Five-minute happy habits

Young woman smiling at herself in a mirror's reflection

'Healthy' habits might talk about going to the gym or having a yucky smoothie, but usually a 'healthy' habit for me is something that's fun-for-one or that gives me instant happiness when I need it most.

Following Health Week at the end of April, I've been reflecting on what five-minute habits make me feel better than I realise. Student life is hectic and messy, and we can feel like we don't have time for the picture-perfect self-care routines that cover YouTube. That being said, I've found that I really only need five minutes to do the things that ground myself enough to keep going, even if it is just to get me through until the weekend.

Lying on my bed: Window open with the breeze hitting my face, headphones on with lofi girl study music playing, sunlight filtering through my blinds-- it always seems like a waste of time to me at first, but this is by far one of my favourite things to do once I'm in the moment. I can't help but smile every time.

Playing something mindless: It's not ideal to get stuck into a game like Breath of the Wild when I've got papers to read. My favourite 'mindless' games at the moment are Sky (for free!) and Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch. Whether its fulfilling my daily quests or watering my flowers, I give myself a five-minute reward for the hard work I've done so far. It becomes something to look forward to after I complete a few more things for the day.

A quick stretch routine from YouTube: There are HEAPS out there, all designed for people who are looking for a short break from their desk or to start their morning in a different way. Stretching loosens up my shoulders and my brain automatically resets itself when I step away from my laptop for a moment.

Being my own hype crew: I was so nervous to play my first basketball game this week that I didn't want to go. But I wanted to have a good time, so while I was driving I blasted some of my favourite Japanese rock and started hyping myself up. I hope the people in the cars next to me thought I was on a phone-call, or they would've just heard me passionately yelling "YOU'RE AMAZING," and "YOU'RE DOING YOUR BEST". It's like I'm literally scaring the anxiety away.

Watering my house plants: Taking a mindful moment to look after a plant can greatly reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and promote positive feelings of wellbeing, according to a Sydney study in the University of Technology. Also, the feeling of accomplishment of keeping a plant alive is next to none.

Changing my outfit: Some days, what I'm wearing can have a direct correlation with how I'm feeling. If I'm not feeling I look good or just feel sluggish, I'll go through the effort to change into something that makes me feel better about my self-esteem. I might even re-style my hair if I'm really not having a great day. It might sound silly to change from one set of clothes into another, but there are times where I know it'll infinitely improve my headspace.

Playing a YouTube game: Maybe this is embarrassing to admit, but I love those 'Guess the anime opening/video game theme' videos. I definitely have way too much fun. I always smile when a song comes on that I had completely forgotten about and I get an instant rush of nostalgia. You can also do this while tidying your study space or bedroom to make the task less of a drag. 

More often than not, my happy habits are ones that I tell myself are a waste of time. But when I grant myself the five minutes, I feel better about myself, I get more done and I can end the day feeling like it was a good one after all. Why would happiness and joy ever be a waste of time?

Tagged in What messes with your head, health week, healthy habits, happy