The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
As a Gemini, I am incredibly talented at starting new things at full force and then getting burnt out and throwing in the towel early. I do this especially when trying to form new habits. After lots of trial and error, I realized that it is much more manageable and more powerful to form a bunch of tiny habits that add up to a big impact. Here are my top five favorite small habits that have transformed my life for the better.
- tidying up before bed
Somehow, without fail, my room is always a bit of a mess by the end of each day. Clothes are strewn about, my jewelry and makeup are scattered around my desk; it’s chaos. But one thing I never regret doing, no matter how tired I am, is taking five minutes to just tidy up a bit. Even if that means just throwing stuff in your closet, for the time being, nothing beats waking up to a tidy-looking space. It is one less thing for me to have to do in the morning, and I truly believe that the way our space looks can really shift our energy. A clear space means a clear mind and heart to start your day.
- facial yoga
I know what you’re thinking. How do you do yoga with your face? But hear me out, it’s a thing, and it ROCKS. I was introduced to it by Dr. Elsa Jungman, an incredibly minimal and microbiome-friendly skincare line, when they held a mini masterclass series, one of which was facial yoga. We spent about an hour doing various facial massages with our skin serums, breathing deeply, and being mindful and grounded in the moment. And it was everything. Now when I do my skincare in the mornings, I take time to slow down and tune into my breath and the sensations on my skin. It has become a really powerful ritual and way to incorporate grounding, mindfulness, and self-care into my morning.
- Dark chocolate in my breakfast
Grab some oats, a banana, some PB, dark chocolate, and berries. You are in for an absolute treat. This has been my go-to breakfast as of late, and it makes both my body and my soul happy. According to Everyday Health, “There is research indicating that chocolate stimulates neural activity in areas of the brain associated with pleasure and reward, which in turn decreases stress and improves your mood, says Joy Dubost, Ph.D., RD, a food scientist, registered dietitian, and owner of Dubost Food and Nutrition Solutions in Arlington, Virginia.” I don’t know about you, but that’s all the proof I need! Throw some dark chocolate chips into your oatmeal tomorrow morning, your mood will thank me. (Plus, who doesn’t want to start the day off with chocolate?!)
So, I’m the kind of person who gets stressed out by too much structure and also not enough structure. I like to be able to go with the flow of my day and do what feels good from moment to moment, but also get the things I need to do done, and that’s where non-negotiables come into play. Non-negotiables are the things in my day that I will carve out time for no matter what. These can be assignments or errands, but also things that make you feel good! For example, movement is a non-negotiable for me every single day, because I know it makes me feel good. Whether it be an intense workout class or a gentle yoga and a walk, it’s just as important as an essay due.
- legs up the wall
This is my favorite thing to do after a long day or an intense workout. Find some open wall space, lie down on the floor, and stretch your legs up the wall. After being on your feet all day, it feels good to take all of the pressure off of them. Plus, it has benefits for your whole body. According to Yoga Journal, “It improves circulation and can help reduce swelling lower extremities by redirecting lymph and other fluids from your ankles, knees, and pelvic organs to your upper body and head. It activates the relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system) and deactivates the stress response (sympathetic nervous system).” This is the perfect way to wind down at the end of your day and give some love back to your body.
Sometimes the smallest things truly do make the biggest impact. Try out some of these habits, and see if they transform your life for the better, too.