5-Minute Self-Care Hacks to Break Free from Overeating and Numbing | TMOHP Episode 078

It can be a world-class conundrum. You’re overeating because you’re stressed, tired, too busy, or overwhelmed. You know food isn’t the answer, but you also don’t have the time to give yourself what you really want and need. But is this really the case? As busy people, it’s easy to see a packed schedule and feel like there’s no way you can make time for yourself. It’s also easy to fall for the thought error of all-or-nothing thinking that negates the value of the small pockets of time that you do see in front of you.

What do we do when we have just five spare minutes? Usually not much. It’s become a non-rewarding reflex action to pull out our phones, scroll for a few minutes, or mindlessly eat something we’re not even hungry for. Sometimes we do both. You might tell yourself that you’re taking a break, but odds are that when it’s over you don’t feel any more refreshed than before you zoned out.

Human beings minimize the value of small actions, but long-term success and change are paved with the little things that you can actually implement. And so, I present to you, a list of 5-minute self-care hacks that are alternatives to overeating and/or numbing out.

The next time you’re about to mindlessly click on social media because you only have five minutes, try one of these ideas instead.

In this episode:

  • How to get more of what you need - even when you don’t have time
  • 50 simple ways to do something nice for yourself in five minutes or less
  • A few strategies you can put in place in five minutes that will generate more time in the future
  • What to do when you have five minutes to help identify which hacks might work best

[If you love this podcast, will you take 30 seconds to leave a review? It makes all the difference in my ability to share this information!]

Featured on the show:

  • Not sure why you’re overeating, or what your Hidden Hungers are? Take the free Hidden Hungers Quiz and get a free set of resources matched to your results.
  • Your Missing Peace  is the program for women ready to stop overeating and emotional eating for good. Enrollment is open and NOW is the perfect time to join us! Go here to learn more
  • Private Coaching. One-on-one coaching is for you if you’re looking for something completely individualized and specific to your situation. Openings are limited. Learn more here.

Enjoy the show?

Full episode transcript:

Hello everybody. Welcome back to the Too Much on Her Plate Podcast. I have a question for you. If you had to estimate how many times today do you think that you have said or had a thought that began with "I don't have time." One of the things I hear over and over and over again in frustration from new members in the Missing Peace program or clients that I'm working with is that I don't have time. I don't have time to make time for myself. I can make these lists of these things that I want to do, and I don't have time. I feel like my time doesn't exist.

And we all know what happens when we don't have time to take care of ourselves. Right? If you don't have time to give yourself what you need, if you don't have time to respond to your own hidden hungers, then it becomes so easy to reach for something to eat, to fill in the gap. To make up for it. To numb yourself or push down the urge or the desire or the feeling to give yourself that temporary burst of energy. Or sense of reward or a treat or something special. That thought, that belief that I don't have time gets in the way in so many powerful places. And you may not have a lot of time. I work with a lot of busy women. We are busier than ever these days. The demands are more than ever these days.

They come at us from multiple directions. Right? You can be on a zoom and getting a text and having emails coming in. And having somebody in your real actual life, like beckoning to you from the corner. Right? Time is at a premium. There's another piece of this whole puzzle that can create some of the stuckness that a lot of people feel, and that is all or nothing thinking.

So often we look at our schedule and we think, I don't have time. And what we don't consciously maybe realize is that when we say we don't have time, we're looking for a significant block of time. We're telling ourselves how much time we need, if we are going to take some time. I don't have time, might mean I don't have a half hour or I don't have an hour, or I don't have an afternoon. But I am willing to bet you, you do have some time. And I'm willing to bet you that there are significant amounts of time, and they may come in three minute, five minute, 20 minute sections, but significant amounts of time in your life where on the one hand- your brain is telling you, I don't have time to do anything nice for myself- I don't have time to take a break. And because you don't have time, it gets filled with numbing or autopilot kind of activities that might feel like you're hitting the pause button. I mean, you have a few minutes and so you scroll through your social media feed or do something that just feels like zoning out, or maybe you go get a snack.

It might feel like it's giving yourself a little bit of a break or a little bit of time for yourself in air quotes. But really those kind of activities are like hitting the pause button. They don't tend to leave us feeling refueled or rejuvenated or readjusted in our energy in any kind of way.

So the thoughts we have about not having enough time get in our way. The expectations that in order to take time for ourselves, we need a big chunk of time, get in our way. And not taking the time also gets in our way. Especially if you are trying to make changes in your relationship with food if you are trying to break patterns of overeating and emotional eating. How much eating happens because it's taking the place of something else or helping you manage your feelings or helping you numb or zone out?

So I have something practical for you today. The next time that you are about to mindlessly click on social media, because you only have five minutes. I have a whole bunch of ideas for you to try instead. I have a whole bunch of simple ways that you can do something nice for yourself or sooth yourself, or give yourself something that you need in five minutes or less.

Now, a disclaimer at the beginning of this, I'm, I'm here to generate ideas. My goal in this episode is to get you thinking about the power of five minutes. My goal is not to tell you that any one of these things is going to be exactly what you need in the moment. Some of them are very practical, some of them are about getting ahead of your game. And some of them are about soothing yourself. Some of them are about doing something that feels like you took a step forward with your health, or your wellness, or your wellbeing. And some of them are deliberate ways to shift your energy or to create some downtime.

Some or all or none of these ideas may fit you. My goal in this episode is to get you thinking about ways that you could use five minutes or less to feel better. To shift your energy, to make your life better, or to give yourself something lovely.

Here are my 50 simple ways to do something nice for yourself in five minutes or less. In five minutes or less, you can go get a glass of water and drink it. And tell yourself you're working on staying hydrated. You can make a decision that needs to be made and call it good. You can get out of indecision, make a decision, and move on. In five minutes or less, there is something that you can complete. You could send an email, schedule an appointment, respond to the jury summons. You could close the loop on something and create a little tiny bit of calm in your life. Open loops. They're stressful.

In five minutes or less, you could get 200 steps if that's your thing. You could wash the salad greens if that's something that is going to help you move forward with something that you want to be able to do later. In five minutes or less, you could fill your essential oil diffuser and use it and start changing your atmosphere for the rest of the afternoon. You could change your phone wallpaper to a picture that you love, that lights you up, that makes you smile. You can spend five minutes journaling. You could also spend five minutes doing pushups or squats or walking lunges.

Five minutes. You could spend five minutes making a list of things that you can ask for help with. Or you could delegate a bunch of things for five minutes. Do you really have to be the one who empties the dishwasher or picks up the mail or stops by the grocery store tonight? Are you really the only person who can make that phone call? Spending five minutes delegating things? How much time could that give you?

You can spend five minutes making a cup of tea. Or five minutes doing deep breathing, leaning back in your desk chair or on a comfy sofa taking deep breaths. Here's a five minute strategy that's kind of meta. Would it be possible to make every appointment in your calendar every appointment five minutes longer, but not tell anyone? And then use that extra time to tie up loose ends. Or make notes or file away your paperwork or clear your mind before the next thing. Take an actual transition before you start the next thing.

In five minutes, you can listen to your favorite song. You can send a quick thank you note or email or text of appreciation to somebody. Tell them you appreciate them. Both of you will benefit. It may seem mundane, but you can spend five minutes organizing your vitamins and your supplements for the week and being ready to go and make sure that, make sure that you actually get those things. There are five minute meditations on many meditation apps. You can plug and play.

In five minutes you can make a list of things you're grateful for. In five minutes, you can take some great smelling stuff and give yourself a hand massage or a foot massage, or massage some oil into your cuticles. What if you took five minutes to map out your next vacation dates on your calendar? Actually put them on your calendar and maybe even submit the paperwork in five minutes.

In five minutes, you could create a reminder, set an alarm on your phone that is going to go off mid-afternoon, and then give it a title that is the perfect mid-afternoon reminder for you to stop and pause and check in with yourself. You can spend five minutes stretching. You can spend five minutes, many of you, stepping outside and just experiencing the weather. Breathing the outdoor air, feeling the wind or the rain or the sun, or the warmth or the chill on your skin. Giving yourself five minutes of being outdoors.

I have a lot more ideas that I am going to continue to share with you, and I think this is a great place to stop and ask yourself, when is the last time that you gave yourself the gift of five intentional minutes? When's the last time that you spent five unintentional minutes on autopilot- numbing out, spending time in a way that was hitting the pause button, but didn't leave you anywhere better or different than when you started? Five minutes. Sometimes five minutes can work miracles.

You know what else you can do in five minutes, you can smile. I know it sounds silly. I know it sounds corny, but you could smile whether you feel happy or not. Picture something that does create a happy feeling inside you. Maybe it's that wallpaper that you changed on your phone. Melt into that feeling as much as you can and let your mood lift from the inside out.

We can spend five minutes giving ourselves experiences that shift our mood maybe a little bit, sometimes a lot. In five minutes, you could take one small step towards something that you have been procrastinating, something that you have put off. Make the actual phone call or schedule it, put it in your calendar, send that email asking for help or whatever it feels like the next doable step is just do one small thing. That feeling of momentum that we create when we move towards something that is important to us? That feeling of momentum is good for us. It boosts our energy, it boosts our confidence. It helps us feel positive about the things that we're doing.

Oh, you know what else you can do in five minutes? You can say no to something. You can say no. You can decline an invitation. You can create a five minute window by eliminating something. Just do it. Practice saying no. And guess what? You get the bonus of every time you use your no muscle, it gets easier and you get stronger.

In five minutes you could sign up for an online grocery delivery service if you haven't already started using one. Or you can put together a part of your online grocery order if that is something you already have in motion. You can take care of business in five minutes. But not everybody else's business. Business that helps you feel settled and anchored and on the course that you want to be on.

In five minutes, you can take a power pose that is striking a pose that feels powerful. A lot of people are familiar with the Wonder Woman pose with your hands on your hips and your feet, hip width apart standing tall with your chest out like Wonder Woman. Do a power pose. Hold it for three minutes and notice how it shifts how you feel.

Maybe you want to spend those five minutes putting some great juicy books on hold at your local library, or browsing online and buying some books. You can spend five minutes updating your workout playlist or your cooking dinner playlist, or your relaxation playlist or your car commute playlist. You could light a candle and just have five minutes. How would that feel?

I know you have spent more than five minutes staring at your to-do list or maybe not wanting to stare at your to-do list and so going and getting something to eat instead, right? What if you made other kinds of lists? What if you devoted five minutes to starting a list of places that you want to visit, or fun things that you want to do on a weekend? What if you set a timer, close your eyes and here's something radical- do nothing for five minutes. Do nothing for five minutes, and because you set a timer, it is okay if you fall asleep.

Here is another great meta five minute strategy. You could spend those five minutes creating more space and less stress for yourself by turning off some of the alerts that are on your phone or your iPad or your computer. Do you really need all the email alerts? Do you really need the news alerts? Do you really need the social alerts? Do a cleanse. And while you're at it, make sure you've got your Do not disturb settings set in a way that will serve you.

Here's another thing about these five minute breaks, because like I said, I'm throwing out lots of different ideas that go in all sorts of different directions and cover very different bases. So if you really want to supercharge a few extra minutes that you find that you have. Start by just simply taking a deep breath and asking yourself, what do I know about what I need or want in these five minutes? Do I want rest? Do I want to feel like I've made some inroads on something that's important to me? Do I want to perk up? Do I want to shift my thinking? Do I just want some quiet? What do I want? And then you can decide if you want to do something productive, like lay out your clothes for tomorrow. Or get the coffee ready in the coffee maker, or make your lunch. Or if you want to text your significant other text, text your partner and ask them out on a date. What if you asked yourself, how would I like to feel at the end of the next five minutes?

Okay, we have about five minutes left in this podcast episode, so I have to keep going. Let's see more things that you can do in five minutes. You can make appointments, not everybody else's appointments, but what about self-care appointments for yourself? Schedule your mammogram. Schedule your hair appointment, schedule your annual exam, or schedule a pedicure. Sometimes the biggest act of self-care isn't something we can do in this moment. It is creating the space and the opportunity to do it at a later date. Schedule those appointments. Declutter your desk. Dance, put on some music and take a dance break.

Here's one that may make your mind rebel, but it can be very powerful. Take five minutes and make a list of your strengths. Make a list of the things you are really good at and don't fight with yourself. I dare you to do this one. A super easy one that can be calming and soothing and so rewarding, is to spend some time with your animals. Spend some time with your pets. Just be. They know how to be. Let them teach you.

You can also spend some time just practicing being in the moment by doing something that allows you to tune in with all of your senses and really savoring the five minutes. A great way to do this that I love is to get one of those little oranges they, they, they're called all sorts of different things. Satsumas or mandarins or tangerines or, but take one of those little tiny oranges and eat it. It is very difficult to do something else while you are pealing and separating and getting your fingers sticky from those oranges and just eat the orange. Taste it. Smell it. Experience, you know, getting it ready, taking the peel off, be in the moment. It will slow you down. It will be bring you into the present and it just might anchor you a little bit more than before you started. And all of these are really good things.

Another thing that can help you get anchored or get you into the present and also de-stress you some is to create some order. Pick an area of your life where it would feel good to have a little more order. It could be as simple as deciding that in the next five minutes you are going to wander around and put 10 things away. Just put them away, create some order.

Here's a luxurious one. You can spend five minutes lying down and just stretching. Stretch out as long as you can. Stretch your arms overhead, reach your toes away from you. Create space in your body and just breathe. Or you could get industrious. You could Google something you have always wanted the answer to. Take the time to actually watch the how-to video on YouTube about something that you have been wondering how to do or that you're really interested in.

What might happen for you? What might shift, just even a teeny tiny bit if your day was sprinkled with five minutes that felt like they addressed your needs? They could be silly and fun five minutes. Right? You could do something childlike. You could go outside in hula hoop or blow bubbles on your back deck or grab some Play-Doh and just play with it for five minutes. Color in a coloring book. What would change if you gave yourself five minutes to decompress or to ground yourself or to create some order?

Sometimes you can even multitask and get your five minutes. Think about if you are commuting to work. Think about how you're using that time. What if you spent some of your commute time or some of your waiting time and the next time you're standing in line reviewing what went well? Reviewing what you're proud of. Allowing some of that positivity into your thoughts instead of constantly recycling, you know, or recycling through your to-do list. Which actually is focusing your brain on the things that you haven't done.

Another great use of five minutes is taking five extra minutes at meals. Take five extra minutes. Slow down. Put your fork down between bites. Be present for the conversation. Pause to notice the taste, the texture of your food. Ask yourself whether you're still hungry. Ask yourself whether you're feeling satisfied. Ask yourself whether you are enjoying what you're eating. Slow down the process. Just take five extra minutes.

Okay. I have two more ideas for. Here's another list that you could spend some time on. Make a list of things that you're tolerating. Or make a list of things that just aren't working for you. Do not stress about it do not go into problem solving mode. Just make the list. These are things I'm tolerating. These are things that aren't working for me. You will be amazed at the power of noticing these things. You will be amazed at how simply listing these things, writing them down, getting them out of your head, noticing these things that you are tolerating and aren't working well? You'll be amazed at how they, these things can begin to change and you can begin to change just by paying attention.

And then if you really want to cement this in. What if you take five minutes to let somebody that you trust somebody in your support system know? Tell them that you are working at getting better at taking time for yourself. You are working at making yourself, and taking time for yourself, even in small little minutes, a priority. It's something that you're working to strengthen. What would it be like to share that with somebody you trust and somebody that's in your corner?

I hope I got your brain working with these ideas. And I also hope that as you go through your day, you will start to notice where you deny yourself those five minutes. You will start to notice, pay attention to the places where you go on autopilot. Notice the places that you have gotten conditioned to zoning out and just kind of numbing. And pay attention to how getting something to eat or having that extra snack or even emotional eating, or even bingeing might be taking the place of you spending some quality time on you. And then take five minutes and pick a few of these things or your own ideas that you want to try.

It only has to take five minutes.

I'll talk to you soon.


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Your Missing Peace is the psychologist-designed program that provides the tools, the support, the coaching, and the confidence to create freedom from emotional eating and overeating. Finally - emotional eating help done right! Your Missing Peace is specifically designed for smart, high-achieving women who are DONE with diets, who want a lasting solution, and who are ready to take their power back from food, from overeating, and the scale. 

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