It’s just about that time – the evenings are longer, school’s out, and I am reminded that I need to pull out my white skinnies more often. It’s for this reason that I decided LAST summer, that throughout the summer months, I will come from a place of YES instead of my frequent place of NO. “No, you can’t stay up 30 minutes later,” “No, you’re in your pi’s, we can’t go to Dairy Queen tonight,” or “No, I can’t meet you for coffee, my friend, because I have too many deadlines.” I decided that “no” was not going to dominate my vocabulary. Summer is a perfect time to say YES to our life. We want to make sure we’re seizing the moments.
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 summer. 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 diseases 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 love glancing at my Outlook calendar and tasks (all in the cloud), 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. Practice 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 make you happy. If you’re at your human pretzel threshold, 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. Fact. I am going to give you results now of a study that will blow you away: 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! Wow, we need to sleep, ladies! If you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, please read this.
I am obsessed with good sleep. So when I went to the Microsoft Campus last month as a Microsoft Office Champion, and they so generously outfitted me with own Microsoft Band, I was stoked! With this Band, I now know how long it takes me to fall asleep, how many restful vs. restless hours of sleep I got, how many times I awoke in the night, and how long my total sleep was. This Band is killer.
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. Summer is a great time to get out there with friends, family and your partner.
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)
Again, my latest favorite pastime is monitoring my calories burned and daily steps taken with my new Microsoft Band. If you have an old pedometer or know anything about steps in a day, you should aim for at least 10,000 steps a day to be in the healthy zone, and I use my Band to maintain this goal.
Also, get 30-45 minutes of fresh air outside, 7 DAYS A WEEK, 365 days a year. NO EXCUSES. I walk outside in the winter. I sit on my deck and let the vitamin D soak on my skin. A person needs OUT. If you work in an office all day, keep those running shoes handy at lunchtime, and head out for a power walk.
And finally, I do 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!!
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 to every second day for 15-20 minutes per session. I also like to sign up for Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge every time they announce it. The next one starts in July, I believe. Here’s the link if you’re curious: https://chopracentermeditation.com.
You must try and 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, peanut 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 recently found on Pinterest that you may find helpful as well. I keep it handy in OneNote in the cloud, so I can refer to it frequently.
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 spending, therefore reducing any debt. Invest in 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 summer. 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 summer reads, I recently did a TV segment on the topic. Watch here. But reading is life-changing.
I wish only health and happiness for you this summer. I’d love to hear what is keeping your mind, body and spirit healthy, happy and stress-free these days.