My name is Neale Bacon. I have lost (so far) 200 pounds with no pills, potions, shakes, short cuts or surgery. Join me for tips and tricks I learned along the way. There may even be a laugh or two along the way.

Archive for the ‘self care’ Category

How does your day start?

cat-1584543_640I know not everyone is a morning person, but I wanted to share a few ideas to make your mornings get off to a great start. For the non-morning people, maybe they will make morning bearable.

Morning Routines that will Rock Your Happiness

We live in a crazy busy world where the modern person is stretched too thin, particularly those who juggle family, kids and work. Between taking care of the family and achieving a fulfilling career, people run the risk of not getting enough sleep, exercise, proper nutrition or even a satisfying sex life. Lacking in nutrition in each of these areas can lead to health and psychological issues, such as malnutrition, fatigue, poor body image and stress. In the long run, it’s a recipe for becoming increasingly dissatisfied with life resulting in unhappiness.

More often than not, it is the day-to-day that bogs us down, and to master the daily, it is important to get a good start in the morning. Research shows that morning routines and habits (even quick ones) are beneficial to the mind as it shifts focus to matters that require immediate attention. Here are some morning habits that have proven to not only increase happiness levels, but long term positive health too!

Prayer

I am a man of faith and not ashamed to be so, therefore prayer is part of my daily routine as much as possible. You may not be a person of faith, and that’s OK. I have a little something for everyone today.  I remember reading something once called the morning prayer that went something like this…

Dear Lord,
So far I’ve done all right.
I haven’t gossipped,
haven’t lost my temper,
haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.

I’m really glad about that.
But in a few minutes, God,
I’m going to get out of bed.
And from then on,
I’m going to need a lot more help.

It is a good idea, especially if we have a busy day ahead, to start with some a simple prayer. Just a “Hi Lord. It’s going to be a busy day. I am so glad you will be there with me. Please remind me of that now and then. Thank you”

Meditation

Meditation helps to reduce stress responses in the body. Multiple studies have shown girl-2176513_640that meditation leads to lowered blood cortisol levels. Cortisol is commonly known as the stress hormone, as it is released during periods of stress and low blood sugar. Sustained high cortisol levels in the body has detrimental effects on the immune system , which can lead to poor general health with the risk of disease.

While meditation is known to be practised among monks and yogis, meditation is not a daunting practice; anyone can learn to meditate. The core to meditation is to be comfortable, but not too comfortable that you fall asleep. Meditation can be done in any room of your home, and you can start with a short session of around 5 minutes in length each morning. They key is to calm the mind in preparation for the day.

While meditating you should always maintain a good posture, regular breathing, and awareness of your body and the space in order to start to clear the mind and come to terms with yourself. For beginners, you may consider joining a guided meditation session to learn the basics and get you started.

Yoga

yoga-241609_640Many people choose to do yoga in the morning as a stretching routine to prepare the body and mind for the day ahead. Yoga goes hand-in-hand with meditation, so you might want to consider taking up both by adding in a 5 minute meditation after your stretching session.

There are many forms of yoga that can be performed in the morning, ranging from yin yoga that focuses on deep stretching, to more vigorous and aerobic vinyasayoga that goes through a set of poses in quick succession. Yoga overall helps to increase flexibility and strength of the body.

If doing a formal yoga session isn’t your thing, then simply spend 5-10 minutes in the morning stretching your body in a way that feels right for you.

Exercise

couple walkingWe all know we need to exercise, but did you know that getting exercise done in the morning can boost blood circulation and respiration rate to help jump start the day on a positive note?It’s been noted on many research studies that consistent morning exercise aids in getting better quality sleep at night.

You could start with 20 minutes of walking or conditioning workouts in your own home to save time. There are plenty of fast and effective workout videos on YouTube you could get started on to kick start your morning exercise routine.

Breakfast

cereal-898073_640I have written on the importance of breakfast many times. Breakfast is necessary to refuel the body after an overnight fast, and gives you energy for the first half of the day for your daily pursuits.

Having a healthy, protein-rich breakfast will keep you fuller for longer compared to carbohydrate-heavy food like breads and pastries. Consider this: every meal in a day is an opportunity to introduce essential nutrients to the body, and if you are able to get you’re a large portion of your vitamin and mineral requirements sorted out at the beginning of the day, why not? You’ll be able to face the day brighter and happier and on a more positive note.

A balanced breakfast could be a good whole grain cereal with milk and a sliced banana or a boiled egg with fruits and vegetables or wholemeal avocado toast with a pot of Greek Yogurt. For those who cannot work up an appetite in the morning, a quick protein smoothie could be better for you. 

Establishing a morning routine doesn’t need to be complicated or intense. The key is incorporating activities one at a time, and to aim for consistency. Soon enough, seeing the positive effects of these routines on the physical and mental well being will be motivation to keep at them, and eventually turn them into lifelong habits.

What morning routine are you going to start with tomorrow?

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!