21 Quick Ideas to Find Calm in 2021

February 8, 2021
sky, clouds, and sea


Today I welcome Natalie from Natalie the Explorer as my first GOZ guest post for 2021!  I’ve known Natalie in the online world for quite some time now as we both link up with some of the same link up parties.  She actually hosts her own now called Weekend Coffee Share (more info about this in her bio at the end of this post).  Natalie lives in Ontario, Canada and loves to travel and explore new places.  She always amazes me with her ability to achieve a good balance in life – fitness, nature, arts, blogging, books, learning foreign languages, movies, music, traveling, and trying new things.  Thank you Natalie for sharing with us some fabulous 21 quick ideas to find calm in 2021.  You can learn more about Natalie and how to connect with her in her bio at the end of this post.

If you would like to contribute your very own β€˜Gem of Zen’ please go here to find out how (you might also like to visit all the Gems of Zen we have so far). I would love to hear from you!

sky, clouds, and sea

Finding calm in our daily lives can be challenging, especially when we find ourselves pulled in different directions such as family, pets, work, school, social isolation, major life events, amid a sea of pandemic news.

Calmness is an important part of taking care of yourself. Taking a moment, or a few, to find some time for ourselves helps refocus our attention and restore our energy.

Here are 21 quick ideas to find calm in your day.

If you have 1 minute: 

  1. Take a few deep breaths. Follow your breath from the top of your head to the tip of your toe as you inhale and exhale.
  2. Squeeze and release your eyes, your shoulders, your hands, your toes a few times.
  3. Use your fingers to gently massage your jaws or the back of your neck to release tension.
  4. Get grounded. Pause. Feel your feet in your shoes. If seated, lightly push your feet against the floor.
  5. Recall someone who makes you smile. Bring them to mind for a moment or two.

If you have 5 minutes:

  1. Do gentle stretches to reduce muscular tension in your upper back, neck, arms, lower back, hip, and legs, or a 5-minute warm-up before any workout.
  2. Say thank-you. Text a friend and thank them for something they did for you.
  3. Listen to a favourite song to relax.
  4. Meditate. Be in the moment. Find a free guided meditation online. Find a style which suits you.
  5. Repeat some of the “one minute” ideas to find calm.

If you have 10 minutes:

  1. Stretch it out.
  2. Prepare and enjoy a cup of your favourite tea or other beverage. Sip and savour.
  3. Walk outside. Take a stroll around the block or head towards nature.
  4. Write down 10 things you are thankful for.
  5. Repeat some of the “one minute” or “five minute” ideas to find calm.

If you have 30 minutes or more: 

  1. Walk, cycle, dance, row, run, lift weights, do high intensity interval training (HIIT). You choose.
  2. Phone a friend. Ask them how they are feeling. Share your thoughts and experiences too.
  3. Take a free yoga class online.
  4. Laugh. Read a comic book. Watch a funny movie, show or YouTube video.
  5. Enjoy a relaxing and warm bath.
  6. Think about what activity no longer serves you well and reduce time spent on it or replace it with a healthier activity. Example: Replace “doom scrolling” with 5-minute meditation. Reduce time spent on social media to clear your head space.

These ideas are easy to implement and you can do one or as many as you like. They are also either free or inexpensive.

Give yourself the gift of health by finding calm and taking care of yourself every day.

Suggested free online resources

5-Minute Meditation You Can Do Anywhere

5-Minute Warm-Up Before Any Workout

10-Minute Post-Workout Stretching

30-Minute Dance Cardio Total Body Workout

Yoga with Adriene (also on YouTube)


Natalie is the author of Natalie the Explorer blog, from Ontario, Canada. She writes about the steps she takes to live a healthy and enriched life. She stays fit and finds calm from meditation, yoga practice, nature walks, and regular physical activities.

She currently hosts a weekly Weekend Coffee Share blog party. It runs from Friday at 8 a.m. to Sunday at midnight Toronto time. Everyone is welcome to join in any and every week.

Her favourite part of blogging is the interaction and connection with others. She would love to hear from you. You can connect with her in the comment section below, or via her blog: https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/


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  • Reply Sue from Women Living Well After 50 February 8, 2021 at 6:33 am

    Hi Min lovely to see your Zen series return and we could all do with a dose of Zen after 2020. I loved Natalie’s approach to Calm where she breaks it down into different time limits. This gives so many options for when we are short on time or when we can devote longer to finding calm and stillness.

    • Reply Min February 8, 2021 at 3:35 pm

      Hi Sue and thank you! The Gems of Series will continue but won’t be weekly as it was before … just when I have a post to add to the collection. I figured with the pandemic and the year we had last year and more of the same this year, it was well and truly worthwhile to keep it going a bit longer. I agree with you about Natalie’s post … I really love how she has broken it down into timeframes so that there’s something for everyone and to prove that it doesn’t take an investment of a lot of time to apply a little self care!

    • Reply Natalie February 9, 2021 at 12:40 am

      Hi Sue, I’m glad you like my approach to Calm. I wanted to make it easy, workable, and free or low cost for everyone. The truth is everyone can spare 1 or 5 or 10 minutes to find calm every day and to give themselves the gift of health. Thank you for joining in the conversation.

  • Reply Natalie February 8, 2021 at 6:38 am

    Thank you, Min, for the opportunity to share my quick ideas to find calm on your blog. I took your advice not to overthink when I wrote this guest post. I’ve used these 21 ideas myself. I mentioned the guest post on my blog this week and will do again next week so you may get visitors and commenters over the two weeks.

    I’d love to know which of these ideas you and your blog readers find useful, or if you have other suggestions to find calm, let’s add to the conversation. Thank you again for having me. Have a calm week ahead πŸ™‚

    • Reply Min February 8, 2021 at 3:38 pm

      Hi Natalie, and thank YOU for participating in my series and being the very first guest post here at WOTM for 2021. It is so very much appreciated. I love what you’ve shared with us, particularly how you’ve broken it down into timeframes to suit the individual and the time they have available. There’s so many great suggestions there and it goes to show that you don’t need to devote copious amounts of time to self-care and that even 5 minutes can make a big different to our state of mind and bring a bit of calm to our day. Thank you for mentioning the post in your post on your blog too. I linked it up also with your linky, so hopefully it will be seen and appreciated by many. Have a wonderful week!

      • Reply Natalie February 9, 2021 at 12:44 am

        Hi Min, I’m first guest writer at WOTM in 2021, woohoo πŸ™‚ I wanted to share my gems of Zen that are easy to do, natural, free or low cost, and can be built into everyone’s day at any time. I’m glad you love them. Thank you for linking up with Weekend Coffee Share. Have a great week!

  • Reply Joanne Tracey February 8, 2021 at 8:54 am

    Fabulous gems of zen in here. I especially love how you’ve kept is simple and also shown that you can find pieces of calm even if you have just a few minutes. Thanks Natalie…

    • Reply Min February 8, 2021 at 3:40 pm

      Thanks Jo. I agree with you entirely. I love Natalie’s approach in this post. Not only are the ideas and suggestions fabulous, but the breakdown in time (1, 5, 10, 30 minutes etc) is fantastic!

    • Reply Natalie February 9, 2021 at 12:50 am

      Hi Jo, I’m glad you like my approach to Calm. There are many simple solutions available to us when it comes to self-care. The truth is everyone can spare 1 or 5 or 10 minutes to find calm every day and to give themselves the gift of health. Thank you for joining in the conversation.

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au February 8, 2021 at 11:52 am

    Hi Min and Natalie – this was such a great post and full of ideas that are easy to implement – no excuses! I really liked the different time blocks – because often we don’t have 30 minutes to spare, but we all can find 5 or 10 mins to stop and breathe.

    • Reply Min February 8, 2021 at 3:41 pm

      Hi Leanne – I agree with you entirely. Fabulous post by Natalie. Hope you have a great week!

    • Reply Natalie February 9, 2021 at 12:53 am

      Exactly, Leanne, no excuses when it comes to easy and simple self-care. I’d even go so far by saying if someone cannot spare 1 or 5 minutes to find calm and relax every day, that person is heading towards a health disaster. Thank you for joining in the conversation.

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee February 8, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    Wow. I really love this idea of ‘if you only have 1 minute’. We need to really make the most of what time we have to look after ourselves instead of just saying “I didn’t have enough time today’. Great post!

    • Reply Min February 8, 2021 at 3:42 pm

      Thanks Lydia. I agree – everyone has at least 1 minute free don’t they? And it can make an enormous difference to your state of mind and day if you give yourself one minute (or more) of self-care.

    • Reply Natalie February 9, 2021 at 12:56 am

      Making the most of our time and invest a little bit of it every day in our health is so worth it. I’m glad you love my “if you have 1 minute” idea. Thank you, Lydia, for your comment.

  • Reply Deborah Cook February 8, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks for these Natalie and Min. I tell myself I’ll meditate on waking each day but never do. I do listen to meditation recordings to try to get to sleep though, so I have tried to meditate. But just doing some yoga movements and stretches would be so beneficial.

    • Reply Min February 8, 2021 at 3:44 pm

      Hi Deb – I’m terrible at meditating on my own but I’m good at listening to guided meditations! For anyone who struggles with meditating though – Natalie’s listed so many other fabulous options of things you can do to bring a bit of calm to your day! Yoga movements and stretches are fabulous. Stretches are actually one of my most favourite parts of my pilates class! Feels so good! πŸ™‚

    • Reply Natalie February 9, 2021 at 1:05 am

      Thank you, Deb, for your comment. Yoga movements and gentle stretches are great for our mind and body. There are lots of other natural, quick, and easy ways to take care of ourselves every day.

  • Reply Debbie Harris February 8, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    A good reminder Min and Natalie, that we don’t need oodles of time at all, we can make do with a few minutes here and there and help ourselves find some calmness. Thanks for the ideas and great to see Natalie here Min, I read in her weekend coffee share post that she was to be a guest! #lifethisweek

    • Reply Min February 10, 2021 at 9:26 am

      Exactly Deb – it can be as simple as focusing on our breath for a minute or so or if we prefer or have more time we can luxuriate in another option! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Natalie February 9, 2021 at 1:13 am

    Thank you, Debbie, for your comment. Giving ourselves the gift of health by allocating a few minutes to find calm every day is so worth it. We know no one can pour from an empty cup.

  • Reply Laurie February 9, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    Min, thank you for your Gems of Zen series. Natalie is the perfect guest writer for this topic.

    Natalie, I love how you broke down your tips according to how much time we have available. There are some times when I do just have one minute to spare and need a little zen! I love your ideas that include finding laughter or joy in the time we have for self-care. Laughter (and even smiling) has been shown to release stress-fighting hormones. So good for us physically as well as emotionally.

    • Reply Natalie February 9, 2021 at 1:04 pm

      Thank you, Laurie, for your comment. Many people say or feel they don’t have time to relax or find calm in their day so I provide the quick ideas in small chunks of time. Surely we can find a minute to take a few deep breaths. I agree with you about the benefits of laughter and smiling. Both release tension and improve our mood.

    • Reply Min February 10, 2021 at 9:28 am

      Thanks Laurie. Natalie was very clever to break the post down into time allowances so that it need not be overwhelming or seem out of reach to those with limited time. I agree with you about laughter. It’s something I know I need to do more of!

  • Reply Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid February 9, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    I really enjoy reading Natalie’s blog and love these tips. I’m naturally anxious and need to grab my calm when I can so I’m definitely going to be trying some of these tips! Thank you Natalie and Min!

    • Reply Natalie February 9, 2021 at 11:13 pm

      Thank you, Sammie, for your comment. I’m glad you’re going to try some of these tips. I’ve used all of them myself over the years. It’s like a portable toolkit to find calm. I hope you find them helpful.

    • Reply Min February 10, 2021 at 9:31 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post Sammie & I’m glad to hear you’re going to try some of Natalie’s tips. I’m naturally anxious these days too (perimenopause/menopause) so achieving calm and peace is of great interest to me, and I’m sure many others, hence this series!

  • Reply Sanch @ Sanch Writes February 10, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    Good tips and reminders! I feel like I could adapt number 21 with stop mindless scrolling and replace it! Honestly, when things are overwhelming, I find I’m mindlessly scrolling through Insta or FB or else, online shopping without buying anything!

    • Reply Natalie February 10, 2021 at 11:30 pm

      Thank you, Sanch, for your comment. Yes, when you replace the mindless scrolling with something healthier for even just 1 or 5 minutes, you replace a less healthy habit for a healthier one. Baby steps matter. You’ve got this.

    • Reply Min February 13, 2021 at 12:17 pm

      I’m the same Sanch – too much mindless scrolling! I’m aware of it though and getting better at doing less of it.

  • Reply Denyse Whelan February 11, 2021 at 10:36 am

    Excellent guest post here from Natalie, Min. Good going. And by the way meditation is not something you have to be good at so don’t be so tough on yourself. No-one is. You just need to give it a minute…then perhaps another minute. It’s helped me a great deal as you know.

    Thank you for linking up your blog post today. Next week’s optional prompt is 7/51 Self Care Stories #1. 15 Feb. In this one, I am using the new category in my blog called Ageing Stories because it was a good fit. Look forward to seeing you there too. Denyse.

    • Reply Natalie February 11, 2021 at 10:45 am

      Denyse, I’m glad to hear meditation has helped you a great deal. It’s a simple and effective tool to find calm. It gets easier with regular practice. I hope blog readers who are curious about meditation try the 5-minute Meditation You Can Do Anywhere link that I included. Thank you for joining the conversation.

    • Reply Min February 13, 2021 at 12:20 pm

      Glad you enjoyed Natalie’s post Denyse. I love meditation but always need to listen to a guided one. I can’t seem to do it on my own. My thoughts go everywhere! lol

  • Reply Leslie Susan Clingan February 11, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    Lots of good suggestions, Natalie. I particularly like #2 on the 1 minute list. Such an easy trick to do. Sometimes I don’t realize that my hands are balled in fists or I am grinding my teeth until I take minute to examine myself.

    • Reply Natalie February 11, 2021 at 11:05 pm

      Thank you, Leslie, for your comment. Yes, the squeeze and release is easy and effective. As soon as you realize that you’re tense, squeeze and release your hands, gently massage or shake them, or use your fingers to gently massage the jaws in circular motion.

    • Reply Min February 13, 2021 at 12:22 pm

      I’m the same Leslie. It’s often brought to my attention when I go to Pilates that I’m holding my shoulders too high for example. It’s stress. I don’t realise until I’m told and then when I relax them I can feel the difference.

  • Reply Ally Bean February 12, 2021 at 11:36 pm

    Natalie directed me this way and I’m glad she did. I see many commenters here who I know but somehow I’ve missed this blog. Mea culpa.

    I especially like #6 and #21. Those are good ideas that I try to do, but maybe could do more often. Must remember to stretch…

    • Reply Min February 13, 2021 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Ally & welcome to Write of the Middle! Thanks so much for visiting and I’m so glad Natalie directed you here. I like #6 and #21 too. In fact I like most of them! Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Reply Natalie February 13, 2021 at 12:27 pm

      Thank you, Ally, for your comment. Yes, gentle stretches are so good for our body. If you make it part of your daily routine e.g. 5-10 minutes in the morning or before bed, it makes a difference to our flexibility. Social media consume a lot of our time when we let that happen. I usually do my health exercises before scanning the news.

  • Reply Jody @ Six Little Hearts February 13, 2021 at 10:46 am

    Great ideas. I have been trying to get into the mindfulness thing and I have been finding it difficult, Thank you for the tips and links which I will check out. Hopefully mastering this will become easier over time.

    • Reply Min February 13, 2021 at 12:26 pm

      Hi Jody – I must admit I’ve not been as good at the mindfulness thing as I used to be. I’ve fallen out of the habit of it. It’s a matter of incorporating it into your day so that soon it’s like brushing your teeth – done without thought really. Grounding yourself in the present has so many benefits – I know from previous experience! I usually start getting back into the habit of it by practicing mindfulness while I wash up the dishes in the morning – bringing my attention to the sensation of the soapy water on my hands, noticing what sounds I hear etc etc. Good luck with it!

    • Reply Natalie February 13, 2021 at 12:32 pm

      Jody, Thank you for your comment. I hope you try the 5-minute Meditation You Can Do Anywhere link that I included. 5 minutes go by quickly. It’s OK if your mind wanders, just bring your focus back when you realize you’re wandering. With regular practice, you’ll become better at it and it improves self-awareness.

  • Reply kirstin troyer February 15, 2021 at 2:36 am

    I love these tips. It’s so easy to forget that we don’t need much time to do something for ourselves.

    • Reply Natalie February 15, 2021 at 7:40 am

      Thank you, Kirstin, for your comment. If we don’t take care of ourselves, no one else does it for us. A few minutes a day as a start then once it becomes a good habit, we’ll remember to find calm every day.

    • Reply Min February 16, 2021 at 8:29 am

      Yes it’s a good reminder isn’t it Kirstin that we can all find 1 minute at least to apply some self-care. And it can make an enormous difference to our day!

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit February 18, 2021 at 5:41 am

    Thanks for these tips! I’ll do the one minute and five minute ones thanks!

    • Reply Natalie February 18, 2021 at 6:08 am

      You’re welcome, Leanne. The 1-minute and 5-minute ones are very good. Try the 5-minute warm-up and the 5-minute meditation videos that I included when you can. Have a calm week ahead!

    • Reply Min March 4, 2021 at 10:18 am

      Sounds like a good plan!

  • Reply Marsha March 2, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Great post, Natalie, lots of good ideas that are easy to use. I like the one of substituting something good for a bad habit! πŸ™‚ I need to find something to replace the dark chocolate covered fruity candies from Costco. πŸ™‚

    • Reply Min March 4, 2021 at 10:25 am

      You made me laugh Marsha! πŸ˜† I’m not a fan of dark chocolate which is a shame because it’s much better for us than milk chocolate which I prefer!

  • Reply Natalie March 4, 2021 at 11:51 am

    Marsha, Dark chocolate covered fruity candies? I’m glad I’m nowhere close to a Costco πŸ™‚ Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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