We are so busy being busy we approach the day with a vengeance. Today’s day is not a marathon; it’s a Steel Man Triathlon. To stay ahead we cut corners: skip breakfast; work through lunch, eat frozen dinner while glued to a digital screen. And we wonder why we are tired (but can’t sleep), sickly (yet can’t quite pinpoint the malady), and unfulfilled (in spite of the sacrifices, things are still not coming together).
There are a few old school interventions that can help you get out of your way and back on point. OG always works for me. So, having tried the latest and greatest fasts, fades, and fakes; it’s time to go back in time.
1. Salute the Sun (sun salutations)
Basically stretch. Yes, there are yoga stanzas you can practice, but there is no need to stress over downward dog first up in the morning. Start with simple stretching exercises: forward, backward, sideward bends and then graduate to traditional yoga. Yoga has been practiced for over 5,000 years and its medicinal benefits include increased flexibility, strength, and awareness; improved respiration, energy, and vitality; and maintenance of a balanced metabolism. Five minutes minimally gets the blood flowing while in a meditative state. I have practiced Sun Salutations for years and I credit it for my daily focus and stamina.
2. Eat a nutritious breakfast
The most important meal of the day! You need to feed your metabolism, get your mind right, and steady your stride. Medical studies link skipping breakfast with an increase in obesity and diabetes risks. No matter how wiped out you are at night, prepare your breakfast at least in your mind. It’s sort of like laying out your clothes at night; it’s such a timesaver and it anchors your morning.
3. Brown Bag It
Not just for lunch anymore but also snacks. It’s easier to find healthy meal options around the workplace than a healthy snack. Think about the vending machine – right! I buy and assortment of nuts and seeds and make a base batch of my own energy mix. On any given day, I’ll top off with dark chocolate or shaved coconut or such – and for far less than pre-packaged options even if you can find them. Homemade mixes even supersede hyped energy and fiber bars. Watch out for them. You may think you doing right by snacking on them instead of a sweet treat, but they too can be loaded with carbs, sodium, and sugar. Read the labels.
4. Keep It Moving
Walk where possible; stand when you can. Movement research by Dr. James Levine (as reported in the NY Times) shows that walking around the office for two minutes three times an hour is more beneficial in reversing the negative health effects of a sedentary lifestyle than spending an hour at the gym after work. Alternating between sitting and standing will increase muscular contractions, stimulating blood flow and resulting in more calories burned and healthier blood sugar levels. So, stand up while on a call from hell; schedule “stand only” meetings – see how long these drag on; stand around and vetch during your coffee break.
5. Forego the Working Lunch
Multitasking wreaks havoc on your digestion and waist. Instead of distractedly woofing down a sandwich while you’re working on a report, set your work aside and focus completely on your meal. For the team working lunch, set aside the first half of the meeting to eat and actually bond with one another (it may turn out he is not as big a jerk as you thought). Finish eating and then delve into work.
6. Make dinner an event
You’ve made it through another day, that’s cause for celebration. Evening meals are an excellent time to reconnect, rejuvenate, and relax. Focus on the event, make the planning, preparation, and presentation a family affair; savor the offering; talk to each other not avatars. If you’re single, schedule regular dinners with friends and join groups that host “foodie” outings. Be mindful to ensure most of your meal includes nutrient-dense foods that let you accomplish more with less. Avoid sugar and empty calories and instead focus on making sure each meal packs as much punch as possible.
7. Downtime before Sleeptime
Take time to unwind before going to sleep. Do whatever works (read, listen, chant, sex) to rid all the stress of the day, so you can settle into a good night of sleep. You need sleep as much as you need to breathe and eat. While you’re sleeping, your body is busy tending to your physical and mental health and getting you ready for another day. When you’re deprived of sleep, your brain can’t function properly, affecting your cognitive abilities and emotional state. If it continues long enough, it can lower your body’s defenses, putting you at risk of developing chronic illness such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Lastly, throughout the day laugh, laugh, and laugh some more. Laughter is the best coping mechanism. If you can laugh at the past, you are already over it. If you laugh at yourself, you have accepted and forgiven yourself. If you can laugh at the situation, you recognize its absurdity. If you are laughing now, you have peace.
There you have it- a combination of ancient wisdom, scientific research, original gansta, common sense. Even if you pick and choose what you can realistically and consistently do every day, you are sure to feel the benefits, which in turn will inspire you to go full throttle to make the most of every day and Live Life Consciously, Conscientiously, Comely. I couldn’t resist my tagline!!!