When you’re feeling burned out or overwhelmed with the constant struggle to balance work and life, it can often feel like you don’t have any time to dedicate to self-care or getting yourself back on track. However, you don’t necessarily need an hour of meditation or a long workout to get your mind in a better state.
Often, five minutes of intention is just the right amount of time to get you the motivation you need to push forward. Here, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council share 10 of their favorite quick, five-minute-or-less tactics anyone can use to banish overwhelm and achieve a better mental state.
1. Get Emotional And Physical Distance From The Stress
It’s important to understand that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and burned out from time to time. One tactic you can use to combat these feelings is gaining emotional and physical distance from the cause of the stress. Even if it’s just five to 10 minutes, if you can leave your phone and computer behind, move away from your desk or workspace and just simply walk, you may find yourself more refreshed and potentially less critically attached to the urgency of emails or work projects. There is often the feeling that by leaving our work behind we are getting even further behind on the things already stressing us out. Rather, view those few minutes as nourishment, with the potential to lead to more productivity and less stress. A few five to 10 minute walks a day might just become the tool that keeps you sane. – Ryan Meghdies, Tastic Marketing Inc.
2. Celebrate A Small Win
Start celebrating small wins in meaningful ways. That could be treating yourself to one of your favorite foods or taking a half day to do something you enjoy but haven’t done in a while. Burnout can be a sign that you’re not only out of balance but also not seeing the progress you are making. Baby steps toward work-life balance is still progress. When we celebrate a small (or big) win, we are recognizing ourselves and our hard work, which helps your brain make a positive connection and gets you out of the daily grind. If that isn’t possible, take a moment to breathe and meditate. Then make sure to focus on what you can do in the next hour, three hours or 24 hours to help you push through. Don’t think any longer than a day. This will keep you from overthinking and being overwhelmed. – Kyle Clayton, Team Clayton of RE/MAX Professionals
3. Take A Deep Breath And Stretch
Take a deep breath in and out for 10 continuous cycles. This will help rush oxygen to your brain and eliminate stale air. Bend down and touch your toes. Then reach up to the sky. With your hands in the air, shift from side to side. Stretch high into the sky and feel your back expand, reaching over and out on each side. Gently relax and wiggle it out. A quick stretch and a complete air exchange can instantly change your mental outlook and take you from overwhelm to being in charge. – Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo
4. Write Down Everything You Need To Do
Feeling overwhelmed is often caused by chaos and lack of direction. Organizing your to-do list and completing basic goal-setting activities can relieve you from keeping a mental note about every little detail you should take care of. When I get stressed out, I take a few moments to draft down everything I need to do. A brief reminder or a task in your project management system (or even a traditional notebook) will allow you to take a breath of fresh air without missing out on an important assignment or deadline. Iterating on one incoming source of tasks is a healthy way to keep your agenda in order. Crossing off action items is rewarding and motivating too. – Mario Peshev, DevriX
5. Accomplish A Quick Task
When I’m feeling burned out or overwhelmed, I pick a task—either personal or business-oriented—that I can quickly cross off my list and accomplish within a five-minute window. I find that this creates momentum and the feeling of a “win,” however small, and propels me to take on whatever’s next with renewed energy. – Lindsay Tanne, LogicPrep
6. Relax With Some Comedy
It sounds trivial, but I watch funny comedy skits on YouTube first thing when I wake up and before I go to bed. Laughter in those moments does magic for me. No matter how overwhelmed I am, being able to laugh about something takes my mind off these struggles, and I am able to go back to them with a better outlook. – Paul-Miki Akpablie, Akos Technologies Inc.
7. Visualize A Happy Place
I simply lean back and visualize a happy place. It works like I’m having the best cup of hot coffee—a virtual coffee break, as my employees say. The trick is quite simple. Just close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Now, imagine yourself in a place that brings you happiness and peace—like Pandora. Imagine yourself transported to a place of pure serenity, where the sun is shining and the air is infused with the scent of blooming flowers. It could be a real place or an imaginary one, but it should be somewhere that you feel happy and at ease. This is your happy place, a sanctuary of tranquility where all your worries and stress disappear and you are free to simply be in the moment. – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz
8. Reset By Listening To Music
It can be a challenge sometimes to maintain a high level of energy when your work and personal life is really busy. To overcome feelings of overwhelm and help restore a sense of balance, I lean in to one of my best personal hacks, which is using music to reset my mental state. Of course, the right tools make a massive difference for this strategy. For example, I have a few different playlists on my phone that are aimed at triggering specific mental states. Sometimes I need to de-stress and relax my mind, and other times I’m feeling low-energy and need to get amped up to power through a long list of tasks. Regardless of the purpose, having a set of headphones on hand at all times is absolutely essential—so much so that I never leave home without at least one set of headphones. Noise canceling, of course. – Richard Fong, Trustable Tech
9. Look At Where You’re Spending Your Energy
When I’m feeling overwhelmed or burned out with work and life, I find it is because I am working on too many things that take energy away from me and too few things that give energy to me. When I’m in that situation, I look at where I am spending my time and eliminate or delegate an energy-sucking task to make space for an energy-giving task. – Jessica Fialkovich, Exit Factor
10. Think About The Big Picture
I like to take a few minutes and think about the big picture. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, it’s easy to get caught up in the details. So, I’ll pause and consider what outcomes I’m working toward and why they are important. This helps me recognize that my work has purpose beyond just getting through the task list of today or this week. It also reminds me that our short-lived struggles are nothing compared to our long-term goals, and that small steps can add up over time, making them worth investing in even when they don’t have immediate results. Taking stock of my progress can help shift my mindset from being overwhelmed by the present challenges to understanding how these efforts will help advance larger objectives down the line. – Adam Preiser, WPCrafter