Women’s wellbeing: 5-minute daily health boost

Forget “go hard or go home”. A few minutes a day could be all you need to hit the reset button and help change the way you think and feel.

With a little bit of forward planning, a commitment to good health doesn’t have to be daunting.

These five-minute fixes might seem small, but they can have a big impact on your overall wellbeing.

Monday — get active

Every move you make counts. US researchers found women who gets lots of light physical activity could have a 42 per cent lower risk of dying from coronary disease and 22 per cent reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease, compared to those who don’t.

Study co-author and University of California’s Professor Andrea LaCroix says that light activity includes “most of the movements of daily life”.

Think walking around, getting dressed, gardening and doing the dishes.

Tuesday — invest in your relationships

Jean Hailes clinical psychologist Gillian Needleman says it might sound obvious but sometimes we forget to devote time to the people we’re closest to.

“Check in with your partner and be attuned to that check-in,” Gillian says.

“Make the time, place and space in your mind to be completely present for them and remember to share your own reflections so that it’s a two-way street.”

Wednesday — focus on fertility and pregnancy health

Thinking about starting a family? Being as healthy as possible in the months before you have a baby has been shown to not only boost your chances of falling pregnant but also give your baby better odds of good health for life.

Take folic acid, with the essential cofactor vitamins B2, B56 and B12, stop or reduce your alcohol intake, quit smoking and start trying before you turn 35 if possible.

Thursday — keep up the sleep

Sleep is a vital and often neglected part of your health and wellbeing.

Not only does it help the body in physical recovery and repair, it supports brain development, cardiac function and your metabolism.

It also helps learning and improving memory and mood.

Without enough shut-eye, you’re more likely to have problems with concentration, memory and reaction times.

And you will be grumpier and eat more.

Friday — eat healthy

Jean Hailes naturopath Sandra Villella suggests using today’s five minutes to decide on the three most important changes you can make to the way you eat.

“Think about the food and drink you have most days and where you can improve,” Sandra says.

“For example, should you eat more vegies or fruit, or change your breakfast?

“Maybe change what you drink. Do you need to reduce the size of your meals and snacks?

“Set some small practical goals and put them on the fridge.”

Saturday — connect with people

Gillian suggests asking the people around you what kind of support they need right now.

“What would dial it up a bit for them? And tell them what you need, and what will work for you,” she says.

“It’s no time for mind-reading – just express it.

“And try to find a place where you can find some hope, compassion and goodwill for the people you care about.

“No one is coming from their strong place at the moment.”

Sunday — nurture yourself

Yup, that means yourself. It has been a tough 18 months and the world has changed in ways no one could have foreseen.

“Look at how you’re talking to yourself and make sure you’re coming from a place of compassion and kindness,” Gillian says.

Put on a face mask, do some yoga, walk in the park or stand outside and turn your face to the sun.

And think about this from Michelle Obama: “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.”

Written by Liz McGrath.