Are you running wildly between frantic and sluggish on most days? It’s no wonder. From morning to night, our nervous systems take a beating with the barrage of incoming stimuli–deadlines, traffic jams, high-pressure meetings, family and work demands, and constant interruptions. To make matters worse, we add in coffee, sugar, fast foods, and snacks, and for some of us, even nicotine.
If you’d like more consistent energy and focus throughout your day, start your day off
right with the suggestions below.
Tips Before Ten
- Start with some light stretching. Movement stimulates the waking part of the brain. Maybe place your alarm clock where you’ll have to s-t-r-e-t-c-h to turn it off.
- Mix a warm glass of water with fresh lemon and a teaspoon of honey for your wake-up drink. The lemon juice will cleanse the kidneys and bowels, and the honey soothes and tones the intestinal tract.
- Eat some protein and whole grains for breakfast. The protein will fill you up, and the whole grains will eliminate the mid-morning low which occurs when you eat sugary foods. Plus, you’ll tend to eat better the rest of the day if you start it with a healthful breakfast.
- Turn your commute time into quiet time. Turn off the music, cell phone, or other unnecessary distractions. Instead repeat positive statements, and practice 2-to-1 breathing. *
As Your Morning Pace Picks Up
- Breath deeply to prevent the nervous system from being overtaxed.
- Shrug your shoulders, or roll your head from side to side.
- Rather than heading for the coffee pot or snack machine, have a piece of fruit, fruit juice, or some herbal tea. For example, red clover has been used in traditional medicine to help relieve pain and inflammation, as well as help remove “toxins” from the blood and certain organs.
- Lunch can sap your energy, especially if you eat while rushed or tense. Spend a few minutes relaxing before you eat.
- Choose fresh natural foods such as a fruit salad or a light stir-fry.
- Take a five to fifteen-minute walk.
Avoid the Mid-Afternoon Slump
- Take a refreshing brisk walk outside.
- If you can’t leave the building, climb a few sets of stairs.
- Do yogic stretching. Even a few spinal twists in your chair will help.
- If you’re feeling hassled, take three deep breaths to calm and center yourself.
The Home Stretch
- The last work hour is the least productive for most people, so use it to do routine tasks and tie up loose ends so you can start fresh in the morning.
- Relieve accumulated stress in your shoulders, neck and back with stretches.
- Take two minutes to massage around your eyes.
Get Your Work-Out in and Unwind
- Stop on the way home for a game of tennis, yoga class, or a workout at the club, or
- Go for a bike ride or walk when you get home, do some gardening or play with your
- Steer away from loud, agitating stimuli.
- Set limits on how late you’ll accept phone calls, and turning off the television.
- Finally, how well you sleep has a lot to do with how well you wake and experience the
following day. Use 2-to-1 breathing in the following sequence:
- Eight breath cycles lying on your back,
- Sixteen breath cycles lying on your right side,
- Thirty-Two breath cycles lying on your left side.
Sleep in Peace, Wake with Joy.
Gently slow down the rate of exhalation until you are exhaling for twice as long as you are inhaling. You can coax a longer exhalation by contracting the abdomen slightly. Don’t try to fill or empty the rhythm of your breath. In the beginning, it may help to count to six on the exhalation and to three on the inhalation, or to four on the exhalation and to two on the inhalation (or any other 2-to-1 ratio you find comfortable). An exhalation and inhalation equals one breath cycle. Allow your breathing to become smooth and even.
Written by: Written by: Barbara Badolati loves to dance and guides others in mindful movement. She minored in dance at MCC and EMU, trained in 5Rhythms, Nia white belt, and Journey Dance module I. Join her at the Muskegon Yoga studio located in Norton Shores April 13 or go online for class schedule. To invite Barb to teach at your location call 616 638-5625 or [email protected]?subject=JourneyDance-West%20Michigan%20Woman%20Article">e-mail her. For more information visit her website, and subscribe to receive FREE monthly Well-BEing Tips. Barbara Badolati, April 2012. Rights granted to West Michigan Woman edition. This article, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission. Photo: stock.xchng