Little life-changing habits

4 minutes reading time

When it comes to wellness there are so many different angles to consider. There’s your physical health, diet and exercise levels.  And then there’s your mental health, happiness and mindset.  If you want to make a change in your life it can often feel like there are a hundred different paths you could follow and deciding which one is right for you can be rather overwhelming.

Sometimes, less is more and just making a few small changes to your daily routine or thought processes can have a long-lasting effect on your overall wellbeing.  Change doesn’t have to be overwhelming and it doesn’t have to be big.  Little improvements can be just as powerful, and might also kick-start your ability to make those bigger changes over time anyway.

Here are ten 2-minute habits you could try incorporating into your daily routine.

1) Focus on your breathing

When you feel stressed out, you generally don’t breathe as fully as when you do when you’re relaxed.  Everything becomes tense and blood doesn’t flow as freely to your brain, meaning it becomes harder to maintain your energy levels and focus. Taking 2 minutes to breathe deeply can make a world of difference.

Try this:

Breathe in through your nose for a count of five, filling your lungs and expanding your ribs and belly.  Hold for a moment, the exhale for a count of five, contracting your lungs and belly towards your spine as you do so. Repeat 10 times. And relax.

2) Savour your food

Believe it or not, how you eat is almost as important as what you eat. Rushing your meals and not chewing each mouthful properly can lead to indigestion and bloating.  It can also mean that the food isn’t broken down as well, so your body can’t absorb all of the nutrients.

Try this:

Chew each bite at least 25 times before swallowing. Slower, more mindful eating allows you to be more relaxed while you eat, which in turn helps digestion.  It also means you give your body more time to feel full and are therefore also likely to eat less!

3. Drink lemon water

Lemon juice can help to prep your digestive system and give you a little boost of Vitamin C.  Although they taste acidic, lemons are actually alkaline forming, which means they can help your body to flush out toxins and maintain a neutral PH balance.

Try this:

Rehydrate and kick-start your metabolism by swapping your morning cuppa for a mug of warm lemon water instead. Simply add a few slices of fresh lemon to a cup of boiling water and let it infuse and cool for a couple of minutes before drinking.

4. Get moving

We all know it’s important to exercise regularly, but that doesn’t just mean heading to the gym for an hour after work.  It’s important to keep moving throughout the day to help boost your energy levels and focus, as well as prevent stiff joints and poor circulation.

Try this:

For every hour of sitting, try a couple of minutes of mobility exercises, such as circling your arms, shoulders and pelvis, walking about and stretching.

5. Sit up

Poor posture can have a huge impact on your muscles and lead to all sorts of aches and pains.  If your spine and joints aren’t properly aligned, then neck, back, hip and knee problems usually follow.

Try this:

Take two minutes to check your posture. Stand tall and make sure your feet are placed squarely on the floor.  Check your knees and hips are aligned and that your pelvis is over your heels. Lift your chest and tuck your chin in very slightly. See how this feels and correct yourself whenever you feel your posture slipping.

6. Go barefoot

It may sound a bit woo woo, but research has shown that going barefoot outdoors can improve your mood and your sleep. It can also reduce inflammation and chronic pain. Yes really! The pressure points in your feet are connected to the rest of your body, so walking barefoot on earth or grass can stimulate the body’s own healing system.

Try this:

When the weather allows it, kick off your shoes for 2 minutes a day and take a few steps through some cool grass in your garden or local park.

7. Brush your skin

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so it requires good care.  Dry brushing is a technique that helps to get rid of dead skin cells and bring a healthy glow to your skin.  It also stimulates the lymphatic system, which is important for fighting infection and getting rid of toxins.

Try this:

For just a couple of minutes, once a week, use a dry body brush to make long, sweeping movements from your feet upwards towards your heart (avoiding the face).  There is no need to apply too much pressure.

8. Be clear on your intentions

Strong intentions are the building blocks for positive action. By deciding what you’re hoping to achieve before you act, you are much more likely to be successful when you do take action. The power of intention works just as well in every day moments as it does for the more life-changing ones.

Try this:

Act purposefully throughout your day by setting intentions as you go. Ask yourself what you’re hoping to achieve. It can be small or big. For example, before you eat, set an intention to eat more mindfully. Before you go to the gym, connect with your intention to improve your strength.

9. Wear sunscreen

Statistics suggest that up to 1 in 5 of us will develop skin cancer and we also know that the sun can be responsible for signs of premature ageing and wrinkles. Applying sunscreen daily is such an easy habit to adopt, but the health benefits could last you a lifetime.

Try this:

Even if you’re not going to be outdoors for any great length of time, slap on some sunscreen before you head out. Don’t save your sunscreen for warm weather and holidays, make it an everyday thing instead.  Aim for an SPF of 30.

10. Be grateful

We’re all under pressure to be more, do more and achieve more, but this can be draining and leave us feeling constantly unfulfilled. Taking time to filter out that noise and be grateful for what we already have, is proven to have a positive effect on your mindset and energy levels.

Try this:

Spend 2 minutes a day just jotting down what you’re grateful for. This can be anything from your good health through to the sound of a child laughing. Whatever makes you feel good.  Maybe write a thank you note to someone or some positive affirmations for yourself.

Share your experiences

Have you made a small, positive change in your routine lately that has led to bigger lifestyle improvements? Perhaps you’ve tried one of these 10 suggestions for a few weeks and notice a difference in your outlook?  Whatever your experience, we’d love to hear from you.  Feel free to pop your comments in the box below.

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Protected: Christina @ King Lane Salon, Leeds

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