“But this revolutionary act of treating ourselves tenderly can begin to undo the aversive messages of a lifetime.”
~Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha
I have a girlfriend who is about to wing halfway around the world to gift herself a two-month retreat at a health and wellness clinic. She’s in desperate need, after pushing herself beyond hard for years, trying to get a business off the ground. It’s successful now, but she’s burned herself out getting there.
Everyone needs self-care, but what if your life is crazy busy right now? Or if there’s no money in the bank? What if you’re right in the middle of things and you can’t take time off? What if there are people depending on you?
It doesn’t matter. Anyone can gift themselves ten minutes. Ten minutes of retreat from the craziness so that you can re-centre and find your equilibrium again. Ten minutes to give yourself a refreshing pause, a chance to tune out, or to tune in.
Here are a few ideas for tiny ten-minute mini-retreats that will still have the power to positively transform your day by nurturing, supporting and uplifting you.
Mini-Retreat 1 – The Beverage Break – Feed The Body
Ten minutes is the perfect amount of time to enjoy a hot beverage. Or a cold one. Perhaps there is a cafe within walking distance where you can go and choose your favourite latte or ice frappe.
If you’re at work or home, deliberately unplug and step away from your duties for ten minutes. Take time to craft yourself a cup of tea or coffee. Put care into the preparation. Make it exactly how you like it.
Then sit and enjoy that drink. Sip it. Savour it. Let your mind wander. Look out the window, or sit outside and watch the sky.
Slow your breathing.
Be very aware of every sip, every swallow.
Enjoy the comfort and relaxation that comes from your drink.
You’ll find that you’ll go back to your day refreshed.
Tip: To make this ritual even more meaningful, shop for a tea or coffee that will delight you and that feels a little above whatever is your ‘ordinary’. Indulge yourself. Let your tea break be something that you truly look forward to, and that feels like a treat.
Mini-Retreat 2 – Puzzle, Book or Art – Feed The Mind
Studies have shown that holding your focus on one activity for hours really blunts your intellectual axe. Conversely, changing your focus to another activity that is completely different will give your brain a chance to reboot and re-energise.
What lights you up? Do you love the challenge of a good word puzzle, Sudoku or a quiz?
Do you like to sketch or doodle or to colour?
Maybe reading is your thing. Or writing. It could be writing in your journal, or working on a book of your own.
Ten minutes of focused activity can refresh you and give your day deep personal satisfaction. This is especially true if you are using that time to plan or work towards something that is meaningful to you.
Tip: Keep your art or writing materials in a small bag or desk drawer where they are easy to access. It’s easy to lose yourself in activities like this so use a timer on your phone or computer to keep to the time limit of your ten minute mini-retreat.
Mini-Retreat 3 – Three Care Spread – Feed The Spirit
Sometimes what refreshes us most is the chance to connect with our intuition and to be guided about where we are right now.
Keep your favourite tarot cards, oracle cards or runes handy.
Set aside ten minutes, calm yourself with a few cleansing breaths and then choose three cards.
The first represents your situation right now. The second represents your current obstacles or opportunities, and the third represents the learning and gifts of your outcome.
Sit and think about the cards or runes you have chosen. Open yourself to insights and understanding. You may also want to write some of those ideas and insights in your journal, and do a little thinking and planning about what you have been shown.
At the end of your ten minutes offer up a small prayer of thanks, and then tidy things away, ready to go back to your daily life feeling clear and supported.
Tip: Make sure that you won’t be interrupted during your mini-retreat. Shut the door. Turn the phone to silent, or go to another room, a cafe or the garden. Gift yourself a peaceful ten minutes by setting the scene for strong connection.