Life is wonderful right now. So many good things happening. Projects are manifesting, kindred spirits are appearing and creative collaborations are a'brewing. It's an exciting time. I'm the kind of person who tends to get overly excited about life. To the point where I start having trouble sleeping at night because I'm just brimming over with inspiration, joy and a hunger to keep creating. So I've been spending some time turning my attention to the things that keep me grounded. The little habits and daily rituals that keep me feeling healthy, energized and balanced. Being excited about life is awesome. But more and more I'm discovering the importance of taking the time to step back and nurture. And it really begins with the simple things. Sleep. Water. Sunshine.
Here's the complete list of my daily essentials:
I drink two glasses right when I wake up. This allows my body to begin the day by flushing and rehydrating. Throughout the day I adjust my water intake depending on my activities; if I'm exercising or sweating I make sure to drink more. The IOM recommends approx. 2.7 liters/day for the average adult female and 3.7 liters/day for the average adult male. Click here to check out their complete chart on daily water intakes.
Unless you live in a place where your tap water is exceptionally clean and from a trusted source (lucky you!), invest in some high quality spring water. I live in LA, and even though I absolutely adore this city, our tap water is loaded with contaminants. I won’t go into that here, but if you’re looking for more info, check out the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) site.
The effect of a few moments of aligning breath with movement is incredible. I notice that even when I give myself just five to ten minutes on my mat, breathing, moving and stretching, my entire day unfolds differently. I approach everything with a greater sense of ease and grace. Especially when I know that I'll be interacting with a lots of people, I feel that I owe it to myself and others to take these few moments of grounding and tapping into my centered self. When my morning is super busy and I don't even have time to roll out my mat, I'll breathe and do some neck rolls. If I have more time, I love doing the Yoga With Adriene videos on YouTube. Click on the image below for one of my fave quick sequences:
15 Minutes of Sunshine
I feel incredibly fortunate that I live in a place where the average number of sunny days is around 284. So whenever I have an extra 10-15 minutes to spare I put them towards soaking up those rays. Preferably some time before 10am, before the sun starts getting strong. And with as little clothing as possible (;-)). Not trying to be kinky here. Seriously, the more skin you expose, the more Vitamin D your body absorbs. I also avoid wearing any type of sunscreen, since most of them block Vitamin D absorption. If my skin feels like it needs some protection and moisture, I like using extra-virgin olive oil. After trying out this daily ritual for a while, I've noticed a huge difference in my overall sense of wellbeing on days when I get my sun, compared to days when I don't. I find myself feeling more energized, thinking more clearly and just in an overall more positive frame of mind.
Check out these great articles for more info on safe sunning practices and the importance of getting your daily dose of vitamin D:
I enjoy this gorgeous fruit almost every morning. It's super high in enzymes, so it's a great way to kick off your digestive system. My favorite variety is the organic Hawaiian kind. My local market also has amazing Mexican papayas. When I shop for them, I usually look for ones that are reddish/orange in color. They almost always taste the best. I like letting them suntan for a few hours; this seems to make them even juicier and yummier. Some people are sensitive to the taste of papayas. If this is you, try squeezing some lemon or lime onto them, this balances out the flavor and adds an extra alkalinity boost.
Avocado & Olive Oil
Ever since I started enjoying high-enzyme foods, I’ve had half an avocado with two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil almost every single day. No joke. And I’m still not tired of this winning combo. When you pair up these two foods, you get a nutrition powerhouse that feeds your brain, cleans out rancid fats and keeps you feeling full. It’s also amazing for your heart health. Try incorporating this duo into salads or guac or use them to garnish some of your favorite dishes. I highly recommend finding avocados at your local farmer’s market; they're richer and creamier and have less strings/bruises than the grocery store kind.
Source: Avaness, Christina. "Living Beyond Organic: nutritional knowledge redefined!" Las Vegas: Tiara Publishing, 2009. Print. P.32
I think you all know how important this one is, but I'm gonna go ahead and list it anyway. There are varying points of view out there regarding how much shut-eye you need each night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need seven to nine hours per night. While it can be useful to use these numbers as a guideline, it's best to tune into your body and explore how much sleep you personally need. This changes as your life circumstances change. I've observed that the amount of sleep I need fluctuates depending on my overall health and whether or not my body is going through a repair phase (in which case I'll probably want more). Over all, I've also found that the quality of my sleep is just as important as the quantity. Here are a few guidelines I like to follow to experience exceptional sleep:
1) Sleeping in a Dark Space I like making my sleep space as dark as possible, so that my body can properly produce and release melatonin, a hormone that is essential for sleep. If blocking out light in your bedroom is tricky, try wearing a sleep mask.
2) Disconnecting from Technology I turn off all computers, cell-phones etc. at least half an hour before snuggling up in bed. Check out this article on how technology impacts our ability to have a restful night's sleep: https://sleep.org/articles/ways-technology-affects-sleep/
3) Early Dinners I've observed that I sleep best if I have dinner at least three hours before. This way my body can focus on repairing, instead of digesting, throughout the night.
Have fun playing around with these daily essentials and exploring which ones you respond well to. Discover your own. Our bodies and beings all have unique needs and we all require different things to keep functioning optimally.
From my heart to yours,