Woman stretching at home
Woman stretching at home

5-minute micro-habits for better long-term health

Stress less, achieve more and live better with these simple suggestions, says Liz Connor.

Liz Connor
Tuesday 20 April 2021 09:30

Whether it’s waking up at 5am to run a half marathon or having the afternoon free to leisurely take a meditation class, building the kind of healthy habits that are practised by celebrities and influencers can feel unrealistic for most people.

We’re all trying our best to stick to a good routine, but with work, family commitments and the easing of lockdown filling up our diaries, it’s hard to maintain a balanced lifestyle every day.

The trick is to build micro-habits – small, sustainable routines that don’t eat up too much time, but make life feel that little bit more under control. These ones take less than five-minutes each.

1. 5-minute journaling

Journaling has so many great benefits, but it’s notable for its effect on stress, as well as its ability to help us to reframe our thoughts positively.

You don’t have to write pages of prose to reap the gains either. Simply taking a moment to jot down a handful of thoughts can help you to check-in with your mood, and work towards personal milestones and goals.

2. Cold water therapy

Taking a cold shower might not be pleasurable in the moment, but according to wellness guru Wim Hof aka The Iceman, braving the icy water can give us more energy, better sleep and improved focus.

Turning down the temperature dial in your morning shower can also help you to recover after an intense workout session, as it’s believed to help reduce muscle pain, soreness and swelling.

3. Declutter one thing

The start of the spring season makes us yearn for clean and calm spaces to relax in, but streamlining your home doesn’t have to be a mammoth all-day mission.

Focusing on micro decluttering is a much more sane and sustainable approach to healthy living. Simply take five-minutes to sort through one thing each day, whether that’s a junk drawer, a food cupboard or a pile of unwanted clothing.

4. Make your bed

Nothing feels more demotivating than coming home to an unmade bed. Taking a moment to tidy your bedroom starts the day off right and sets you up to accomplish the rest of the tasks on your to-do list.

Plus, it could help if you’re suffering with lockdown-induced insomnia too. A study conducted by the The Sleep Foundation found that people who make their bed in the morning are 19% more likely to have a good night’s sleep every day.

5. Drink a glass of water each morning

Drinking water in the morning isn’t just about starting your day off well-hydrated, studies have found that it can help to aid digestion, keep your skin clear and boost your concentration levels.

Although it might be tempting to head straight for the coffee pot, taking the first five minutes of your morning to sip on a glass of water can give your body a head start on keeping your fluids balanced throughout the day.