Take Five

“Exercise, prayer, and meditation are examples of calming rituals. They have been shown to induce a happier mood and provide a positive pathway through life’s daily frustrations.”

Chuck Norris

My husband had this idea of choosing five activities to do each day to help promote health and longevity. He called this practice “take five” and I am stealing it! The deal is you can choose any five daily practices that you feel will feel help you cope with each day and add some peace. Here are the five I have chosen:

1. Go Outside

Spending time outdoors has become an obsession for me. While we are in the throes of a pandemic, taking in fresh air is especially paramount for good health. There is no better way to safely leave the confines of our home than to spend more time outside.

Even if it is just sitting under a tree, or taking a leisurely walk, I feel rejuvenated after being outside. During the winter, I love to shovel snow and feel the ice cold air on my face. I’ve posted a photo of my daughter, embracing the north country winter.

Even if just for a few minutes each day, connecting with the great outdoors and Mother Nature gives me a strong sense of connection to the universe.

2. Meditate

I meditate to clear my mind, with a single focus on the moment at hand. I have difficulty achieving this without my mind racing. Some people use mantras to help clear their mind. During the long cold winters, I use jigsaw puzzles.

I work on these puzzles, almost daily, all winter long. I like to think of them as my very scaled-down version of creating a mandala.

Tibetan Monk working on a Mandala

Working on jigsaw puzzles helps to silence my thoughts and enhances my meditative focus. Through this form of meditation, I can find the peace and clarity that I seek.

3. Exercise

In addition to daily walks I try to do a little stretching each day.

When I feel more motivated, I use my 1980s-style step aerobics block that my sister gave to me a couple of decades ago. It’s simple and fun. I just turn on my favorite drum and base beats and step away!

We all know exercise is good for us. Just find what works for you and go for it. Just make sure it is fun.

4. Cold Water Facial Immersion Therapy

Every morning and night I dip my face in freezing cold water for up to four minutes. I even talked my husband into it, as well! We call it our “face plant!”

Hear me out on this one. I know the thought of dipping your face in cold water sounds crazy, but there are so many touted health benefits that I just had to give it a try.

First of all, this is a fast and easy way to stimulate the vagus nerve. Additionally, it gives me an immediate sense of calm, even if I am feeling anxious. Studies have also shown that cold water facial immersion before bedtime actually helps to promote a good night sleep.

Watch this video and give it a try!

5. Read and Learn Something New

In addition to reading at night, I like to learn something new every day. It keeps my mind active and promotes (brain) neural plasticity. There are so many ways to expand your knowledge base, so don’t worry, if you are not a reader. Here are some alternative ways to learn:

  • Watch TV or listen to podcasts
  • Audio books – great if you are not a reader or if you have a long commute to work
  • Workshops and classes – check local listings. They have everything from walking histories to wine tasting seminars
  • Museum visits – in our city, we have the Frederic Remington Museum
  • Listen to the old-timers – you will be amazed at their wisdom and what you can learn from them

Anyway, you get my point. Become a life-long learner.

There you have it – my “take five!” Let me know what daily rituals you practice to promote your health and well-being.

New Year’s Eve 2021, on the river

Happy New Year and thank you for reading! – Barb, the River Blogger (Btrb)

Feel free to reblog anything I post. I welcome all comments and discussion.


  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday Barbara! I was reading this post called Take Five and that’s so funny that I discover it today and here’s why: today I took a creative class that planted the idea in my mind to start creating moodboards based on music I like and after pondering what I’d pick for my first music inspired moodboard, I settled on the jazz classic Take Five (Paul Desmond and Dave Brubeck Quartet) 🙂 Anyway, back to the post, I so love your idea of picking 5 activities to help us get through the day. I didn’t know about the cold facial wash though….may try it out. For me, getting out and learning something new is already on the list. Thanks for the lovely reminder (sounds simple and obvious but it’s so easy to get caught in doing mode and totally …neglect ourselves).

  2. Love your blog! I know Steve from past Materials Management days….this is the first I have seen your blog….if there is a way to be notified of future blogs please include me…..thank you and sending my best to Steve.
    Keith Jamba

    • Thank you, Keith! I try to post one every Thursday. On the lower right hand side of the screen, you can sign up for email notifications. Also, I post my blog link on facebook so you can access it there. Steve shares the link on his fb wall as well. I will send you a fb request. I appreciate your comments and any suggestions. 🌻

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