Short on time? Pick an action or two using the filters, focus for a moment, breathe and enjoy.
Helping someone else can lift your mood and energy levels and make you feel stronger and calmer - an effect known as "the helper's high".
Even a small act of kindness that takes minimal time can have a positive effect.
Look creatively for opportunities that arise during your day. Examples might include: being a considerate driver, passing on a book that you've enjoyed, having a quick chat with an isolated neighbour or colleague, helping a colleague with their work, recognising somebody's achievement or success, paying a compliment, making a donation to charity.
Taking a cold shower can improve mood and increase focus, energy levels and general feelings of wellbeing. It may take some getting used to, but worth persevering with to reap the benefits and as an exercise in strengthening your willpower.
Ease in by slowly lowering the temperature at the end of a usual shower. Get the water cold enough that you start to feel uncomfortable and stay underneath it for a minute or two. Gradually increase the effect day by day by making the water colder and by increasing the time that you stay under to up to 5 minutes.
If you get to enjoy cold showers, you might like to explore other ways of getting cold such as ice rooms, plunge pools or cold-water swimming.
Coffee is the go-to drink in the morning for many of us - it can improve our mood and energy levels and help us to focus.
Tolerance levels to caffeine vary and may fluctuate depending on your circumstances and lifestyle, but 2 or 3 cups per day of average strength is probably enough for most people. Too much caffeine can increase anxiety levels, restlessness and insomnia so you may need to make adjustments from time to time to keep the balance right for you.
Enjoy coffee for its own sake - find your perfect brew and enjoy it without adding sweeteners or dairy/dairy substitutes if you can.
Making a cup of tea is a self care routine often repeated several times per day. Increase the benefit by spending a few minutes sipping your tea mindfully, focussing on what it looks, smells, feels and tastes like and whether your tea break makes you feel any different.
You may enjoy different teas at different times of the day, depending on your own needs and preferences. Reduce or avoid caffeine if you are trying to reduce stress. You might like to experiment with different types of herbal teas for example ginger to wake you up, peppermint to help digestion, chamomile for a calming effect and valerian root to promote restful sleep, or try out some of the blends which combine different herbs for different effects.
Essential oils have been used therapeutically for hundreds of years and are claimed to produce multiple health benefits including stress reduction, lifting mood, increasing concentration and productivity, promoting relaxation. Different oils are said to have different effects and whether the effect is psychological or physiological, many people find them helpful.
If you are new to essential oils, we recommend that you select a supplier of high quality natural oils and use the information on their website to select specific oils to meet your needs, or alternatively try a blend produced by the supplier for a particular purpose. Lavender oil is widely recommended for relaxation and is a good start if you have difficulty in switching off.
Use an oil diffuser to deliver a subtle scent to your room or try a shower oil, a small bottle of oil that can be applied to pulse points or a spray that can be used on your pillow.
A brief break for tidying up your environment can reduce stress levels, improve your mood and help you to feel calmer, more focussed and more in control.
Even tidying one drawer or the surface that you are working on can have a positive effect.
Allocate 5 minutes to tidying, decluttering, cleaning up and organising an area of your environment that is getting you down. Notice whether you feel any different afterwards.
Getting outside can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, improve concentration and focus and boost Vitamin D and immune function. Getting outside into daylight soon after you get up helps to regulate your sleep cycle.
As much time as you can spare, but even 5 minutes will produce benefits.
Take as much time outside doing activities that you enjoy as possible. On busy days, try to form a habit of stepping outside for mini breaks, even just for a short time. Combine with a few minutes of conscious breathing if you like (maybe one of the breathwork options in our Practice library)
Humans are social beings and studies have shown that people who have more social interactions are on average happier and feel more socially connected than those who interact less.
The more the better, particularly if you are alone for large parts of your day or if you tend to be glued to mobile devices or TV when at home with housemates or family. But if you are feeling dull and flat even a quick casual interaction can transform your mood.
All interactions count whether face to face, on the phone and via texting, online messaging or chat, and including both meaningful discussions and brief casual interfaces.
Laughter reduces physical tension, stress and anxiety and improves mood, energy levels and general feelings of wellbeing. Studies have demonstrated measurable physiological effects - laughter boosts immunity, lowers stress hormones and decreases perception of pain.
The more the better and especially worth focussing on if you are someone that laughs rarely
Notice what makes you laugh and how often you laugh during a typical day. Try to actively seek out more of what makes you laugh whether that is being with particular friends or colleagues, comedy shows, games, videos, films, books, seeing the funny side of situations. See how often you can make others laugh too - to strengthen relationships, enhance teamwork and reduce conflict.
Drinking plenty of water supports energy levels, brain function, and mood as well as physical performance.
6 to 8 cups or glasses of fluid per day, is a typical recommendation, more if you are feeling hot or if you are exercising. All drinks count as fluid, and diets including a high content of fruit and vegetables are hydrating too, however a focus on drinking water through the day is an easy habit to build into a busy routine and likely to be beneficial to mental as well as physical wellbeing.
Either form a habit of drinking a glass of water at specific times of the day eg on rising, before meals, between meals, after exercising, after work, or sip throughout the day from a water bottle with a volume or time scale.
Dancing along to a favourite track gets your body moving, raises the heart rate and can relieve tension and boost mood. You can make it as lively or gentle as you like
As much time as you like, but even dancing through a break of a few minutes can lift the energy and make you feel more upbeat and positive
Learning step sequences or specific dance styles can challenge the brain and boost cognitive performance
Listening to music can boost mood, improve cognitive performance, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Different types of music will probably produce different effects for you.
As much time as you like, including having music on while you work if helpful and appropriate, but even listening to one track that you enjoy can produce benefits.
Add singing along or dancing to amplify the effect if you are looking for a lift rather than relaxation. Both are stress relievers, singing is also a form of breathwork and dancing is energising and can help to ease tension in the body.
Spending time in nature has been linked to improved mood, reduction in stress and anxiety and improved ability to focus. Even something as simple as having plants in your workspace can lift the spirits, improve productivity and improve air quality to reduce the risk of minor ailments.
During a busy day, make a point of engaging with nature when you can - in the morning, have breakfast in the garden or just step outside and breathe in fresh air for a few minutes, notice the trees or flowers that you see during your commute, walk for a few minutes in a green space or along a tree lined road at lunch time or after work if you have the opportunity, or just water and tend to a plant near your desk. Let your focus grow soft, breathe, relax and appreciate.
Singing reduced stress levels and improves mood, while deepening the breathing and encouraging focus on posture.
Even singing along to one upbeat track that you enjoy will have a positive effect.
Find a space where you can sing out without inhibition! Pick your track and sing along to the melody or the harmonies/backing vocals, switch between the two or improvise. See how high and low your vocal range goes and how long you can sustain the long notes.
Walking offers numerous health benefits to people of all ages, including helping with weight control and counteracting the musculoskeletal effects of a sedentary lifestyle by working the muscles and moving the joints.
The commonly recommended target of 10,000 steps per day is difficult for busy people to achieve on work days unless walking can form part of a daily commute. 5,000 steps per day, which is the threshold required to be described as having a non sedentary lifestyle may be more realistic, particularly if the steps are spread through the day. In general all walking will be beneficial and small numbers of steps at a time will add up, including walking to the printer or the water cooler. While at work, consider ways to get your step count up, such as pacing up and down while on the phone or having walking meetings rather than sitting around a table. The 250 steps per hour typically set as a target on fitness apps is a useful minimum benchmark and gives a helpful hourly reminder to move on days that you are desk bound.
To increase benefit when not much time is available, you could increase your speed to raise your step count, or increase the intensity by running on the spot or walking up and down stairs.