We are there – back to school! I read yesterday that ‘August is the Sunday of Summer.’ I kinda agree! Here we are… August 30th.
Throughout the summer, I generally try and come from a place of YES instead of my frequent place of NO. “No, you can’t stay up later,” “No, it’s too late to go Dairy Queen tonight,” or “No, I can’t meet you for coffee, my friend, because I have too many deadlines.” It was a few years ago that I decided that that “no” was not going to dominate my summer vocabulary. I have tried to make this summer the summer of YES. ESPECIALLY after the year we’ve had. I really tried to seize the moments this summer. Have you this summer?
In one of my many AHA moments as a Certified Life Coach, I realized that we are SO MUCH IN CONTROL OF OURSELVES AND OUR LIVES. We are in control of our health, our well-being, our mental state, our marriage, our career, our happiness. Everything. It’s up to us to give ourselves the best life possible. No one else can do it for us, and truth is, it’s best when we can do it for ourselves.
Today, my goal is to get your mind, body and spirit fit, healthy and happy this back to school and fall season. Here are 10 things you can do TODAY to help with this.
At the end, I’d love to hear what keeps your mind, body and spirit healthy, happy and stress-free.
1. Start your day with a tall glass of room-temp lemon water
It’s a great way to flush out toxins, prevent disease and assist in cleansing your system from impurities. Just do it. You’ll notice a difference in your skin, your body and your insides will thank you.
2. Plan your entire week on Sundays, as well as your next day on the evening prior
This can even be done in bed, by glancing at your calendar. I take 20 minutes on Sunday afternoons to see what’s up for the week. Waking up to a surprise TO-DO task list with unexpected tasks you forgot about, can be very unnerving. A simple 20 minutes to plan your next day or week has helped in every way. If I see my week is looking too full, I see what I can reschedule for a quieter time.
3. A Reminder that I make sure 85% of my commitments are NECESSARY COMMITMENTS
That means, I have started eliminating unnecessary commitments from my schedule. And it feels like the weight of the world has been lifted. Practicing the art of saying no to the things that don’t bring you happiness and fulfillment allows you to say YES to the things that DO. If you’re at your human pretzel threshold (all twisty and turny to accommodate everyone and everything), well, that won’t serve you very well. Drop what’s not absolutely necessary. You’ll get over it, and maybe next “semester” will have the time.
4. The Importance of Sleep: Sleep at least 7 hours
Sleep deprivation depresses your immune system. Simple fact. I am going to give you results now of a study that will blow your mind: After 153 healthy men and women were exposed to a cold virus, those who had slept more than 7 hours each night during the preceding 14 days reduced their risk of contracting the rhinovirus by up to 300 percent! We need sleep, ladies. If you’re suffering with sleep deprivation, creating an evening routine is a great place to start.
5. Get social… OFFLINE!
Yes. People who are socially active get fewer colds! Research shows that social and sociable people tend to be more positive, which is tied to happiness and strengthened immunity. Don’t isolate. It’s only September – the weather is still warm. It’s important to keep those summer vibes going and get out there with friends, family and your partner – again, especially after the year we’ve been living through. Social connection is where it’s at. Its doesn’t have to be complicated – ice cream after dinner, a drink with a girlfriend, joining a bookclub or mahjong group, a walk with your partner around the block. You get the idea.
6. Exercise – Walk, run, bike, cycle, hike, spin, yoga, pilates, swim, zumba, hip hop, strength train
In case you were wondering, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines for healthy adults:
- Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. You also can do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week.
- Strength training. Do strength training exercises at least twice a week. No specific amount of time for each strength training session is included in the guidelines.
Moderate aerobic exercise includes such activities as brisk walking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes such activities as running and aerobic dancing. Strength training can include use of weight machines or activities such as rock climbing or heavy gardening. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. (MayoClinic.org)
Also, get 30 minutes of fresh air outside, daily if you can. I walk outside in the winter. A person needs OUT. If you work in an office all day, keep those running shoes handy at lunchtime, and head out for a walk this summer on your lunch break.
And finally, I do 25-50 JUMPING JACKS after every hour I sit at my desk. It gets the blood flowing, my muscles moving, and adds to those 10,000 steps I aim for daily.
7. Meditation and Stress Release
If you are skeptical, please read about my journey into meditation. This one is a biggie. And it’s for real. I meditate daily for 20-60 minutes per session (I’ve been doing it for 20 years), but you need only to get started with 5! Meditation is BIG, and as a teacher on the Insight Timer, I encourage you to get started today. Here’s how.
Photo credit: mindtosucceed.com
The idea is to manage your stress. Stress physically slows down your metabolism, releasing cortisol, making your body fight too hard. Hence, stress is not good for staying fit and healthy. See activities above to help with stress release, and as per this point #7, meditation also helps.
8. I prepare my healthy snacks for the week on Sundays
I cut up vegetables in containers. I cut up fruit in containers. I make sure I have nuts, yogurt, hummus, cheese, almond butter, everything accessible and CUT UP. This makes it easier when I’m hungry and want to grab junk snacks.
Here is a chart I found on Pinterest that you may find helpful as well.
Simplify. Everything. That means simplify things such as online banking. Instead of spending money on a dinner out, hire a cleaning lady to help you instead. Reduce your clutter, and reduce your spending, therefore reducing any debt. Find ways to SIMPLIFY your life. You will feel free, and much less weighted down. Many of us thrive in chaos (this isn’t good, my friends). Practice changing your ways…. keep reminding yourself the word SIMPLIFY. Simplification brings peace, and mental health and happiness.
10. Read, as often as you can.
A book. A magazine. A newspaper. A romance novel. But just read. Commit to reading this back to school and fall season. On certain days, read something that educates you, on other days, read something that takes your mind away for an hour. If you’re looking for some great fall reads, click “fall reads” in the search bar on EricaDiamond.com. Reading is life-changing.
I wish only health and happiness for you this back to school season. I’d love to hear what is keeping your mind, body and spirit healthy, happy and stress-free these days.