In the rush of everyday life, you'll often find yourself racing from one event to the other, with almost no time in between. What can you do to refresh and rejuvenate in just 20 minutes? This quick routine can help you hit the reset button on body, mind, and spirit.
1. First, Unwind
It's difficult to tap into your own energy resources when you're feeling tired. This simple exercise will help release the day's accumulated tensions and allow you to start over again.
Put Your Feet Up
Five to seven minutes
By reversing the effects of gravity and encouraging blood flow to the heart, this yoga pose helps clear the mind. Sit with your left side touching a wall, legs outstretched. Shift your weight to the right, pivot your pelvis, lie back, and raise your legs. If you experience hamstring pain, inch your hips away from the wall a bit. Let your arms relax at your sides, palms up. Roll the shoulders back to open up the chest. Take a deep breath, then exhale completely. Spend five minutes in this position, or longer if you like, breathing deeply and letting go of the day's tensions.
Roll Out Tension
This fun Pilates-inspired exercise is a great way to release back tension.
Sitting with hands on your shins or on the back of your thighs, knees tucked in to your chest and core engaged, exhale as you roll backward onto your spine, using your abdominals and momentum to roll back up again.
Begin to exhale on the way down and inhale at the top; find your natural rhythm.
2. Then Invigorate
Drawn from the practice of qigong, this exercise awakens your senses and lets you greet the evening with a renewed spirit.
With a loosely closed fist, start lightly pounding your legs as if you're knocking on a door. This should be invigorating, not painful, as you stimulate the skin and muscles, releasing tension and increasing the flow of energy, or qi, through your body. Pummel the bottoms of your feet, the inside and outside of each leg, your arms, the sides of your neck, upper back, chest, solar plexus, and belly. Don't forget the palms of each hand.
Reach around to get your buttocks, lower back, and kidney area, then move up to your shoulders and upper back.
You don't have to replicate your entire morning routine to feel fresh and energized again. Consider a few shortcuts for a quick head-to-toe mood lift.
Give Yourself a Quick Footbath
Less time-consuming than a full shower, a footbath can energize you from the bottom up. Sit on the edge of the tub and let the water run over your feet or get a basin and soak your feet in warm, soapy water. Or, if you've spent the day on your feet and they feel sore, try a cool footbath rather than a warm one. For an extra lift, add a couple of drops of stimulating citrus or peppermint essential oil. Even better, massage your feet with a natural exfoliant containing coarse sugar or salt to help remove dull, rough skin and stimulate blood flow. Rinse your feet and pat dry; follow with a rich body butter or foot cream. Take a few moments for a mini-foot massage, rubbing the soles of your feet to relax and stimulate the whole body.
Touch Up Your Face and Hair
Freshening up doesn't have to be a big ordeal. Simply mist your face lightly with water, blot dry, and reapply makeup basics such as blush and eyeliner, if you wear them. Spritzing your hair will also help activate any styling products you used in the morning. Brush, floss, and you're ready to go.
Even if you don't feel like smiling. Studies suggest that doing so may positively influence your mood. By projecting an image of positive energy, you'll find yourself feeling it inside as well.