I travel a lot for work and have noticed that when I get to connect with colleagues and friends to ask them how they are most reply by saying they are “good but busy”. Many of us wake up running from the moment our feet touch the floor to the moment at the end of the day when we crashing out with no gas left in the tank. This article is an invitation to change up your routine to set the stage for a little more balance in your day and hopefully a little more “gas in your tank” reserves at the end of the day. How you spend the first hour of your day can truly affect the remaining 23 for the good if you do it right.
Step 1. Drink a Lemon Juice Beverage 1st thing in the morning.
When you start out your morning with a lemon juice beverage 30 minutes before breakfast you set the stage to prime digestion and encourage elimination. Lemon juice aids your liver in flushing out toxins and alkalizes the body. Whereas an acidic environment weakens the body’s immune system and creates an unbalanced internal environment that promotes disease. In addition, this beverage provides vitamin C, antioxidants, and is antiseptic. You may find yourself replacing your morning cup of Joe with a nice warm glass of Lemon Drink!
Lemon Drink Recipe:
Juice of half of a lemon or lime
1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
1 Teaspoon of honey
Pinch of Cayenne
Small Cup of Filtered Warm Water
Step 2. Practice Pranayama (Mindful breathing exercise) And/or Meditate
These practices will help set the tone for the entire day. Studies have shown that breathing slowly & deeply is the easiest way to activate the rest and digest system. Which is needed for most of us Americans that tend to be stuck in Fight or Flight Overdrive. Meditation and pranayama soothe frazzled nerves and quiet anxious minds.
The practice is simple. Set your timer for 5, 10, 15, or 30 minutes. Make a decision to complete the time frame and do it every day. This practice is reinforced and more effective with consistency. Find a comfortable and quiet place to practice. Make sure your spine is erect and you feel grounded.
The technique is practiced by breathing in and out the nose with your mouth closed, the tongue rests at the top of the mouth behind the front teeth, and you slightly contract the muscles at the back of the throat. This technique creates a sound and sensation at the back of the throat. You want to soften the jaw and cultivate smooth extended breath. In the beginning, your inhale may be a count of 4 on the inhalation and the exhalation. With practice, you will work up to an 8 count inhale & an 8 count exhale.
This breathing technique is useful for achieving desired energy states (i.e. balance, relaxation, or energized feeling). For balance, you will practice 1:1 breathing (inhale to a count of 4 and exhale to a count of 4). If you are feeling anxious, work with a 1:2 breathing ratio (inhale to a count of 4 and exhale to a count of 8). Start out doing 5 minutes of pranayama, check in with yourself and notice how the practice has shifted your energy state. If you have time to practice longer feel free to do so as long as you pause every 5 minutes and check in with yourself.
Step 3. Eat breakfast
It goes without saying that breakfast is important. Yet many of us skimp on breakfast and are running out the door to start our days. In Chinese Medicine, we are taught to Eat like a King for Breakfast, a Prince for Lunch, and a Pauper for Dinner. The principle encourages fueling your body for the day ahead starting with breakfast. Breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day and dinner should be your smallest meal.
Perhaps it is helpful to use the car analogy: Your car needs fuel to run. You fuel up the car before you head out on a long journey and you utilize the fuel as the day goes by. If you were to wait till the end of you journey to fuel up you wouldn’t end up getting to your final destination.
If you are willing to give these 3 tips a try for a week will connect back to me with feedback? I would love to hear how it went for you and if you had any helpful tips for the Life Balance Community.