So 2017 is rapidly coming to a close, meaning, for many of us, holidays are coming up. Celebrating and socialising sometimes puts health and wellbeing on the back foot, as enjoying ourselves takes precedent over looking after ourself.
Alchohol, sweets, going places, excessive food, all take their toll if we aren’t mindful of how we’re spending our time and remember what we’re trying to achieve. Health and wellness is a practice, meaning that it is the small things that are done consistently that bring the best results.
These 8 practices will help cement the progress we’ve made, so that we can start 2018 feeling amazing, healthy and on-track.
1. Take time for yourself
This is a macro idea that becomes especially important when ‘holiday mode’ switches on. What I mean by this is that often when we go on holiday, we are in a frame of mind of maximising relaxation, enjoying our time and generally expending as little energy as possible. Rather, I find it is crucial for making the most of each day to spend time moving, running, fascia-working, reading and ‘staying on.’
Getting in at least an hour of deliberately improving my knowledge, body, etc. sets up the rest of the time to zone out and enjoy the amazing Melbourne summer sun.
A few things I’ve got lined up include…
– Rereading The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene (see here: https://www.bookdepository.com/The-48-Laws-of-Power/9781861972781 )
– Exploring and attempting to understand some Quantum Biology with Dr Jack Kruse’s material as my teacher (see here: https://www.jackkruse.com/getting-started-guide/ )
– Getting some time in the sea!
2. Think 80-20
My thinking about food centres around an 80-20 ratio. What I mean by this if (broadly) 80% of what I put in my body each day is spot-on, the remaining 20% is flexible. Like if meals 1, 2 and 3 are clean, healthy and ticking the right boxes, then having that chocolate in the evening is fine. To me, it’s not the numbers that matter – it’s more about ensuring that the majority of what I do builds a future state that I am the cause of, rather than the victim of.
Practically, I know that over Christmas-NY, there will be a little more alcohol and a little more chocolate. So I think “okay, let’s start the day right – a perfect breakfast and lunch, some movement, and then into the afternoon, I’m in a good place.”
For some further reading, check out Ryan Holiday’s blog here https://ryanholiday.net/best-articles/.
3. Start well
Choosing to be proactive with my life is a practice that requires consistency. Tying into #2, it’s interesting to observe that the most effective and healthy people seem to start their days exactly the same way regardless of what day it is, where they are or what they’re doing.
Whether it’s rising at a certain time or eating the same meal, following a routine is the key to making sustainable improvements in anything. When I adopted waking up at 5am as a solid foundation to each day, I noticed the days became more productive and I felt more empowered.
The idea of starting the day proactively or reactively is worth real consideration. Are we starting the day with the mindset and perspective that we want to fill our day, and our life, with?
I find the way that ex-Navy SEAL Jocko Willink describes this incredible…
“The moment the alarm goes off is the first test; it sets the tone for the rest of the day. The test is not a complex one: when the alarm goes off, do you get up out of bed or do you lie there in comfort and fall back to sleep? If you have the discipline to get out of bed, you win — you pass the test. If you are mentally weak for that moment and you let that weakness keep you in bed, you fail. Though it seems small, that weakness translates to more significant decisions.”
Just for an idea of this man, check out his Instagram feed (here: https://www.instagram.com/jockowillink/ ) and I definitely recommend his book Extreme Ownership.
This post captures Jocko’s philosophy excellently http://aplus.com/a/wake-up-early?no_monetization=true
The temptation to avoid going and moving because we have time off work or because we have a different structure to the day is one that must be overcome. Whether its continuing a program at the gym, or heading to the Tan for an hour, or just getting down and deep in myofascial release, it is again all about consistent action towards our goals.
We are back to the idea of a ‘practice.’ Adding a daily ritual adds up – it’s doing something repeatedly, 1% better every day, that brings about life-changing results. The mindset of “oh I’m writing off this week because it’s Christmas” is not conducive to creating the life we aspire to live. Perhaps having a little less urgency because of the extra time is fine, perhaps not. Do what needs to be done to get 1% better – take the selfish action of spending an hour on fascia release, a few years later, your body will thank you.
Simultaneously, that extra free time is perfect for combining socialising with movement – grab a friend and go out in the sun! It’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon – especially if it get combined with fresh air, nature, the sea and having some fun!
5. Switch off (social media, tech) – MA renew yourself quote
“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills. There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.” -Marcus Aurelius
I really like this quote, in fact – it is permanently visible on my MacBook desktop. In my own life, I have been struggling with switching off. Acknowledging how much time I was spending on my phone (I used the App Moment) and then noticing that I have become addicted to constant notifications and ‘checking for updates’ was a huge realisation. Given that breakthroughs happen when our brain has nothing else to do, those times of ‘boredom’ are actually of huge value – letting our mind wander and giving our unconscious the space to work stuff out lets us level up.
Whilst at work, we can use the excuse that we are working to justify spending over a quarter of our waking time looking at our phone. But really, a lot of the time, an instant response isn’t necessary, nobody is going to miss you or be that frustrated by a longer response time and living life happens physically, not technologically.
So I’ve set a goal to massively cut down on my phone screen time, and to mindfully use the device. Rather than mindlessly refreshing Instagram, Facebook and email, the break over Christmas will help me rediscover the joys of physical presence and to work through an addiction that is almost certainly preventing me levelling up in life.
For more reading (perhaps exaggerated..), check out https://www.facebook.com/drjackkruse/posts/1800067610057585
Australian sun, here comes a can of worms. For most of us, we spend excessive amounts of time indoors – to the detriment of our health. Not only is this coupled with low levels of movement, but it also can severely disrupt our circadian rhythms due to crazy-excessive blue light and EMF exposure and this has severe ramifications for the rest of our body (see .).
Giving yourself the gift of waking up early to watch the sunrise, or taking that hour or two to go to the beach, or even just taking a ‘sun break’ in contrast to the more common coffee break. Feel and see the sun, touch nature, reset the body clock and frequency.
Now the sun here definitely is a little much during peak hours and obviously we do not want to risk getting burnt or excessively crispy, so look after yourself.
Having a bit of extra time and less to think about is a perfect opportunity to delve into something we’ve been meaning to do.. whether this is heading to a new suburb, checking out a new beach or exploring a new book, the Christmas break is great for this.
Now that we’ve got more flexibility and more time available, setting goals to explore outside our comfort zone is a great way to have some personal growth and to dig into that curiosity that we haven’t found the time for yet.
Personally I love wandering off in some direction, maybe with a podcast on, maybe not, and just walking until I feel compelled to turn around and head back. Taking this idea from physical, to mental, to anything else is, in my opinion, an excellent use of time.
8. Give and love
The best part of Christmas and New Year is that it comes with more family time and celebrations. It might be that we are distracted by Christmas and gifts and festivities, yet sharing in the good mood and celebrations is magical.
Feeling the love and giving it in return only turns up the magic, and, I think, might be the most important thing in life.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I am honoured and I truly hope I have given you some value for this festive season. See you in 2018!