In my last post, we talked about three concrete steps you can take in boosting your energy and mental focus:
- Create and stick to a productive morning ritual.
- Figure out WHY you want to get fit – beyond just the run-of-the-mill physical reasons – so you can stay inspired to work out even when your energy is low.
- Be mindful about your food choices – what gives you energy and what saps it?
Now let’s look at the next three steps in establishing and locking in your best habits:
4. TIME MANAGEMENT
I used to joke about my days feeling like a triathlon, with short periods of time where I transitioned from one event (work) to a different event (kids). I was rushing in, rushing out, racing here and there…and feeling like I was always behind. Not surprisingly, my stress levels were through the roof. My “eureka” moment finally came when I fell asleep at a red light — and I had the kids in the car. Well, that was it. It was time for a change. I could do a whole blog on time management (stay tuned!) but for now, I’ll just say these two words: DO LESS. Find things you can eliminate. Make time for activities that have the most constructive, positive impact – not just on your life but beyond. For example, instead of mindlessly pushing a shopping cart at the supermarket, check out your local Farmer’s Market – and bring your friends and loved ones. Think about it: by making that choice, you’re not only getting some exercise and spending time with people who inspire you, you’re also supporting the environment and buying healthy foods.
Whenever possible, return to those two words: DO LESS. Each day, take a moment to be mindful about your time – where is it all going? Direct your focus on balancing out work time, family time and free (self) time. It might help to look at your calendar and see what uses up most of your hours. What can you eliminate or “re-frame” into a healthier, more nourishing (for body and soul) activity? Trust me, you’ll be more relaxed and more fun to be around. Because when you’re racing around, life can pass you by.
5. MEDITATION / STRESS REDUCTION
You know that terrible feeling when it’s 3am and your thoughts are racing? Stress can cause an increase two hormones – cortisol and adrenaline. These are helpful chemicals when we need to pay attention to our surroundings or run a race, but when they keep cycling through your system 24/7, they can have a negative impact on your health. How can we control them? Meditation.
I like to refer to meditation as recovery for the mind – a way to give your brain a chance to let go, rest and recover. An easy way to approach meditation is to observe your thoughts – and the feelings that accompany them – for exactly what they are: thoughts and feelings. They are not real. How many times have you worried about something that didn’t happen? You thought about it, you stressed about it and then, it didn’t happen. Remember that meditation is a practice – which means that doing it is more important than talking about it! With time, meditation will allow you to separate your thoughts from you. And as you create more space, you’ll react less and guess what? Your stress will begin to lift.
6. SLEEP RITUAL
What makes a Tesla an amazing performance machine is having the battery CHARGED FIRST. No charged battery, no high-performance machine. The same goes for sleep. It’s not the quantity of sleep we get, but the quality of that sleep that’s most important. So why do we need a sleep ritual? Again, it’s about creating steady, simple habits to maximize one of the cornerstones of your health: your recovery. It’s not rocket science: want energy during the day? Get a good night of sleep. It’s such an incredible feeling when you’re well rested – your body heals, your hormones level off, your muscles relax, your body recharges.
Creating a ritual sets the tone for a good night’s sleep: at least an hour before turning in, avoid bright lights – and especially electronic screens. Then add a cooler room temperature to a dark room, add in a little dash of reading something relaxing or meditating before going to bed and you are well on your way to a great night of sleep.
Explore what energizes you! Your fatigue is something you have control over. Learning how to maximize your energy can truly transform your life. These habits, practiced over time, can result in a much better quality of life for you, and those around you. Who knows? Maybe with a little more energy, you can change the world.
Until next time.
Phil Dozois, Owner + Life Coach, Breakthru Fitness, Pasadena, CA
Questions, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org