Have you paid much attention to the daily rhythm of your life? We all function in accordance with a specific rhythm. Early-birds (like me) wake up with the sunrise, energized and ready to engage with the world. Night owls often are just getting started when the early-birds are starting to crash. 

Regardless of your personal energy flow, we all need to take strategic energy breaks. Dr. Heidi Hanna is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Integrative Neuroscience, and the author of several best-selling books on brain research.

In "Recharge," Dr. Hanna shares how we can restore our energy during the 5 most optimal times in our day.

Bedtime
Sleep deprivation is a significant health hazard. Among the many neurological effects, and the risk of becoming addicted to sleeping meds, it impacts our reaction time, increases our cancer risk by 60 percent, and increases our risk of heart disease by 45%. 

How to improve your sleep quality:

  1. Avoid stimulating technology 60 minutes before bed.
  2. Use calming music or a guided meditation. Spotify has a great "Sleep" genre with several playlists to lull you to sleep.  
  3. Keep a notepad beside your bed to quickly record any lingering thoughts that may keep you awake.
  4. Engage in activities that physically separate you from your workday. 

Early Morning.
How do you spend your first 30 minutes of the day? This crucial time sets the tone for the rest of the day. 

How to positively jump-start your day:

  1. Start with a simple list of gratitude.
  2. Get moving with exercise or stretching.  It stimulates endorphins, enhances cognitive performance, and kicks off our day with a feeling of accomplishment.
  3. Recite positive affirmations. 
  4. Create an achievable (short) list of your goals for the day. 
  5. Share appreciation for others. 

Meal Time.

Our bodies require healthy nutrition every 3-4 hours. Our food choices impact our energy, directing it either positively or negatively. The most important nutritional strategy is to stabilize blood sugar so that we don't spike and crash. 

How to practice smart nutrition:

  1. Eat every 3-4 hours.
  2. Eat within an hour of waking to stimulate metabolism.
  3. Eat a combination of healthy carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats.
  4. Minimize inflammatory foods like sugar and alcohol.
  5. My personal rule: avoid ingredients you can't pronounce or that may glow in the dark. 
  6. Drink a lot of water. 

Movement Time.

The human body craves movement. Too often we go for extended periods of sitting, which compromises our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. 

How to incorporate movement:

  1.  Incorporate stretching and walking into your day, even if it is for 10-15 minutes. 
  2. Enter breaks into your schedule, rather than booking calls back to back. 
  3. Conduct standing meetings at your office. This keeps your metabolism flowing. 
  4. As Steve Jobs used to do, and as Mark Zuckerberg does, hold walking meetings. Your creative output can increase by up to 60% when walking. 
  5. Track your fitness and movement using one of the many apps available. Engage a partner for accountability. 

Reset Time

It's essential to schedule in daily reset time. If you are not intentional about it, your brain and body will tell you when you need to do it. 

How to strategically reset every day:

  1. Learn deep breathing. 
  2. Practice gratitude. 
  3. Journal. 
  4. Use music therapy and aromatherapy. Specific music and scents stimulate our limbic system. 
  5. Laugh. Humor is one of the most neurologically important reset techniques we can apply

These are just a few reset strategies you can apply. Dr. Hanna provide a comprehensive list in "Recharge." 

Your energy is your most valuable resource. The more steps you take throughout the day to restore and protect it, the healthier and happier you will be. Good luck!

 

Published on: Jul 28, 2016
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