I’m always searching for better ways to live. Whether it’s an herb or a sun lamp, I keep an eye out for anything that might enhance my daily routine. It’s the little things that improve your quality of life and make a total meltdown less likely.
Here’s my list of things for 2016.
Flux is the best free computer program I’ve ever found. Once you download it, it will automatically adjust the light on your monitor to reduce harsh blue light. Too much blue light before bed suppresses melatonin and makes falling asleep take significantly longer. Since I downloaded Flux, I’ve had a noticeably easier time falling asleep.
2) Getting More Sun
I began working out a new gym that has an outdoor area. If I can get a workout in during the daylight hours, I make sure to spend at least 20 minutes out in the sun afterward in my gym shorts. Every time I do this, I feel significantly more relaxed for the rest of the day. Research shows that getting more sun may help you sleep better at night.
3) Listening To My Body
When I was in the depths of addiction, my mind and body were at odds. Because my body never wanted anything except alcohol, I had to force my body to eat, go to the gym, even lay in bed and pretend I was going to fall asleep. These days my mind and body are in unison.
I took all of last week off from the gym because my body felt worn down. I didn’t plan this, but I know that when I get back in there tomorrow I’ll feel significantly better than I did before.
4) Fartlek Training
This is an absurd term for something that I first came across when I was preparing to become a personal trainer. It simply means to train without having any set interval or intensity level. Instead of determining exactly what my cardio session is going to look like, I’ll simply get on the elliptical for 30 minutes and let the intensity come and go. I’ll turn up the resistance and work up a sweat, then back off of it and let my heart rate return to normal. This non-strategy is actually very effective; it reduces the anxiety that you might feel before a workout. You might surprise yourself at the end of it by how hard you actually worked, but there’s just no pressure beforehand.
5) Having a Meditation Mantra
I’ve had the same meditation mantra since I first quit drinking. The value of the word itself is totally subjective, but repeating it to yourself while you’re meditating will train your brain to associate that word with calm and stability. During stressful events, thinking this word to yourself will help you to relax. I repeat this word in my head in response to stressful situations and it puts me in a zen-like zone every time.
6) Rooibos Tea
Everyone needs a ritual. I use this tea before bed to help unwind. Unlike green or black tea, Roobios tea doesn’t contain caffeine, so it won’t keep you up. This tea contains natural compounds that will give you a calm energy. If you read before bed, you don’t want something that’s going to knock you out immediately. Bentley’s Blood Orange Rooibos Tea is delicious and I highly recommend it.
7) Naag Champa
Few things alter my mood as rapidly as incense. You can probably find Nag Champa, which is made in India, at your local convenience store. Meditation is simply better with some incense burning. Smell is an underrated and often neglected sense. If you’ve kicked booze or a drug habit, all of your senses will heighten with time. Getting some authentic incense will remind you to keep meditating.
Fenugreek is an herb widely used as flavoring in Indian cuisine. There’s powerful evidence that it can help balance male hormones, improve blood sugar, and protect the liver. I know for an absolute fact that when I take fenugreek I have a much better outlook on life. My motivation to go to the gym improves and I feel more alive almost immediately. This is the brand I use.
Feel free to add to my list in your comments.