This 5 Minute Habit Changed My Life

Self-care is often far simpler than we realise. | Photo by Roberto Nickson (@g) on Unsplash

Have you ever found yourself scanning through lifestyle blogs, articles or even stumbling down the YouTube rabbit hole of influencers and models promoting their extravagant, MET Gala worthy self-care routines for hours on end?

Listen, we have all been there, and I am sure as hell not here to judge you.

You can count on me as your fellow, non-guru companion on this wellness journey. Simply put, I’m a regular 20-something-year-old girl. Trust me, there are no unlimited resources, endless cash and Instagram followers begging to know my skincare secrets. I share your disdain for sipping on hot lemon water and I won’t lie and tell you that Bikram yoga is “fun” — don’t worry.

(Side note: I tried to convince myself that the instructor couldn’t actually hear my internal screams from the heat.)

Unrealistic Expectations

Especially for women, the subject of self-care can come riddled with guilt and inadequacy. We imagine it as a process that requires ticks on a certain checklist. The reality is much less like a weekly and indulgent spa experience that we often associate it with.

You know, the one where we float in our white marble bathtub of holy water, surrounded by Byredo Bibliothèque candles and watching ourselves gradually morph into Gwyneth Paltrow with a #goop-esque glow.

To be honest, the majority of us are working, studying, hustling and generally getting shit done.

Not to mention, we often lack the luxury of prioritising time from our hectic schedules, last-minute family obligations and multiple friendships to be seemingly narcissistic for a whole hour (or two…or three).

Excess Is Not Always Best

For most of us, the reality of these attempts is clicking onto the Vogue Wellness Series of supermodel and holistic kale goddess, Miranda Kerr.

We try to ignore the subtle pangs of envy and guilt that flash before our eyes, before settling our thoughts upon our own lacking self-care routine.

You don’t need rose quartz healing sessions or daily kundalini yoga. Unless, of course, that is your kryptonite. If that’s the case — go for it.

But the rest of us can stop feeling the need to have over-the-top wellness routines.

Instead, we can learn to care about our physical body, mind set and spiritual state in only five spare minutes every day.

That is not to discount the benefits of lighting a month’s salary worth of candles or spoiling yourself with a Lush bath bomb.

Trust me, that has merit too.

This practice has instead helped me to let go of those guilt-ridden and inadequate feelings. Specifically, the ones that nag your subconscious when you finally decide that you want to indulge in some quality “me time”.

An Attitude of Gratitude

Here is my tip:

Gratitude. 5 minutes. Everyday. No exceptions.

When I began to practice daily gratitude, I tried to elaborately journal in my snazzy little leather-bound notebook every day. That lasted about a week before I realised that I was falling into the trap of perfection over realism.

Sort of like putting a filter on your thoughts, even if you are the only person to actually read it.

Silly, I know.

It feels like an ongoing struggle to overcome the incessant pressure for perfection in every area of our lives.

It is an ideal that so many glamorous beauty and wellness routines seem to promote.

Keep It Simple

After this, I found that it was best practised while putting moisturiser on in the morning, cooking my breakfast, or even walking on my way to work.

By choosing a ritual in which to structure the five minutes, I am able to focus on feeling genuinely fortunate for what I am doing at that moment.

In that day.

Or generally in my life.

Even try to set random reminders on your iPhone. A simple “Remember to feel grateful for everything you have right now” goes a long way to positively shift your mind, especially on an average day. Trust me.

You Are Your Own Worst Critic

I have realised the importance of taking five minutes out of my day to appreciate my life.

This includes every missed train, anxious phone call, spilt cappuccino and rude customer.

It has allowed me to connect with my own emotional state, and let my mind follow suit. You know why?

Because there is no point in punishing ourselves.

Whether I forgot to use those aromatherapy oils that I was gifted last Christmas or was too busy to fix a chipped manicure and treat that annoying pimple.

Taking the time to be mindful for five minutes has allowed more pieces of love and care back into my daily routine — all bundled up with a grateful attitude.

Remember, those indulgent extra bonuses are fantastic.

But we don’t actually need the $100 jade rollers, Moon Juice smoothies or 3-hours of intensive journaling to become masters of our self-care routines.

What we do need is a solid foundation of mindfulness and gratitude.

Most importantly, we need to remember that we are doing the best we can which is nothing to feel inadequate or guilty about.

Let’s toast to that.

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to hit that 👏 button if you enjoyed my article and want to help others find it.

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I write about my own uncomfortable, unspoken and real thoughts and hope to connect through shared experiences.

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Emma Sheridan

Emma Sheridan

I write about my own uncomfortable, unspoken and real thoughts and hope to connect through shared experiences.

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