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Self-Care: The 5×10 Technique for Busy People

I get it. You’re busy.

Too busy for friends and family let alone meditation and yoga. Too busy for a proper meal let alone mindfulness training. Too busy for a shower let alone 8 hours of sleep.

You probably feel like you don’t have enough time for much nowadays.

You don’t even know who’s running your schedule, you or your clients. You or your colleagues. You or your spouse. You or your kids. You or [insert everyone else ever].

Meanwhile, you’re frazzled, scatterbrained, overwhelmed…but still determined to get it all done.

So tell me this, out of all the hours in a day, how many of them are spent nurturing your mind? How many are spent catering to the health of your mind? How many are spent appreciating the miracle that is your mind?

Don’t have time for that, you say?

You don’t have time to not have time for that.

I’m here to tell you that no amount of money, success, accolades or fame will do for you what a clear, strong mind can do.

(Clear, meaning aware; strong, meaning nurtured.) If time- and money-freedom is what you’re after, you’ll need to start rearing this concept of freedom in the mind. You need to first create space in the mind before such things can manifest.

Busy people think that if they read enough self-help books and attend enough personal development seminars, they’re doing enough to nurture the mind. But it’s one thing to learn about the mind, it’s another thing to apply what you learn.

Truth is, taking care of the mind involves you breaking away from the hustle, often and consistently, and turning inward.

** To assist you in slowing down and turning inward, grab your copy of The Declutter Code: 10 Simple Steps to Clarity today. Trust me, a mind free of clutter will change your life. **

Do The Work

Let’s make a few of agreements before we go any further.

  • First, there’s time-management and then there’s self-management. The former is contingent on the latter. Busying yourself with countless projects and responsibilities doesn’t necessarily mean you’re busy with things that matter or serve your highest good. If you agree, keep reading.
  • Second, anything worth doing is worth doing deliberately, with intention and focus. When you’re present with that task at hand, you do better work. If you agree, keep reading.
  • Third, mindset (what you tell yourself to believe) is the #1 driver of success. When your head’s not in the game, you can’t meet challenges “head on” with enough clarity and determination to find a fitting solution. Solutions come easily to the clear-headed. If you agree, keep reading.
  • Fourth, how we do one thing is how we do everything. How we attend to the most basic, purest part of ourselves—like caring for our minds—speaks of how well we attend to all aspects of our well-being. If you agree, keep reading.

If you don’t agree with either of the above statements, no need to read further. You can walk away with that insight alone and feel content.

If you’re still reading, you believe deep down that your mind is a terrible thing to waste and you (…your health, your relationships, your career, etc., etc…) could benefit from giving it more of your time and loving attention.

If you’re a Type-A, deadline-having, stimulant-seeking, info-junkie, you’ll find the technique below incredibly difficult. Even the Type-Bs in the bunch, who’ve been practicing stress-free living for years, will find this difficult to commit to. But it pays off. The clarity you hone will catapult you toward happiness, success and prosperity faster than being a workhorse ever could.

Just as you have to do what it takes to be successful in your career and relationships, you have to do what it takes to take care of your mind.

You have to do the work.

Good news is this, if you’re able to get through the 5×10 technique without shooting someone, you’re well on your way to a decluttered mind.

Take Care Of Yourself: The 5×10 Technique For Busy People

The 5×10 technique is not a 15-minute activity; it’s a 50-minute activity. Call me crazy to suggest that you fit something else into that already overloaded schedule, but that’s exactly what I’m doing. This technique is meant specifically for busy people because otherwise they won’t make time for something so “selfish” or “self-centered.” They think turning inward and centering themselves is a waste of time, when checking off another To Do list item is much more rewarding.

As busy person, you have to force in your “me” time or it won’t happen. You’ll find that you have to schedule this 50 minutes of uninterrupted time with yourself or it won’t happen.

Before you toss the technique aside as impossible, consider what you’re passing up: peace of mind. If you want that, you have to do the work.

If you’re serious about finding balance the between busy and madness, this is for you. If you’re so busy that you think you don’t have the time or patience to sit still, you’re the one who could benefit the most from doing just that.

To forfeit the work it takes to pause, center, and declutter your mind, you forfeit the clarity that makes you so much more powerful. When you make the time, you reap the rewards.

This is how you’ll refuel and reset your awareness.

When you’re ready, here are the steps (in order) of the 5×10 technique for busy people:

Step 1. Close Your Eyes

Closing your eyes removes the visual stimuli that can distract the mind into thinking and processing new things. It allows for a truly penetrating level of peace to wash over you so you’re free to settle into the sensations in your body, and that’s the point.

Once you get jitters and fidgets out, sit there in a comfortable upright seated position with your eyes closed. No matter how bad it pains you not to open your eyes and look at your phone or email, stay in your chair with eyes closed!

Turn your eyes inward and scan your body. Follow with your attention the sensations across hands and feet, legs and arms, belly and chest. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Sniff the air, listen for ambient noise. I know, it’s hard to believe that there’s any benefit to sitting still with eyes closed, but there is.

Duration: Do this for 10 minutes. There is no right way to do it, except to do it.

Step 2. Breathe In And Out

Breath is our lifeline. Every cell in our bodies uses oxygen to live. To actually notice and feel breath going in and out of your lungs, filling you, nourishing you, energizing you, knowing it is what keeps you alive, that’s to be present.

Silence all other noise and focus on your breath. Listen to the sound of it, hear the volume. Notice the speed, the length and the texture of it. Feel the expansion of it as it lifts and lowers your belly.

Play with the breath, keep it as your focal point. Listen for your breath amidst all other sounds that come up around you. Try extending the exhales longer than your inhales. Alternate between breathing out of your nose and in through your mouth, and vice versa. Increase the volume on one round, then quiet it on the next.

Duration: Do this in a quiet place for 10 minutes. There is no right way to do it, except to do it.

** To learn more about the benefits of the breath, read The Declutter Code. **

Step 3. Journal It

The physical act of writing is cathartic. Being free to write about anything that comes to mind, with no filter, no restraint, and no conservatism, is even more restorative. Clearing your mind this way will leave you lighter and less burdened.

Take out a pen and paper or open a blank sheet on your laptop, and start writing. Recap the day, the highs, the lows, the frustrations, the fears. Then, lead with imagination, tell a story full of your greatest desires. Write it all down.

Riff on anything and everything ignoring grammar, length and structure. The purpose is to write with no goal or aim, except to let what’s inside out. Let the pen free to explore and roam the most private, intimate areas of your mind. Go deep into the past and far into the future. Stay present with what you’re writing, as you’re writing, and just observe your words unfold.

Duration: Do this for 10 minutes. There is no right way to do it, except to do it.

Step 4. Move Your Body

Moving your limbs, working up a sweat, circulates blood flow and calms stress levels to help keep you alert and energized. It releases toxins, loosens joints, increases flexibility and prevents injury.

Walk, run, swim, stretch, dance. High-intensity or low intensity, morning or night. Whatever it is, at whatever speed, get your body in motion.

Move your arms, your legs and feet so the oxygen can move around in the body. Get your heart pumping and adrenaline racing. Exercise, e.g., taking a brisk walk outdoors, is enough to raise dopamine (the pleasure hormone) and serotonin (the happiness hormone) levels, thereby increasing concentration, motivation, enjoyment and bliss.

Duration: Do this for 10 minutes. There is no right way to do it, except to do it.

Step 5. Savor The Love

Love is the greatest resource of all. It heals, it uplifts, it replenishes, it transforms. To give and receive love is the ultimate endeavor of any lifetime. There is nothing more powerful than love.

What you can you love in this moment? Find anything. The scent of fresh flowers? The hydrating sensation of water? The touch of your dog? The embrace of your spouse? In this step, absorb and savor whatever this is for you, sending out feelings of love.

Let yourself get enveloped in love simply by allowing feelings of gratitude and compassion to overcome you. Sit in the knowledge that unconditional love is everywhere, in everything, and always accessible. Whenever you want to tap into the power of love for yourself, give love away first. When you free your mind to accept this truth, you free your heart to love.

Duration: Do this for 10 minutes. There is no right way to do it, except to do it.

This is a technique that, if you can’t get to it everyday, will do wonders if you fit it in at least once a week. If nothing else, schedule it as your Sunday morning ritual, before the rest of the house wakes up. What will you sacrifice to make this happen and reap the rewards?

When you do this work, initially it may feel awkward and lengthy, but by the end, it will feel it as fruitful as going to the gym. Consider this technique the gym for your mind. You may not feel like going to the gym, but once you’ve finished your workout, you’re always glad you went.

You’ll notice the underlying theme in all of these practices is to minimize the outside distractions so we can begin to work with (process) what’s already accrued inside. Part of the struggle of being busy is doing too many outside activities without enough inside activities.

The point of this technique is to get clear and calm, to find space amidst the busyness of the mind. It is to make room for peace. The more you practice, the more you open, the easier the untangling of cluttered thoughts and busy days becomes.

Being busy doesn’t have to keep you stuck in frantic craziness.

Crazy happens when you let busy keep you from yourself.

***

** For 40 more techniques to nurture the mind, grab your copy of The Declutter Code: 10 Simple Steps to Clarity today. Trust me, a mind free of clutter will change your life. **

 

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