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We’ve all had those days. The ones where we’ve overslept, been disorganised, had a million outfit changes before leaving the house, and not felt at all set up for success.
We’re adult enough to know that when we take care of ourselves we’re more productive, have more energy, have clearer thoughts, and have better relationships. Yet, often when life gets busy the things that are good for us (like sleep!) are the first to get pushed aside.
The good news is, happiness, or improved emotional well-being, can be achieved by making small changes to your daily routine.
Read on for five small habits with big results that you can incorporate into your life immediately.
1. Get up early and exercise
Do your best work at night? You might want to rethink that. Waking up early and exercising are the two most common traits of highly successful CEOs according to Business Insider.
CEO’s of major companies like Apple (Tim Cook) and the Virgin Group (Richard Branson) get up early, not only to add more productivity to their day, but also to workout, reflect on the day ahead, and get a head start before other priorities arise.
Beyond Blue recommends waking up a little early each day to go for a morning walk, even for just five minutes.
“Starting your day with fresh air and movement not only has physical benefits, it also kick-starts a positive mindset,” they say.
2. Organise a regular catch up with your friends
The 2018 Australian Loneliness Report found that Australians who experience loneliness have significantly worse physical and mental health status than those who connect with friends.
“People with positive social connections report better quality of life and satisfaction with their life,” says Beyond Blue.
If you’ve ever tried to organise a group catch up, you know how hard it is to find a date that works for everyone. Make the most of event planning apps and consider scheduling in a regular non-negotiable catch-up once a month or quarter. Looking to expand your network? Check out our events page for upcoming networking nights and Supper Club dinners in your area.
Oprah Winfrey meditates at least once a day for 20 minutes (and even twice when she can).
“Knowing that stillness is the space where all creative expression, peace, light, and love come to be,” she says.
Dr Grant Blashki, a practising GP and Beyond Blue‘s lead Clinical Advisor says, “The research tells us that practising mindfulness does have some benefits for mental health wellbeing and for managing depression and anxiety”.
Smiling Mind is a brilliant app to try if you’re feeling overwhelmed or to help switch off, unwind and prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep.
4. Start a gratitude journal
A paper written for the Greater Good Science Centre at University of California Berkeley, lists several studies that uncovered the benefits of a gratitude journal, where a person lists what they are grateful for on a regular basis.
The studies found gratitude journal participants were happier, more satisfied with their lives, less materialistic and the best bit … less likely to suffer from burnout.
Other studies found they had better sleep, less fatigue, had lower rates of depression and were more resilient. If journaling isn’t for you, you could try incorporating it verbally in your team meetings or family mealtimes.
5. Get a good night’s sleep
The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School has found that lack of sleep on a regular basis is associated with long-term health consequences, such as chronic medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, which could lead to a shortened life expectancy.
Beyond Blue suggest three evidence-based strategies for creating healthy habits to regularly get a good night’s sleep.
- Start preparing for bed in the afternoon: keep exercise to the morning, avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine four to six hours before bed, and avoid screens two hours before bed.
- Be consistent: as tempting as they are, avoid an afternoon nap, go to bed and wake up the same time each day and keep your bed for sleeping only (no TV, no reading and no scrolling Instagram).
- If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something boring in dim light until you are tired and try again, or write down whatever thoughts and to-do lists are keeping you from falling asleep.