Sometimes, you just need to take a break. I know, easier said than done. Here are a few quick tricks to fit some time for self-care into a never-ending busy schedule. 

Take a Deep Breath (Or a Couple…)

This sounds too simple, right? If your day is jam packed with work, whenever you have a break in between meetings, classes, etc. , stop for one minute, close your eyes, and take three deep breaths. Listen to the sound of it and focus only on the air going in and out. If it helps, count each time you exhale a breath. If you need (or have more time for) more than three breaths, keep going! It sounds silly but it really does help.

Smile 

Ninety-nine percent of the time, if I’m smiling, I’m happy. It’s a natural reaction for your energy to change when you smile. Muscle memory associates the act of smiling with the emotion of happiness. It’s a natural trigger. With that, find a reason to smile at some point today. Look at a funny picture you took with a friend, a text that made you die of embarrassment originally but now makes you giggle when you talk about it. Speaking of, f you’re in an especially stressful situation, call someone and tell them about it. Every time I go through a particularly frustrating situation, I call my friends with the intent to rant about the situation until I feel I’ve made my point about how unfair my life is and beg the question of “why is the universe doing this to me?”. This usually ends in me laughing it off because talking about it makes me realize how insignificant these events really were. Sometimes you just need to hear it out loud to be able to put things in perspective.

Plan Ahead 

In one of my recent reads, I came across this genius idea of planning little surprises for yourself. I know that I always feel more motivated when I have something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be a week-long excursion or a bank breaking appointment of some kind. It can be as little as scheduling a coffee date with friends at a café you’ve never been to before. This past Monday, I was in the middle of a crisis while looking at everything I had to do in the upcoming week. I stopped everything I was doing, google searched nearby spas, and booked facials for myself and my roommate. The facials were relatively inexpensive, and it was something we had been wanting to do for a really long time. It was completely worth it. It feels good to treat yourself occasionally! You deserve it!

Eat a Donut

…Or a baked good of any kind. Get on yelp and search “best bakery near me”. Click on the one that looks the most appetizing, has the cutest décor, or the highest rating (whatever floats your boat). Even with the splurge on calories, I can promise you that by the time you take that last bite, you’ll have a huge smile on your face. Baked goods are magical. 

Act of Kindness

I don’t know about you but doing things for others makes me genuinely happy in return. Go out of your way to do something kind for someone else. Hold open a door, offer a ride to your roommate, give someone a bigger tip than usual, pay for the person’s drink behind you. Again, it doesn’t have to be anything huge. If you want to take it a step further, go for it! It can never hurt to build up good karma! 

Hit the Breaks 

Put your phone down (unless, of course, you’re reading this article). Start small with intentionally putting away electronics for five minutes. Set a timer if you’d like. No, it doesn’t count if you do this while napping… Take a break from social media. Even if you don’t think you have a problem with it, try it and see how you feel. I deleted snapchat recently, planning on re-downloading it the next day. It’s been two weeks and I haven’t missed it one bit. Instead of taking on more stressors through social media, tackle some stressors you currently have in your real life with that spare five minutes. 

And if none of these suggestions help, look up pictures of tiny animals. Tiny animals are always a good idea.