Simple Self-Care Exercise

This 2- or 5-minute exercise can bring you comfort, support and self-acceptance when you need them most.

As you move through the steps, be patient with yourself. You’re not being graded!

If you have just 2 minutes:

  1. Sit and observe. Find a relatively quiet place to sit or lie down. Look around to find and note 3 things that bring you pleasure.
  2. Support yourself. Gently place one hand on your upper chest and the other hand just below your rib cage.
  1. Breathe slowly. Inhale through your nose to a count of 5. Exhale through your nose to a count of 7.

Repeat 5 times.

If you have just 3 more minutes, continue the exercise this way:

  1. Relax your muscles. Starting at your toes, focus on each muscle group in this order:












head and face

One by one, tense each area, and then release, saying “Release. Relax.”

Pause between each group and note any effect, no matter how small.

  1. Imagine a relaxing setting. For example, picture yourself in a warm shower or under a cool waterfall. Inhale and exhale slowly as you think how the water feels flowing over your scalp, shoulders, torso and lower body, relaxing you head to toe.

If your mind wanders to stressful thoughts at any point during this exercise, patiently return to the last step that felt comfortable, or to step 3.

Expect notable, if subtle, results the first time you complete these steps. Repeat as needed. With practice, you’ll likely experience more obvious, longer-lasting effects–and ideally have a new habit that becomes as appealing as your favorite treat. (It can happen!)