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Five Minute Fixes: Take a Break

Life is insane. It’s also amazing, wonderful, beautiful and all those other nice things, but a lot of times life can be just a bit too hectic. Between work deadlines, exams and keeping up with friends and family, the last thing you might be thinking of is making time for yourself. Plus, if you’re anything like me, an intense schedule means stress eating — not great when you’re also trying to stay healthy.

Our five ways to take a break and feel healthier won’t instantly make you look and feel like what you imagine an Instagram model looks and feels like, but they will certainly help you feel calmer. Besides, sometimes practicing self-care can start with five minutes.

1. Meditate

Taking a few minutes to just sit and breath is a great way to take a break. Several studies — like this Stanford one — have proven that meditation can decrease anxiety and improve attention.

At the end of the day, giving your brain five minutes to not think has some serious benefits. There’s a lot of reason to give it a try.

If you’re new to meditating, great apps like Simply Being and Calm can guide you, so grab some earbuds and try it out!

2. Drink some water

Okay, sorry for quoting something that your doctor has told you at every check up. We say it because it’s true! Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, fatigue and even headaches.

According to the Mayo Clinic, men are supposed to consume about 125 ounces of fluid a day, and women are supposed to get about 91 ounces. That includes liquids other than water, like the kinds you get from fruit (that’s usually about 20% of your diet). In other words, most men and women will end up needing to drink 100 and 72 ounces of water, respectively.

While these stats can serve as a reminder to drink some water, another (and better) way to stay hydrated is to drink consistently throughout the day. Try carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go.

3. Get your blood flowing

It’s no secret that exercising helps improve your health. However, it’s less known that getting up and moving for just a few minutes can help you feel more refreshed.

Something that works well for me is getting up and grabbing coffee or walking around the building with a coworker. Moving around like that increases blood flow and lowers your blood pressure – not to mention, you’re engaging with another person. All these things contribute to your health over time.

If you seriously don’t have time to do this (or can’t do twenty jumping jacks in the middle of your office) desk exercises can work pretty well too.

4. Laugh

A John Hopkins study discovered that humor and laughter helped improve memory and mental performance. It has a host of other benefits too, like decreased blood pressure, reduced stress and better concentration.

For me, it’s sometimes hard to justify taking five minutes to just laugh when it feels like I have a mountain of work to do. It helps to remember that being successful isn’t just about working hard, it’s also about learning how to balance. If you’re stressed, laughing might help you stay a little bit more balanced.

Watching a funny video online or listening to a goofy podcast on your phone (perhaps while you go for your five-minute walk?) are good ways to find some laughter in your life.

5. Phone a friend

This is one of my personal favorites. Health is multifaceted, and one of the most important aspects of overall health is having a solid support system. When life goes wrong or the road gets bumpy, your support system has your back.

Calling a friend or family member will help keep you in contact with the people who love and support you — and vice versa.

The best part about connecting with someone, at least to me, is that you can combine it with any of the other tips above. You can go on a walk, laugh, meditate or take a water break together. Keep each other healthy and loved.

 

Best of luck and stay healthy, my friends!

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