1. Start each day with a glass of water before caffeine
I'm not one to coffee-shame– my caffeine intake is absurd being a new father and an early riser. I try each day to start with at least 12-16 oz of water if not more. It helps to ease my morning and some days I find after a couple hours I'm actually ok without the coffee. Another warm beverage option is hot water with lemon or ginger.
2. Continuing with the theme of starting the day
I keep my phone on airplane mode starting at 9pm and keep my phone out of my bedroom to sleep. I can still hear the alarm clock as the phone is close enough to hear the alarm in the morning. This keeps me from checking it in case I or the baby wakes up in the middle of the night. First thing in the morning I'm also staying off social media for as long as possible as once I get on that train it's hard to get off. Try and get outside for a walk or have a light breathing session or stretch before getting on your phone to start the day.
3. The phone in general is highly addictive
I deal with the battle daily. Here's how I try to keep my screen-time productive. My phone lives on silent mode (no chimes or vibrating for notifications none whatsoever). I find this keeps me more relaxed and less likely to check it every 5 minutes. I'm already looking at it hundreds of times per day so if I miss a call it won't take me long to realize and it sets a precedent for those that reach out that I'm not available 24/7. I find I'm also more anxious when my phone is buzzing or chiming throughout the day. I also leave the phone behind when I go for my daily walk. It's a nice way to break the addiction and lower my weekly usage rate.
4. Take breaks to consciously breathe throughout your day
Most people think: "I breathe. Why do I need to think about it?" But how you're breathing has a direct correlation to your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels. If you find that you're holding your breath regularly or mouth breathing, this might be causing you more stress than you realize. I take breaks for 2-5 minutes in between meetings and calls without looking at a screen to breathe at a rate of 6 breath cycles per minute. This breaks down to a 5 second inhale and a 5 second exhale (all nasal).
5. Start new routines in health, exercise, or mindfulness on the weekends
I've found if I try to start a new routine Monday morning or after work it's hard to commit. Monday's are normally rough and adding pressure to build a new habit might prove challenging. I've found starting Saturday and/or Sunday morning sets up well for Monday. You've already done a nice amount of the heavy lifting. Keeping it going is often more manageable then starting new. If it is a new mindfulness practice being aware of how you're breathing is a nice starting point - then try the 5 second inhale and 5 second exhale for 5 minutes in the morning. If that feels good try it again before bed.
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