By Vince Shifflett
How do you start each day? I used to wake up every morning, reach for my cell phone on the night-stand and immediately begin checking emails, messages, news, and social media. My mind would go from deep slumber to a sudden onset of external stimulation. How we start our day sets the tone for the remainder of our day. Being overstimulated with emails, messages, posts on social media, and the news always left me with a myriad of emotions. My brain was in automatic over-drive. I have come to realize the benefits of starting my day a different way. In this article, I will share with you 5 Ways to Better Days. Five practices that I have implemented that always make my day better.
Drink 16 ounces of room temperature water with a whole fresh squeezed lemon in it. So you have been sleeping all night with no hydration. Our bodies are constantly losing water through sweating, urination, and even breathing. This requires that we replace the water. Rehydrating the body first thing in the morning is essential to good cellular function. It wakes up our cells. It also acts as a cleansing agent flushing out the body. So, why the lemon? Research has shown lemons to have the following benefits (www.healthline.com):
- Excellent source of Vitamin C
- Assist with Weight Loss
- Improves blood glucose levels
- Improves quality of the skin
- Aids digestion
- Freshens breath
- Prevents Kidney Stones
10 minutes of silence/meditation: In a world full of noise, it is vital to spend time in silence. Otherwise, we operate on autopilot, following the path of our subconscious mind. Sometimes I will have light meditation music playing in the background during my silent meditative time. This is optional but actually helps me filter out external noise and rambling thoughts. The whole idea here is to go inward by constantly bringing your awareness to your breath. Will your thoughts ramble? Of course, but each time, I bring my mind back to my breath. It is all about calming the mind and giving your body time to wake up slowly. Remember, it sets the tone for the day.
15 minutes of gentle stretching/yogi posturing: There are many benefits to stretching and practicing yoga posturing first thing in the morning. In addition to the physical benefits, I have also found this to be meditative for me, again focusing on my breath, which allows me to go inward. Keep in mind; you have been lying in bed all night. The stretching boosts circulation/blood flow to all parts of our body, including our vital organs. That increased circulation feeds the very cells in our body with fresh oxygen while at the same time removing carbon dioxide, allowing the optimal function of each organ.
15 minutes of exercise: You can decide what exercise works for you, but the whole idea is to get moving and increase your heart rate. I will typically do three sets of 20 push-ups, planks, and three sets of 20 lunges. If a 15-30-minute power walk works best for you, that’s awesome. Increasing the heart rate helps control blood pressure, cholesterol levels, vascular function, and overall heart function, as well as increases our sense of well-being.
Plant-Based Protein Shake: Protein has many roles in the body. I will outline just a few:
- Improves bone health
- Aids communication between cells, tissues, and organs
- Maintains proper body pH
- Balances Fluids
- Boost Immune System
- Transports and stores nutrients
- Provides energy
I have found it more beneficial to complete the 5 ways to better days in the exact order from one to five. To accomplish the five steps above, you will need to set your alarm an hour early each day. It will be the best investment of your time ever spent. Do it for 30 days, and I guarantee you will reap the benefits. Stick with it. Consistency is key. It only works with consistency. I recommend doing it six days a week and giving yourself a break on the seventh day as a reward.
Vince Shifflett, RN BSN CCRN