Five-minute tasks that will make you healthier and happier today

Although it makes me cringe to say it, one of my biggest personal weaknesses is my tendency to persuade. As much as I believe in the freedom that comes with saying no more often, it’s hard does not to take on too much. If you’re a praying people-pleaser like me, you know the struggle. When an interesting or fun opportunity presents itself, the temptation is often too great. But in an effort to find more happiness in simplicity, I brainstormed a list of five-minute tasks that will make you feel better instantly—without any of the post-commitment guilt.

Because for “yes” women like myself, January can be a particularly rough time. The blank slate of a new Year provides endless possibilities for personal projects (e.g Route we can get fit, hold several dinner partiesvolunteer every week, be more present with our children and take a photography class all this month!).

Featured Image by Michelle Nash.

Picture of Riley Reed

15 Five-Minute Tasks That Will Make You Happier and Healthier – Instantly!

If you, like me, have made similar mistakes on previous New Year’s resolutions and are looking for less ways to make positive life changesthis post is for you.

Keep scrolling for the easy tasks that will make you healthier—and happier—today. (All in five minutes or less! Because in 2023, I’m looking for quick ways to add a dose of health to my day-to-day.

Photo by Michelle Nash

Embrace a healthier breakfast without cooking

We all know that a healthy breakfast is super important, but let’s face it, the morning is usually when we’re most time-starved. Instead of grabbing a packaged granola bar, add a few no-cook “whole” breakfasts to your repertoire, such as these delicious overnight oatsone upgraded avocado toastand your new go-to smoothies.

Exercise at your desk

Especially for those of us who sit for long periods at work, squeezing in a few stretches throughout the day is key to feeling energized. Get one of those trendy treadmill under the desk you’ve seen it all over social media. Or double your workout with some quality time outdoors. Hot girl goes are still going strong for a reason!

Photo by Michelle Nash

Take your vitamins

Of course, eating whole, nutritionally packed foods is priority number one, but even the healthiest eaters among us could use a boost from time to time. I am a proponent of getting a whole food multivitamin, a high quality probiotic, and a magnesium supplement daily. They help me cover all the bases and are a great addition to a well-rounded diet.

Get started

I have started using a foam roller for five minutes every night before bed to relieve tension that has built up in my body during the day. I’ve already noticed a huge difference in how much more relaxed I feel when I crawl under the covers. Here are six ways to start one now.

Photo by Michelle Nash

Add a handful of spinach to your smoothie

You all know we’re big fans of a breakfast smoothie around here. There is no faster way to get your greens than by pitching a handful of raw or frozen spinach in the blender together with the other ingredients. And if you’re not a huge spinach fan, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how the green flavor kind of disappears behind the sweeter fruit.

Spice things up

Many delicious spices have surprising health benefits. Adding a sprinkle to your dishes is a quick way to infuse them with flavor and nutrition. I add half a teaspoon of cinnamon to my oatmeal and coffee, which has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, and adding turmeric to a stir-fry or chili packs it with additional antioxidants.

Photo by Michelle Nash

Take a five minute break

Only in the last few months since I started meditating have I fully appreciated the benefits of breathing. It may sound simple, but taking a five-minute break in the middle of the day to close your eyes and focus on your breath is a total game changer. It’s a quick exercise that will improve your mood, reduce stress and focus your energy where you need it.

Sip Herbal Tea

Enjoying a cup of herbal tea at the end of the day is an instant stress reliever, and can even help curb the sugar cravings that tend to hit an hour after dinner. I always sip a cup Yogi Bedtime Tea while reading in bed, which usually helps me drift off faster. If you want to learn more about the amazing world of herbs, Read this.

Keep a water bottle within reach

For me, water falls into the “out of sight, out of mind” category, so I do my best to keep a bottle filled with filtered water on my desk or in my car at all times. On days when I stay hydrated throughout the day, I feel more focused and alert. This is my current favorite.

Photo by Michelle Nash

Set your phone to Night Shift Mode

You’ve probably heard that the blue light from our electronics is really disruptive to sleep, as it disrupts melatonin production and tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime. Enter: Night Shift mode. If you’re not already familiar with this nifty little iPhone and iPad option, get ready to have your mind blown. If enabled, every night when Night Shift mode starts, your phone automatically adjusts its display to emit a warmer light that’s not as disruptive to sleep as typical blue light. How to activate it. (I have mine set to From sunset to sunrise time schedule.)

Get more game-changing tips to help you get a good night’s sleep!

Wash vegetables as soon as you get home from the grocery store

It only takes a few minutes to rinse and dry vegetables right when you get home from the store, but it can be transformative during the week when you need produce in a hurry. I wrap lettuce in paper towels so it’s ready for salads, and store sturdy vegetables like carrots and celery in glass containers with lids in the fridge where I can see them. When I’m craving a snack, I’m much more likely to reach for veggies and hummus. Here are other time-saving grocery shopping habits I try to adopt.

Pack your lunch

Yes, you CAN pack a healthy and delicious lunch in less time than you can pick up something from the fast food window. My everyday salad is usually greens that I made when I got home from the store, leftover cooked chicken or boiled egg or avocado, something crunchy like nuts or seeds and a homemade dressing that I made for dinner on the weekend. If you’re looking for more salatinspo, try my take this viral recipe.

Stretch while watching TV

Stretching is one of those things that often gets pushed to the bottom of our priority lists, but it makes a huge difference in how your body feels. If you have time for Netflix, you have time to stretch. I make a habit of dedicating the first five minutes while watching a program to getting down on the floor and running through a few stretches. Bonus: They also help me sleep better.

Picture of Kristen Kilpatrick

Keep a gratitude journal

Taking a few minutes to write down what you are grateful for has been shown to lower stress levels, encourage better sleep and increase happiness. In other words, big bang in the five minutes it takes. The key is just to start doing it regularly so it becomes a habit. I keep a notebook and pen in my nightstand and every night I write down a few things that I am grateful for that day. Don’t worry about good handwriting or complete sentences; the simple act of writing will naturally encourage reflection.

Not sure where to start? These are our favorite guided journals. You can also try these journal prompts to inspire even more reflection.

Make your bed in the morning

I love learning what keeps successful women energized and inspired throughout the day. So naturally, I asked my favorite ladies to share their secrets (read them here!). My best takeaway? Make your bed every single morning, as most of them do. The simple task gives you an instant sense of accomplishment and helps you feel like you can take on whatever the day throws at you. Plus, starting with that one good habit creates a domino effect. The feel-good vibes from tackling it will motivate you not to skip out on other positive tasks.

This post was originally published on January 21, 2020 and has since been updated.

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