Candace Ganger
Updated Mar 27, 2015 @ 4:58 pm

Everyone is busy. Between school, work, kids, cats, cat videos, and all the miscellaneous life events in between, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and, believe me, I know how quickly you can get discouraged. Once you wake up, the day becomes a never-ending list of chores. I mean, who really has time to wash their hair every day and exercise and floss and fold clothes in a way that Anthropologie would find worthy of hire? Not this girl. But have no fear! I have a few secrets for getting it all done, or at least restoring your calm, in five minutes or less. Pinky swear.

Create the most manageable to-do list ever.

Minutes one and two: Quickly jot down everything that needs done for today only, starting with the easiest, most basic things first. I’m talking about making an appointment, paying a bill, quickly returning a phone call or text, sending an email. I like to take a micro approach so that I can make headway really easily. Minutes three, four, and five: Work your way down, crossing off as you go. Meeting your accomplishments, however minor or menial, will give you the momentum to tackle the bigger things that require leaving the house or at least changing out of pajamas.

Take a break to de-stress, even if you don’t think you can spare the time.

Minutes one through four: Set the alarm on your phone or stopwatch or whatever so that you don’t even have to worry about keeping track of the four minutes. Then close your eyes and breath in deeply through your nose, hold for two to three counts, and breath out through your mouth. Visualize your favorite place (mine is always the beach, because, well, to paraphrase Kanye West, how ya gonna be mad at the beach?). Use all five senses. Try to smell the coconut oil. Immerse yourself in the scene as if you were there right now. Minute five: When you open your eyes, clench your arms and fists for a count of five, then release. Do the same with your legs, face, and abdomen. The tensing of the muscles actually increases relaxation (with some practice, of course). How cool is that? Now, per T. Swifty’s instructions, shake it off! Your body (and mind) should feel a teensy bit lighter!

Reconnect with people.

Minutes one and two: Send a quick email or text to a friend or relative you haven’t heard from in awhile. It doesn’t have to be a novel. Just a short “I was thinking about you!” will do. Minutes three through five: Call a friend, grab your partner, or seek out a totally rad coworker who makes life all kinds of sunny, and tell them something you love or appreciate about him/her. For instance: “Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to feed into my ridiculous latte habit” or “Thank you for not stealing all the covers last night.” If it feels right, hug. This is not only likely to brighten their day but also give you a boost, because you have good people in your life.

Get intellectual.

Minutes one and two: Check out some totally inspiring quotes to get you motivated for the day. Or take this U.S. presidents quiz. Check out Merriam-Webster’s word of the day. Anything that delivers a tiny dose of education and perspective without demanding too much mental energy. Minutes three through five: Scan the headlines, read an excerpt from your “must-read” list of novels, bone up with this solid article on mind-blowing doughnuts. Studies show that the more you read, no matter the genre, the higher your cognitive thinking and social skills.

Refresh yourself.

Minute one: Do 20 seconds of jumping jacks, 20 seconds of squats, and 20 seconds of running in place! Get the blood pumping and you’ll either want to keep going or pass out. Minutes two, three, and four: Blast your favorite up-tempo songs and dance like no one is watching. Minute five: Splash cold water on your face and neck or drag an ice cube across your skin. The chill will not only zap your senses but also leave you feeling so fresh and so clean, clean!

FIVE MEASLY MINUTES, people. For the sake of feeling amazing. And no hair-washing or clothes-folding required. Everyone has five minutes. Use them wisely.

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