At the end of the day, it’s not about what life does to you, but what you do with your life today that matters. Although it’s impossible to predict everything that will happen to you on any given day, there are things you can to do create an outstanding day. As the old saying goes, you can either be shaped by life’s circumstances, or shape life’s circumstances to support your dreams and destiny.
Here are five simple but essential rituals for taking charge of your life that tend to create outstanding days when practiced consistently.
1. Get Your Sleep!
Sleep is NOT a luxury. It’s necessary for repairing, replenishing, and restoring the mind, soul, and body. Period. Skipping sleep compromises your well-being and limits opportunities.
A lack of sleep leads to fatigue and bad decisions. Some of the worst natural disasters of our time were attributed to exhaustion and a lack of rest. Remember Chernobyl or the Exxon Valdez oil spill? What about Three-mile Island? Or the Challenger explosion?
The body, mind, and soul require rest.
If you want to sleep-walk your way through life, making poor decisions along the way, just skip sleep.
Oh, missing sleep makes you look years older than your biological age because you lose the full benefit of human growth hormone, otherwise known as “beauty sleep.”
One other thing, losing sleep tends to throw your hormones out of balance, which can lead to a terrible case of the munchies and an expanded waistline.
Yeah, treating sleep like a luxury instead of a necessity is a great idea.
Although you can’t predict everything that will happen to you today, you can determine how much sleep you get, putting the odds well in your favor.
If you’re an adult, strive for 7-8 hours of deep, restorative sleep. You’ll feel better, look younger, get more done, make better decisions, lower risk of chronic disease, reduce stress, enjoy life a lot more, and increase your chances of getting that corner office if that’s your sort of thing.
Create an outstanding day the night before by getting 7-8 hours of sleep. Oh, and remember to take your vacations and set aside time for spiritual renewal every week.
2. Loosen Up!
There’s a good chance you don’t consider yourself a morning person. You probably hit the snooze button and couple of times and struggle to wake up.
Here’s an idea you might not like at first but give it a chance. Practice the ritual of gentle morning stretching.
Wake up your body by loosening the different muscle groups and increasing blood flow.
Although you might start the routine feeling a little grumpy, this ritual stimulates a pleasant mood.
The American College of Sports Medicine says that starting your day with gentle stretching gives you a burst of energy. It makes you more limber during the day and improves coordination.
3. Now for the boring stuff…Nutritious Meals and Hydration
What you eat determines your mood and how you feel because food affects hormones and energy levels.
Keep it simple by adding more whole foods to whatever diet you currently enjoy. Maybe it’s some berries with breakfast, a salad at lunch, or some vegetables with dinner. Whole foods tend to stabilize energy levels throughout the day. Strive for a healthy balance between complex carbohydrates, fiber, fats, and protein.
Make meal planning easier by planning ahead to avoid fast food and junk food. Minimize processed foods because of the increased risk of diseases like high blood pressure because of all the added salt for flavoring purposes. And reduce junk food consumption too. You don’t have to eliminate it altogether, just reduce it (perhaps drastically in certain cases) because it taxes your pancreas and leaves you feeling hungry, depleted, and fatigued – just how you want to feel when making that career-making presentation to the boss at 2:30 in the afternoon.
Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day to control hunger, promote healthy skin, regular bowel movements, reduce cancer-risk, and boost mood. You know what to do. Aim for a minimum of 8 cups of water daily; more if you’re physically active. Consult your doctor about how much water is optimal for you. Every organ in the body relies on water to operate efficiently
4. Regular Physical Activity
As celebrity trainer and coach Valerie Waters, says “You’re just one workout from a better mood and feeling better.” Exercise is the closest thing to the Fountain of Youth you’ll ever find. Physical activity is one of the secrets to a long, happy life.
Not only does physical activity create an outstanding day, it gives you the energy, strength, and mental sharpness to handle life’s challenges.
Weight-bearing exercise increases bone density and lean muscle mass, which helps to maintain functional independence as you age.
Another benefit of regular exercise is that it strengthens your immune system.
Either breaking a sweat before going to the office or after a long day at work is an exceptional way to unwind, stay healthy, and create an outstanding day (and life).
5. Breathing and Stress Management
Stress is a normal part of life. But chronic stress – stress that won’t go away – is the problem. Many of the things we’ve already discussed in this article will reduce stress. But another thing you can do is this: Breathe.
Slow, deep breathing clears the mind and relaxes the soul.
If you want to create an outstanding day, breathe. Fill your lungs all the way to the bottom with fresh air.
A clear mind and a calm heart will supercharge your ability to solve problems and overcome challenges.
An outstanding day is the result of your rituals – rituals that create an environment within which you soul, mind, and body don’t just exist but flourish and thrive. Make your life worth living. Create a life that overflows with confidence, hope, and joy.
Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash