How to Clear Your Head in 5 Minutes or Less

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I spend a lot of hours looking at a screen most days—more than I’d like to admit between my phone, laptop, and television—and I know I’m not the only one. Oftentimes, thanks to my latest exercise obsession, I’m even looking at a screen while I’m working out. Which is why it’s become important to me to consciously unplug at some point every day, preferably outside.

Sure, a long walk on the beach or hike in the woods would be lovely, but that’s not a daily option for most of us. You know what is? Five minutes outside—no computer, no phone. I’d suggest spending that time in a way that feels good to you. The key is not to let your brain go into overdrive.

Ready to give it a go? Here are some ideas for making it happen:

  • Schedule the time. We all have 5 minutes to spare, but if you keep moving from one thing to the next it’s easy to let the day slip away. So be proactive and think about your schedule. Maybe it’s best to consistently carve out the time first-thing in the morning, or perhaps you’re always sluggish mid-afternoon. Whatever the time, consider setting a calendar alert. Then treat it as seriously as any appointment.
  • Find a buddy. Invite a work friend to join you for a quick daily walk around the block. It’s harder to skip if you’ve shared your commitment with someone else, so if you can’t find someone to do it with you in person, challenge a long-distance friend to try unplugging for five minutes a day for one week. Text each other daily for encouragement and accountability—after you’ve returned to your phones, of course.
  • Make it work for you. If this feels like one. more. thing. to fit in, think about how you could tie this into something else you’re already planning to do that day. Maybe your five minutes is running an errand, or taking off your headphones for your walk from the subway to the office, or, if you work from home like me, stepping outside to refill the bird feeder.

Whatever is currently weighing on your brain, whatever might be holding you back from taking time for yourself—work emails, the thought of missing a call, a to-do list a mile long—it can wait for 5 minutes.

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