There are so many things you do everyday without thinking… wake up, check your phone, shower, get dressed. But have you stopped to think about the little things you could work into your daily routine to significantly improve your health and wellness. We have! Check out these five small habits can make a difference your day.
Smile in the mirror
It might not seem as important as, say, brushing your teeth or eating brekkie, but the simple act of flashing yourself a cheesy grin can completely change your mood. Everytime you lift the corners of your mouth into a smile, your brain gets a feel-good boost. Smiling not only releases neuropeptides that fight off stress, it also sends out feel-good neurotransmitters – dopamine, endorphins and serotonin – that help to relax your bod, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and can even act as a natural pain reliever. Not in a cheery state first thing in the morning? Studies have shown that even a fake smile can make you feel happier and less stressed.
Stretch for five minutes
Embrace your inner yogi for five minutes in the morning and do some simple stretches. No fancy Lululemon tights or Lorna Jane crop required. Just jump out of bed in your jammies and hit the mat for a speedy stretch sesh! You’ll not only give yourself time to wake up gently, you’ll also help to improve your posture, reduce back pain, increase blood flow and energise your bod. Try a DIY sequence that targets your hamstrings, hips, calves, chest, neck and shoulders, and if you’ve got a bit of extra energy finish with a plank to strengthen your abs and spine. We guarantee it’ll feel better than hitting the snooze button.
Say a little ‘thank you’
You’ve heard all about the benefits of practicing gratitude… stronger relationships, more positive emotions, enhanced empathy, better sleep, boosted self-esteem and a stronger immune system. So far, so good. But if you’ve been putting off a gratitude practice because the thought of writing in a journal every night is as unappealing as eating raw kale, try this simple practice: Every evening, single out one thing you are grateful for happening that day. You can say it quietly to yourself as you hit the sheets, or find a friend who can be ‘gratitude buddy’ and text each other with the one thing you’re most thankful for.
Put down your phone
We’re not suggesting you ditch your phone all day, just for an hour. Leaving your phone in another room while you read, study or even binge a series on Netflix can help improve your focus and concentration. Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that having your phone in close proximity can drain your brain, even if you’re not actively using it? Yep! A study of students in the US found that simply having a phone within reach makes it harder to focus because part of your brain has to actively work to not pick it up. Research has also shown that time off social media can boost your wellbeing, resulting in increased life satisfaction and more good feels.
Add a fruit or veggie to every meal
You don’t have to go full #cleaneating to improve what’s on your plate. If you’re struggling to get your recommended three serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables a day, start by adding at least one fruit or veggie to every meal. Maybe it’s antioxidant-rich berries with your brekkie, vitamin A-packed carrot sticks with lunch or some health-boosting broccoli with dinner. Serving up more fruit and veg in your daily diet can be a small thing that will have a big impact on your health and digestion.