My Daily 5 Essentials


With the days ever shortening at the moment as we head towards the winter solstice, I think it’s even more important to banish those winter blues! A few years ago I came up with my own distilled principles for living life well and with greater satisfaction. Forget complicated life ‘rules’, or philosophies, gargantuan ‘to do’ wish lists, ad-hoc random ‘bucket lists’, fad diets or finite 3-month ‘health kick’ regimes. You’ll finish them, go ‘yay!’ for a week or two, then go back to the way you were before.

No. Years ago I started to analyse what my definition of a satisfying life actually was, and then I stripped it right back and pared it down to the absolute basics. So I came up with my own simple approach – entitled “The Daily 5” – which I have written on a whiteboard in my office at all times:

Annie’s Daily 5 Essentials:

  1. Laugh!
  2. Exercise – preferably outdoors
  3. Be Creative
  4. Learn Something New
  5. Eat Well

What it means is that no day can truly be a good one for me unless I have actually made a point of doing all five.

Laugh. Find someone to share a joke with, or, if you can’t, think up something funny yourself. Talk to people. Exchange some random banter. Being amused by something energises us and relaxes us for many minutes after we’ve first thought about it.

Exercise. Make sure you get outdoors for exercise, daily, in order to feel the rays on your face and get the dose of vitamin D we all need on our skin. A day inside is a day wasted, in my opinion. Walking is a great tonic for the brain. Walking helps me to think. Walking outside while observing things helps me think more clearly. Walking is my biggest hobby and creative tool. I would reckon these days I don’t start to feel mentally well unless I’ve walked at least oh about 4 miles a day.

Be creative. Our brains are naturally creative and problem-solving machines anyway, but make sure you take time to think laterally – just do something off your own back for its own sake – and put pen to paper. Do something unusual that you wouldn’t normally think of doing. Doodle. Wander. Ponder.

Learn something new. All it takes is a bit of time away from the daily grind to read a book or come to terms with some new idea or principle. Take a risk. Grapple with the unfamiliar. Routine is drudgery to your brain. Your mind is a great thing, but it too needs to be fed and exercised to be kept fit and agile.

And finally, eat well. I don’t do diets but I don’t eat a great deal of junk food either. Why starve and then gorge? Treat your body to nice wholesome things (and predominantly whole foods) and it will in turn treat you well over the years. My lifestyle approach now means that I don’t mind taking the time to cook everything from scratch.

These are my non-negotiables.

Nothing fancy or complex here: just kind of basic commonsense really. These are my principles for a good day, and so a good life.


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