The maintenance of a healthy lifestyle can be surprisingly sensitive to virtues of patience and commitment, and even a bit of chance. Fuel to the fire, many are looking beyond obvious course-corrections like cutting out fast-food or beginning an exercise routine, now towards ‘bio-hacks’ which support improved longevity, mood, and those ever-unique interpretations of what ‘feeling good’ is supposed to mean. Unfortunately, this atmosphere can cloud our decision making and leave us paralyzed amongst too many choices.
The 30-day Challenge: Each week for the next month, we’re going to painlessly review a handful of simple habits worth trying for size without uprooting your routine. In a month’s time, if you’ve managed to connect each day with even 2 or 3 of these lifestyle improvements, that’ll be a huge win!
Week 1: The Morning Five
1) H2O Cocktail — Revitalize and re-hydrate first thing each day (yes, before matcha or coffee). Put together 8oz of filtered water with ¼ fresh lemon and ¼-½ tsp of sea salt. Without these electrolytes and minerals, our bodies struggle to properly rehydrate each day, water can even leach key minerals like calcium from our body if it’s not properly structured. Good salts (sea salt, pink salt) contain 60 trace minerals required for healthy cellular activities, and together with nutrients from the lemon, you’ll have a morning refreshment that tastes great, and is on par with what pro-fighters drink after cutting-weight. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us.
Fun fact: The average body is made of about 60% water by weight, and about 60% of the Earth is covered by water.
2) Light — Done hydrating? Great, head outside! Just like plants, we’ve evolved with a distinct need for sunshine, water alone won’t keep our leaves green and vibrant. Sunshine is not only responsible for Vitamin D synthesis (every cell in the body is partly regulated by it), it’s also the key agent in our circadian rhythm. Of the latter, the appropriate balance of hormones such as melatonin has been implicated in broad disease prevention, including cancer and diabetes. Also, unlike artificial light, natural sun imparts a spectrum of wavelengths, including blue light which is the greatest natural signal in this rhythm. If nothing else, there’s something invigorating about the morning sunshine.
3) Movement — Although we likely see the morning as the time to literally ‘get a move on,’ it’s important to have a movement practice that goes beyond hustling out the door. Try setting aside at least 3 minutes for simple stretching, yoga, jumping-jacks, pullups, etc… Whatever you choose, by providing a controlled opportunity to move, you’re allowing the body to calibrate ahead of your daily duties, and encouraging healthier stress-response. Sex is good also.
4) Meditation — Just 5 minutes — While newcomers to meditation often struggle with the quieting-of-mind or the elongated sitting, a 5 minute morning meditation can be a more forgiving and readily available option. It’s advantageous to the naturally-calmer morning mind, where you may focus on breath, mantra, or simply following your thoughts. This daily practice encourages a sense of clarity before getting lost in the chaos of the day, and if you stick with it, it may just become the highlight of your morning! Pro Tip: Get comfy! Grab a couple pillows as you experiment.
5) Gratitude — The practice of daily gratitude is arguably strongest in the morning. It’s a new day, where reflecting on what you’re thankful for is open as an inspiring opportunity. This is a chance to get amped up and put your priorities in perspective. Whether a fun memory, a physically embracing hug, or the undeniable camaraderie found in sharing a bowl of matcha, try not to let it pass you by!
The bottom line
Over the next month, look to the weekly handful of practices we share as less of an exact formula, and instead more of opportunities to test-drive key lifestyle improvements. These will all be free, and relatively simple to implement, and if you’re patient, you might just be surprised!
Remember, you don’t always have to follow what others are doing. Just because you start your mornings with tv or a podcast, rather than meditation, doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. Don’t let the influences of an ‘ideal’ daily routine slow down your hustle. Stay true to yourself, and stick with what works for YOU — If after 30 days you’re in the habit of even 2 or 3 of these, that’ll mean a newfound quality of life that will only compound over time.
So… are we counting you in?