A big life change is a bit like a marathon: you need to prepare yourself for it beforehand, or it likely won’t end very well, or at least, according to plan.
So, without further ado: here are ten simple ways to change your life (in under 5 minutes):
1. Drink (More) Water
Dehydration is responsible for a whole load of horrible symptoms. if you find yourself getting headaches
Often, feeling tired during the day and not going to the toilet that often (yep, dehydration also causes constipation), it’s likely due to not drinking enough water. A good guideline is for around 2 liters a day – and more in hot weather.
Easy ways to drink more water:
- Eat liquidy foods,
- Drink Herbal teas without caffeine,
- Buy a water bottle with daily amounts marked out.
2. Prepare the Night Before
There’s nothing worse than feeling rushed in the morning, especially if you’ve overslept. One, simple life-changing hack, is to get as much as you can ready the night before. It’s guaranteed to be less stressful and keep you more organised – as well as the added bonuses of anxiety-free sleep and a few more minutes in bed in the morning.
Things to prepare the night before:
- Lunches/snacks for the next day,
- Important paperwork or items,
- Clothes to wear the next day.
3. Get Outside
Cabin Fever is the feeling of irritability and restlessness from being inside for too long. Everyone’s Cabin fever-limits are different; however one very quick and easy to way to clear your head and get into the life-changing mood is to go outside, even for a short
period of time.
Easy ways to get outside:
- Go for a long walk alone/with a friend,
- Go to a local park or place of interest,
- Sit on a balcony, porch or nearby bench.
4. Ignore Your Phone
While the problems linked to too much smartphone use have been written about continuously over the past few years, most of us still refuse to pay any attention. Eye strain, disrupted sleep and feeling low are just a very small sample of what overuse can do in an incredibly short period of time, and that’s before we even touch on the dangers of phone addiction – which is another topic, for another day.
Easy ways to ignore your phone:
- Leave it overnight in a different room. Buy an alarm clock if you need one.
- Have ‘blackout’ hours every evening/weekend, when you restrict phone use,
- Have a routine where each evening/weekend/outing, only one person has a phone – and only in case of emergency.
5. Set Clear Work/Rest Times
As with the last point, setting boundaries between ‘work’ time and ‘rest’ or leisure time has become more difficult in the past few years. Whether it’s working with international people or companies, a boss who emails you after you’ve left the office, or an urgent project you just need to get done, not ‘switching off’ becomes more difficult once it becomes a pattern or a habit. Remember, no one on their death bed ever says that they wished they had worked longer hours, or harder!
How to set clear work/rest times:
- Switch off your phone at certain hours (see point above),
- Force yourself to do something else and to take your rest time – a class, a social activity etc.
- Remind yourself that if you’re not getting paid for it, out of hours work can be done the next working day, during work hours.
6. Take a Hot Shower
Hot showers have magical powers. Even if it’s hot outside, a hot shower is still a great idea – the hot water equals your hot body temperature inside and cools you down once you finish. And obviously, who doesn’t love a bit of time to themselves, getting clean and letting their mind wander…?
Easy ways to make your hot shower even more epic:
- Add some lavender oil to a cloth and put it on the shower floor – lavender is amazing for relaxation and stress relief,
- Put your favorite music on and enjoy it – it’s up to you if you want to sing along!
- Close the shower door/curtain and let the room steam up – the steam will do wonders for your skin and open up your nasal passages too (great fi you have a blocked nose or ears, or a sore throat).
7. Switch Coffee for Herbal Tea
Caffeine has its benefits and its drawbacks, and while a little bit of it is a good metabolism booster, drinking more than one cup of coffee a day is most likely too much. Too much caffeine can overload your system – so you might feel really wired and energetic for a while, before that feeling is pulled like a ripcord, and you come crashing down off the caffeine high. If you need a good hot drink to substitute – go for herbal teas, particularly green teas, which include antioxidants, and are proven to boost your digestion and lower your blood pressure.
Easy ways to switch out caffeine:
- Switch your coffee to decaff, if you’re feeling brave 😀
- Switch to English Breakfast tea, or Early Grey. While these still have caffeine in them, it’s a lot less than coffee, plus they contain antioxidants.
8. Switch White for Brown
If you love your carbs but always feel bloated after eating them, it’s probably because of the type of carbs you’re eating. White carbs, such as white breads, pastas and rices, are highly processed – meaning they are bleached and treated, so that when you eat them, your body absorbs them quickly, producing your blood sugar to spike…and then come crashing down. Not only does this leave you feeling bloated, but it also means you feel hungry pretty soon afterwards. It’s better to switch to brown carbs and less processed foods, which the body absorbs more slowly, meaning you feel better during the digestions process and are fuller for longer.
Easy white carbs to brown carbs switches to make
- White pasta for wholewheat,
- White rice for brown rice,
- White bread for wholewheat.
9. Be More Sociable
It’s pretty self-explanatory, but simply put – we are social creatures, designed to want and need to be around people. The longer you lack meaningful social interactions – that is, with people you are relaxed and comfortable around, not the colleague you say hi to at lunch occasionally – the worse you will start to feel. If you’re really not feeling like you can go out and see people, or that you don’t have time, arrange to do a flying meet up at a nearby location, or have them come to you. A 5 minute chat or a cup of (herbal) tea is better than nothing at all – and it will encourage you to do it more often.
Easy ways to be sociable (when you don’t feel like it/don’t have time)
- Meet up in a cafe. Set yourself a time limit of however long it takes to finish your drink.
- Go for a quick walk together.
- Pick up the phone and call someone – so you can hear their voice and they can hear yours. Have a conversation for as long as you can.
10. Start a Bedtime Routine
Sleep Hygiene is the practise of having a good night’s sleep, and what it takes to make sure you do. As mentioned throughout this post, keeping a smartphone/laptop/device in your bedroom with you is a very bad idea. Electronic devices emit ‘blue light‘, which disturbs your sleep due to the light and radio waves. Sleeping properly can change your whole day, and even strengthen your immune system (again, this is a topic I’ll be delving into more in depth in another post), and if you’re an anxious sleeper or insomniac, training your body with a regular bedtime routine is the best way to get you sleeping like a baby once the routine kicks in. It’s a good idea to read up on sleep hygiene, and I’ll be writing a post about it soon.
Easy bedtime routines to get you started:
- Switch off your phone when you get home and get everything prepared for the next day,
- Spend some time with your friends/family/enjoying your ‘rest’time,
- Have a hot shower and read a book in bed.
And there you have it – easy, 5 minute life hacks – which, when followed properly, can change your life and get you prepared for anything. I hope it’s helped!
What do you think about this list? Let me know in the comments below.
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All the best,
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Also published on Medium.