While we have had a lot taken away from us in the last few months, we have been given something. That something is time.
Time to make changes in our mental and physical health and well-being.
Time to focus on those projects that we have been putting off, for in my case months and years
Time to nurture our relationships that we may have been ignoring and build new ones that we may have never sought out.
Below are 10 tips you can put into practice, to take advantage of this increased free time and improve your Daily Health and Wellbeing. Some I have borrowed from a coach I am working with Frank Benedetto, and put my own spin one.
1.Build a consistent sleep time and routine
Setting yourself up for success each day starts with the night before. Building a consistent sleep routine and setting consistent sleep times is a great place to start. Scheduling time to wind down and disconnect 30 minutes to an hour before bed will help put your mind and body in the right place for sleep. The specifics aren’t as important as being consistent, just find what works for you. Personally, my routine consists of a 10-minute meditation, journaling, writing out my schedule and to-do list for the next day and reading. Find what works best for you and make it consistent
2. Schedule Your Day
This has been a game-changer for me during the shutdown we are currently living in. I spent the first week or so wandering around each day and not getting much done. Finally, I decided to start scheduling my days as if It were a normal workday. I schedule my morning and night routines, morning workouts, periods of work, periods for learning, marketing, self-care, essentially every activity I plan to do each day. This is best done the night before that way you are prepared and ready to go as soon as you wake up
3. Build a consistent morning routine
The morning routine tends to get more hype than the nighttime routine. As with the bedtime routine, the specifics aren’t as nearly as important as being consistent. My routine consists of a 10-minute mediation, Daily stoic reading and journaling, exercise, and normal daily hygiene as if I were going to work. Start your day on a positive note and use that momentum to propel you through the day
4. Perform resistance exercise minimum 30 minutes 3 to 4x a week
I prefer to get this done in the morning. Doing this in the morning tends to have some benefits over other times of the day but in the end, find a time that works best for you. Consistency is the key. Personally, I perform four 45-minute resistance training workouts a week and two to three 20-minute recovery movement/yoga-based workouts. For the resistance workouts keep it simple and stick to the basic movements of squats, lunges, deadlifts, pressing and pulling. If you enjoy running, swimming, yoga, dance sprinkle that on your non-resistance training days
5. Set consistent work/learning hours
Approaching my days as you would a normal workday has been huge for my productivity. I set aside time during my day specific for certain work projects that I am working on as well as education time for areas both personally and professionally that I am looking to grow in
6. Spend a minimum 10 minutes focusing on mental health (meditation, journaling, prayer, etc.)
As I stated earlier, I build this into my morning and nighttime routines. I also make sure to take breaks throughout the day as well usually 10-15 minutes. Sometimes I go out in my back yard and hit some golf balls into a net, sometimes I meditate, sometimes I just watch tv or read. As I will state in my next point, I also go for a 20-30 min walk every day which has a huge benefit to my mental well being
7. Go for a walk daily
As I said above, I schedule in a 20-30 walk every afternoon outdoors, weather permitting. Sometimes I listen to an audiobook or podcast other times just some music. I also like to take a notepad and pen with me to jot down ideas, thoughts, and things I pull from a book or podcast. This has been a huge benefit for my mental health since I have been doing this.
8. Take a breath and put your utensil down after every bite
This is something that I took from precision nutrition, who are full of these wonderful, easy to digest (see what I did there) nuggets. slow eating may be the single most powerful habit for driving major transformation. For me, this one has been a big help as I am a fast eater. According to Precision Nutrition, the benefit of this is:
Reason 1: Physiology. It takes about 20 minutes for your body’s satiety signals to kick in. Slow eating gives the system time to work, allowing you to better sense when you’ve had enough.
Reason 2: Psychology. When you slow down and really try to savor your meal, you tend to feel satisfied with less, and feel less “deprived.”
So be mindful of how you eat and put your utensil down and breathe between bites
9. Call a friend or family member
Because of social distancing, we have been forced to limit our social interactions. As an introvert, I never thought this would have an effect on me, but is still crave those meaningful conversations which have led me to focus on recording regular interview episodes on my podcast. For you, that may be just reaching out to friends and family with a quick phone call or even text or email. Keep in touch with the people that mean the most to you and check in on them as these are tough times and a lot of people are struggling out there.
10. Smile more.
I took this from a conversation that I had with a Teaching professional and sports psychologist, Justin Hill. We had a great chat just sharing what each of us was going through both professionally and personally. His one piece of advice for me was smiling more. Frankly, this is something that I probably don’t do enough of nor do I utilize it as a tool to reverse my mindset from a positive one to a negative one throughout the day. There is tons of research demonstrating to powerful mental and physiological effect smiling more can have, and personally, I can feel those changes. By implementing this tactic you build more mental resiliency and promote more positive feelings throughout the day.
I hope these tips help you take advantage of the time we have been given, build positive habits that can carry on well beyond our current situation. Put your own spin on these and make them fit what you value and your personal and professional goals.
About the Author
Dr. J.P. Guidry DPT is the owner and head strength coach at Guidry Golf and Sport and creator of the Lifelong Athlete Program. He is a licensed physical therapist, certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and a Titleist Performance Institute Level 2 Certified Fitness Professional.