So, has your summer been a little hectic? Stressed by concerns about family members going through challenging times? Filled with frustration over things you can’t control (but would love to!) in the economic and/or political world? And has your health regimen suffered some setbacks as a result?
Well, if you get to feeling guilty that your diet or exercise program has slipped off the tracks a bit, let me offer a few simple tips for easing your conscience. By taking care of some basics you can recover from quite a few “mistakes” and keep from losing any more ground. Plus, a few of these strategies may even feel like you’re rewarding yourself. Since you’ll enjoy and look forward to them each day, they will be easy to integrate into your daily routine.
The first tip is so simple – and these days seemingly impossible (and you’ve been hearing it all your life!) – that some of you will roll your eyes and say, “Yeah, right!” But I can’t emphasize enough how important it is. It’s this: make SURE you are getting enough sleep! It’s not just about your mood or mental clarity – the impacts we are most aware of when we burn the candle at both ends. The fact is your body really needs enough rest to function properly, and it can wreak all kinds of havoc from your intestines to your organs if you don’t get a complete sleep cycle each night.
So choose a time you’re going to bed and stick to it! Drink some camomile tea – if necessary, find the one with some valerian in it and use that. Or discover a sure-fire way that works for you to allow yourself to feel sleepy a little while before the appointed time. Drinking alcohol doesn’t count – it will actually work against you. If you are chronically short of sleep (as many of us are in this super-charged, multitasking world!), this tip alone will make a huge difference for you, I promise.
The second tip is simple: Spend 3 minutes every morning looking out your favorite window, or in your favorite spot inside or outside your house, and let everything else go except what is immediately around you. Get all your senses involved by noticing the temperature, the smells, the images – really focus on all of it, just appreciating being here, in this moment of serenity. During this time be aware of your feet, and the ground below them, and imagine being physically connected to all of it. This little exercise really clears your head and grounds you.
The third tip: Start your day with a meditation, a prayer, or even a brief but detailed visualization of how you “want” your day to go. If every minute isn’t turning out that way later, don’t sweat it – just smile and think “ok, I guess that needed to be that way today,” then re-envision the rest of your day exactly how you would love it to be.
These practices lift your spirits, start your day on a positive note, and keep concerns, setbacks or stress from knocking you off your game. You will be better able to stick to your diet, see more ways to carve out time for that much-needed workout, remember to call that friend for a quick “hello” and – best of all – really appreciate everything that goes right!