What will give you the biggest workday boost?

This clip-the-curtains trick is just one of many sleep hacks available to the orthosomniac–the person obsessed with getting a perfect night’s sleep.

Welcome to The 5-Minute Recharge, the newsletter with 1 quote, 3 ideas and a 5-minute challenge to charge up your wellness and help you sleep easier.

QUOTE: Sedentary living is se-dead-ary…

“I recommend everyone get out of breath at least a couple of times each week…”
― Trine Moholdt, Ph.D., lead researcher of a study that suggests inactivity is deadly. (And another study shows how being sedentary makes our hearts go ape.) 



  • ACT IT OUT. Who do you think was most likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by the tragic events of 9/11: the people who were horrified that day or the people determined not to let it get to them? The answer is the people who stifled their feelings on 9/11 were most likely to be tormented later with PTSD. ACT–Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (here’s a quick primer from Eric Barker)–is based on the idea that it’s not our thoughts that are the problem, but our relationship with our thoughts. We need to see our thoughts with enough distance that we don’t get tangled up inside them. When our thoughts direct us to avoid negative emotions, those feelings have a nasty way of popping up again and again, and shutting off the negative also shuts off our access to positive feelings. According to Steven Hayes Ph.D., ACT researcher, panic disorder sufferer (check out his powerful TED talk) and the author of the book A Liberated Mind that Lynne highly recommends, we hurt where we care. For example, people who have social phobias often deeply care about other people. When we allow ourselves to feel, even when the feelings are painful, we can let these emotions lead us to a better life.

“One of the most important questions that life asks you is: What are you going to do with difficult thoughts?”
Steven Hayes

  • MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE IS WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT. According to a study from Mind Share Partners, Qualtrics and SAP (no, that isn’t an electronic dance music band) half of millennials and 75% of Gen Zers say they have left a job due to mental health reasons. Some blame smartphones and social media, but nobody knows what is causing the significant increase in mental health issues in the young. What we do know is that our minds, however misguided their instructions may be, are always trying to help us. Anxiety and depression are signals that something is wrong—sometimes a chemical imbalance, but often a life imbalance as Johann Hari passionately describes in his recent TED Talk. It’s up to us to interpret the danger signal and take action. Getting sufficient sleep, connecting face-to-face with others, moving our bodies, and making time for reflection are great ways to support our own mental health, but responsibility to be mentally well shouldn’t fall entirely on employees. It’s up to employers to ensure that their workplaces aren’t incubating mental illness by denying employees control over their work, imposing impossible demands, and creating work environments that make people feel psychologically unsafe. Harvard Business Review has some great advice on how to make mental health more than the activities of a single mental health awareness day in October. Hint: make the CEO a “normalizer-in-chief” of mental health challenges.

“If you’re depressed, if you’re anxious, you’re not weak, you’re not crazy, you’re not, in the main, a machine with broken parts. You’re a human being with unmet needs.”
Johann Hari, Author of Lost Connections

  • WHY CAN’T I GET NO SATISFACTION AT WORK? Harvard’s Teresa Amabile studied hundreds of work diaries and discovered that what makes people most motivated is the feeling of making progress in meaningful work. But how can you measure progress? Daniel Pink recommends this progress ritual. And how can you ensure that you make progress to capture in your progress ritual? Stanford psychology expert Nir Eyal believes that there is a superpower that is the engine of progress in meaningful work. What is that superpower? Hint: Nir Eyal’s latest book is entitled Indistractable.

“Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivations, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.”
– Teresa Amabile


“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

Your 5-minute challenge comes from Scientific American’s deep dive into breathing by psychiatrist Christophe André who is mystified, given how effective they are at easing stress, anxiety and insomnia, that breathing techniques are not recommended and practiced more widely. Perhaps they’re too simple.

Simply breathe in for a count of five and breathe out for a count of five for five minutes (roughly six breaths per minute). Repeat three times daily, 365 days per year, and you have the 365 method recommended by therapists as a great way to purge accumulated stress.