In his book, Feel Better in 5, author Dr. Rangana Chatterjee invites readers to choose a five minute “health snack” from each of three menus: mind, body, and heart. Mind snacks reduce stress and anxiety. Body snacks get your body moving, and heart snacks increase your connections with people. (I might suggest a category of “soul snacks” which includes activities to strengthen your connection with divine mystery.) Each snack takes about five minutes. In 15 minutes per day, Dr. Chatterjee promises you will feel better. The rest of the book is filled with health snacks and menus.
It’s a nice model for well-being: short, daily activities that make a difference. Without them, well-being may feel overwhelming in its complexity. To craft a life of wellness,: take a bit of self-inventory. Ponder these questions in your journal:
- What’s bothering you?
- What makes you feel strong?
- What connects you to other living beings?
- What brings you energy? What spends your energy?
- What makes your heart sing?
The answers will give you clues about how you might adjust your days. Take a look at your answers and notice what you want to do more and what you want to do less.
Look at your calendar and figure out when you might have those five minute blocks. The goal is to do health snacks five days a week. It’s often most successful if you connect them to habits you already have. You brush your teeth each day. Can you take five minutes right after that to add to your well-PA? What other activities do you do each day? To begin, it may help to add the new activities on your calendar. Once they truly become habits, you will need to see them written.
Sometimes, you may miss a day or two. Missed days are not failures. They are just missed days. Don’t let yourself tell a big story about them. Simply give yourself a fresh start and begin again. Consider it all a creative experiment. If you miss a bunch of days, that gives you information. Something’s not working. Is it the time of day? Maybe that specific health snack is not a good fit for you. Try different combinations while being gentle with yourself.
Tending to the health of your mind, body, heart, and soul can bring you joy and energy. Surely, that’s worth minutes a day.