 5-minute tasks to help you grab those precious moments to help you feel better, calmer, and more like you when you need it throughout the day. Each one takes no more than 5 minutes as I know how desperate you are to get back to teaching your little darlings.

  1. 1) Dance - Find a song that you have never heard before, on the radio or wherever your music hangs out and dance your heart out. By listening to something new you are giving yourself a new experience and a challenge too. It does not have to be professional - just enjoy dancing.

  2. 2) Breathe - This may feel like an easy thing to do as you do it thousands of times a day (around 30,000 times to be exact). However, how many times do you think about your breathing and take big, whole body filling breaths? Try it. Stand up, and take a big breath in, raising your arms as you fill up your whole body. Hold for 4 seconds and then let it all out. Repeat 5 times. This is a great way to relieve stress, anxiety and bring calm to any fraught moments in your day.

  3. 3) Wash your face - Yes, you heard me right. Wash your face. Firstly, you are moving away into your own bathroom space and secondly, by using your favourite cleanser or hot face cloth you are allowing those few moments of pampering and relaxation. The act of splashing the hot water on your face can help relieve stress and bring calm. By touching your skin and gently cleansing your face you give yourself some much needed skin on skin time too, which can set you up for the next round of 'who hasn't done homework but needs to'.

  4. 4) Talk - This is super simple and hugely effective. Talk. We are extremely fortunate to be locked down with technology so let us use it. Grab your phone and for the next 5 minutes phone or video call a friend or family member and just talk. Make it clear it is a quick catch up and see how they are. If you are stuck, tell them a joke, read them something interesting you read or sing them your favourite song. both of you will benefit from the call and feel happier for the rest of the day.

  5. 5) Tongue Twisters - Remember your favourite tongue twister from when you were younger and see how many times you can say it without fluffing it up. If you can, get faster each time. I guarantee it will make your day seem a lot brighter and you can even challenge a mum friend and see who wins.

  6. 6) Write yourself a short letter - 'Dear Tor, today I woke up in a grump because the boys were busy rowing over who got to the TV remote first'.... So, this may sound a bit crazy but by letting it all out in a 5 minute note it is out of your head and far away, allowing you more room to think and give your mind a break. 5 minutes only - this is just to say hello.

  7. 7) Knickers - Decluttering can be done in just 5 minutes. When we have a declutter, we remove not only unwanted things from our home, but it can also make our head feel lighter. Choose a small space like your underwear drawer and throw out the knickersthat are too small, too old, too holey and the ones that just don’t feel good. 5 minutesof peace, 5 minutes of tidying, 5 minutes of throwing stuff away and then you are set for your mornings ahead too. Blooming marvellous!

  8. 8) Taste and Smell - Grab a piece of your favourite fruit and take it in the garden to eat it. Simple. Taste every mouthful, smell the sweetness and if you really want to savour the moment you can close your eyes too. The mind chatter will stop, your body will relax, and you will just experience those moments of blissful eating. Yum.

  9. 9) Say what you can see - Spend 5 minutes just letting your eyes wander where you are. Then in your head name everything you can see. Be quiet and still and just let your eyes do the work. By doing this you are refocusing and just being present in the moment. Spend 5 minutes just being. It is a great way to relieve tension, create a quieter mind and find 5 minutes of peace.

  10. 10) Create - Grab a sheet of paper and a pencil and create a pattern picture. Wavy lines, swirls across the page, flowers, leaves or a figure of eight. Just lose yourself in 5 minutes of creating a mummy mindset flow picture. If you really want to go crazy, then add some colours and let the colours and the patterns just flow. This is great for creating calm, removing mind chatter, and getting your art on. Not everyone can draw, but all of us can flow. Enjoy.

Author credit: Victoria Coupe