If you feel like you’ve fallen off, it’s never too late to get back into the swing of things.
Do you ever wake up wondering when life will start to go easy on you?
Over the last year, I’ve felt like my life has declined in all aspects. Everything I’d worked so hard to build felt obsolete; my work ethic, routines, habits, goals — you name it.
I was waking up every morning feeling more tired than ever, eating foods that weren’t serving me, and scrolling through every social media app till my eyes closed. It’s been rough — but I’m on the path of re-establishing every positive habit that has ever worked for me to get back on track.
I’m writing this to say, if you’re in the same boat and you feel like you’ve fallen off — it’s never too late to get back into the swing of things.
James Clear says, “Successful people feel the same lack of motivation as everyone else. The difference is that they still find a way to show up despite the feelings of boredom.”
Wake up 20–30 minutes earlier than you need to.
If you’re rolling out of bed 30 minutes before you need to be at work, chances are, you’re not going to feel alert and will probably feel rushed and overwhelmed.
I used to set my alarm 15–20 minutes before having to be at the gym to get as much sleep as possible, and then I’d chug pre-workout and rush out the door; I’d walk into my workout mentally dead but jittery at the same time.
Getting up just 20–30 minutes earlier than you need to can give your body the chance to reach peak wakefulness naturally so that you won’t feel rushed and you won’t chug espresso or pre-workout to feel alive.
You might struggle initially, but by giving yourself more time to get up, make a cup of coffee and enjoy it rather than gulp the scalding liquid down, you’ll feel more in control of your day and time.
You’ll also notice a big difference in mood and mental clarity.
Don’t think — just do.
Most people have mile-long morning routines that don’t allow them to actually do the work they set out to do.
I was in that boat for a long time; my main task of the day would be to write — but instead, I’d journal, meditate, drink coffee, make breakfast, go for a walk, scroll through social media, and then by the time I sat down to write, half the day would be over.
There’s nothing wrong with having morning rituals that make you feel good and happy but make sure you’re actually doing the work you set out to do instead of putting it off for later.
Pro-tip: Try time-blocking. Every morning wake up at the same time, and set aside 20–30 minutes to wash your face, do your meditation, make your coffee, and whatever else you need. Then, get to the most important task of the day and do it for 2–3 uninterrupted hours.
You’d be surprised at how productive you’ll feel when you dedicate time to your actual work and get to it rather than doing 7+ things to “prepare” yourself for the work you have to do.
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Monitor your caffeine intake.
Caffeine can elevate your cortisol levels by stimulating your central nervous system; when cortisol is elevated, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, which puts your body under stress.
This will result in you feeling fatigued a few short hours after consuming the caffeine, irritated, anxious — and even depressed.
Over a billion people drink coffee and rely on it to get them through the day, and according to NCA, the average American coffee drinker drinks over 3 cups per day.
Those cups of coffee are consumed throughout the day, and it takes up to 12 hours to completely clear caffeine from your bloodstream, which results in low-quality sleep — resulting in an even more tired, irritated, and anxious you.
I used to start every morning with a heaping scoop of pre-workout, a cup of coffee after my workout, an energy drink around noon, and another cup of joe around 3–4 pm. Needless to say, my central nervous system was wrecked.
Now, I try to monitor my caffeine intake, and my sleep quality has significantly improved. I start my morning with a comforting cup of hot tea, and I limit my coffee to two a day, and never after 2 pm.
In ‘This Is Your Brain On Food,’ author and nutritional psychiatrist Uma Naidoo recommends keeping caffeine consumption under 400 mg per day.
Eat in a way that allows you to maximize cognitive health.
The food you consume has a massive impact on the health of your brain, and eating a diet that maximizes both short-term and long-term brain function can drastically improve the overall quality of your life.
For the last 4–5 years, I’ve maintained a healthy and balanced diet, but before that, I didn’t think twice about what I consumed. I’d eat sugary cereals for breakfast, skip it altogether, and drink vanilla lattes with a slice of lemon loaf from Starbucks.
I’d feel stimulated from the sugar and caffeine for a couple of hours, but the crashes were unbearable.
Author Uma Naidoo recommends stocking your pantry with the following brain foods for optimal brain health:
Omega-3 rich foods
I try to monitor my breakfast by keeping it clean and simple — I’ll have eggs, avocado, something fermented like kimchi or sauerkraut, and chicken sausage for additional protein. Essentially, I keep it high in protein and fat, and I’ll have a side of berries as well.
Read also: 7 habits of highly focused people (powerful)
Read before bed.
We all focus on having productive morning routines, but the majority of us completely bypass evening routines.
After months of staring at a computer and phone screen until 9–10 pm, I decided to create a wind-down routine, and it’s based on author Michael Breus’ power-down hour structure.
Author Michael Breus recommends spending the first 20 minutes of your wind-down routine getting ready for the following day, the next 20 minutes on things like brushing your teeth and washing your face, and the last 20 minutes on calming habits like reading, stretching or meditating.
I usually opt for reading something; lately, it’s been Meditations by Marcus Aurelius; other nights, it’s something fictional and light.
It’s never too late to re-establish positive habits in your daily life, we all fall off at times — the most important thing is to get back up and try again.
CONTRIBUTED BY Dayana Sabatin
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