The statistics all say the same thing, or a variation of it: getting up and taking a break while working is crucial to productivity (and, well, your health and well-being). Now that I'm working from home for the foreseeable future, I'm trying my best to stick to that plan, which I held on to in a traditional office setting. But while I once filled those 10 minutes with a lap or two around the block, a coffee run, or even a mindless scroll through TikTok while standing at the giveaway table, I now fill that time with self-care.
Experts will tell you that self-care can benefit almost every aspect of life, specifically improving your physical and emotional health — and it makes sense. Like a lot of people who are currently working from home, I regularly get anxious and stressed about always being "on": being online, checking my inbox, being available at all hours, etc. When I neglect my self-care routine, those stress levels seep into different areas of my life and affect everything from my productivity to my complexion to even general physical discomfort (hello, lower back pain and shoulder tension). Luckily, I've found simple — and speedy — ways to make a difference.
Although my work-from-home routine is still a work in progress, ahead are the manageable 10-minute self-care tips I've added into my day.
Within the first few weeks of working from home, the healthy glow and brightness I once knew disappeared and, just like that, most of the skin-care products I owned stopped working for me. Once I realized my skin wasn't benefiting from my usual 10-step routine, I knew I had to find something different. Then, I tried the SK-II Pitera First Experience Kit, a three-step regimen that helped my skin recover. Not only did I see instant results, but I have since experienced the long-term benefits of using this streamlined skin-care regimen daily.
Considering the fact that I haven't experienced much human contact since March, the meditative process of applying these three products is nothing short of pure bliss. After I wash my face, I apply the SK-II toner, which eliminates excess dirt and oil and prepares my skin for every step that follows. Then, I use the Pitera Essence, a game-changing lightweight liquid that smooths, softens, enhances radiance, and moisturizes my skin like nothing else. This concentrated miracle water is made up of 90 percent Pitera, a natural byproduct of yeast fermentation, which functions so similarly to the skin's Natural Moisturizing Factors that it can penetrate deeply, work quickly, and transform skin unlike other ingredients. To say my skin has never looked better since using this essence would be an understatement; my lackluster complexion has been replaced with supple skin and renewed radiance. Bonus: I have one fewer thing to stress about when my skin looks this healthy.
By this point, I've already clocked a few minutes, but the third and final step is an occasional indulgence that I love: the SK-II Facial Treatment Mask. This sheet mask is soaked in Pitera for even more radiance-boosting benefits. The mask works best when worn for at least 10 minutes, making it the perfect opportunity to multitask, especially in the morning. Nothing says self-care quite like brewing a cup of coffee while giving your skin a moment to chill. To maintain the ritual, I make sure to repeat the first two steps — applying the toner and patting in my essence — at night, too.
I spotted a trend on TikTok not that long ago that involved a few major lifestyle overhauls, like working out twice a day for 45 minutes, drinking a gallon of water, and reading a few pages of a nonfiction book. Essentially, these tips feed your mind and body. While I've politely passed on the rigid exercise routine — and I already drink a lot of water out of habit — I thought absorbing the reading suggestion would be beneficial. Not only is reading a proven stress-reducer but it's also an excuse to look away from a screen.
I'm a relatively avid reader, but I've recently decided to swap out some of the romance and fiction novels that cover my bedside table with educational essays and compelling memoirs. Although I try to limit myself to reading only for 10 minutes before bed (so I can fall asleep at a somewhat reasonable hour), I find that picking up any of these books throughout the day and giving myself the time to read and learn has been a critical part of my self-care routine.
It doesn't take long until my workday has begun and my body is begging for some movement. If you thought normal desk chairs were uncomfortable, you haven't sat at my kitchen table. I take this time to step away from my computer, roll out a yoga mat, and stretch. I have a yearly subscription to an online training service where I can try a range of workouts — from pilates to outdoor running to yoga — that fit every skill level. Bonus: you can filter based on music genre, which makes paying for the subscription worthwhile. I try to complete a full Vinyasa flow sequence, but often find myself repeating a few poses (reclined Supine Twist and Pigeon Pose are two favorites). Either way, I feel rejuvenated and all the kinks in my back are gone by the time my 10 minutes are up. I usually like repeating this process at the end of the day, too!
I tend to make a really big mess of my room in the morning. Shocker: I still take a lot of time to get dressed even though I've traded my boot-cut jeans and blouses for comfy joggers and sweatshirts. Still, my closet is usually torn apart and my drawers spilling from unfolded clothes. Also, any New Yorker will be able to empathize with the amount of dust that collects in my room on an hourly basis. So, regularly wiping down my computer and desk is a must. I know people say that creative minds work better in clutter, but cleaning is therapeutic for me, and taking 10 minutes to clear up any mess is a quick solution for me to relax and an excuse to stand.
My favorite morning routine used to involve doing my makeup while listening to a podcast before work. I would plan out which episode I would listen to each evening, so I had something major to look forward to when my alarm clock went off. Not only was this a great way to avoid hitting snooze, but it was a fun way to feel motivated while getting ready.
Now that my getting-ready routine looks a lot different (essentially, I don't), I've added a quick podcast-listening session into the middle of the day. Around this time, I grab a snack or lunch, put on my headphones, and turn on an episode. While most podcasts tend to be long, like very long, there are a few that limit their airtime to be short and sweet. One of my favorite podcasts takes just 10 minutes to teach listeners a valuable but digestible lesson, whether it's about decreasing anxiety, transforming a judgmental mind, or breaking free from exhausted goals.