Have you ever given any serious thought about the possibility of actually improving your vitality as you launch into the new year?
As always, there is plenty talk around losing weight, working out and maybe even a lil bit of cosmetic surgery. But what about the lifestyle boost you get from boosting your overall energy level?
Maybe you never really thought about it. Or maybe you just assumed that slowing down a bit increases with age. Whatever the case may be, I’m here to tell you that you can make simple tweaks to improve your vitality so you can get busy living your best life and curating that life of your dreams.
According to the Collins dictionary: to say that someone has vitality is to say that they have great ENERGY or liveliness. Do you have great ENERGY or liveliness? Could there be more energy available to you to do the things that you want to do, not just the things that you have to do? If that’s you, then read on and let’s get stronger together.
One of the best ways to make improving your vitality a reality is to create habits that support success. For today’s discussion, think of the overall goal of “improved vitality” an achievement goal that will get crushed overtime. To start, let’s define some of the daily habits that will help us to achieve this goal.
But first, I’m going to dispel the myth that it takes 21 days to actually cement a new habit. Contrary to popular opinion it takes more than 21 or 30 days to create a new habit. According to Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London in a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Lally and her research team discovered that it actually takes 66 days, on average to form a habit. On average it takes a little over 2 months before a habit becomes an automatic behavior. It’s important to keep in mind because otherwise, you might be tempted to quit before you win and thereby, sabotage your success.
The first few weeks will require commitment, dedication and patience. There may be setbacks along the way. Don’t give up, though. Vitality and lifelong health could be your ultimate reward. The good news is that small changes over time often reap big rewards.
Let’s take a look at some habits that you can start making today to improve your vitality:
We live in a society that glorifies hyper-activity and mocks sleep. We are bombarded with social media posts that say things like: “Sleep is for the weak” or “You can sleep when you die”. When you overwork and under sleep you are putting yourself at risk for all sorts of major health issues, like: diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
According to Michael Breus, The Sleep Doctor, sleep deprivation can result in the following:
- Weight gain
- Changes to hormones that affect hunger and appetite
- Intense cravings for fat and sugar laden foods
- Less sex 🙂
- May make you look and feel older
- Decreased immune function, and more
All these factors and more lead to a decrease in your natural energy levels, i.e., energy before caffeine and sugar.
So how much quality sleep do we actually need? Studies show that the average adult needs at least 8 hours of sleep to function properly. Some maybe more and some maybe less.
Do your own experiment and take notice of your sleep health. Do you wake up tired and need a cup of caffeine to shut down your melatonin so you can start your day? Are you sluggish during the day, all the while daydreaming about a nap? Chances are, you probably need more sleep.
There are many ways to improve your sleep and thereby improve your vitality. To name a few:
- Start a regular sleep schedule, i.e., going to bed and waking around the same time daily
- Practice good sleep hygiene.
- Reset your circadian rhythms
- Invest in a new mattress
- Set the room temperature between 64 to 68 degrees
- Make sure your bedroom is dark
- Reduce blue light exposure
- Stop your caffeine consumption by 3pm
- Limit your daytime naps to 30 minutes
- Try an all natural sleep supplement
- Don’t eat too close to bedtime
- Keep an regular exercise routine
- See your doctor if you think you may have a sleep disorder
Make sleeping better a high priority this year and you will be amazed at your levels of vitality, productivity and sheer joy!
We all know that what we eat can directly affect our energy and either add or subtract to our overall vitality. No surprise there. But the purpose of this article is to show how and why eating better can directly impact your energy.
Did you know that 25 percent of our daily caloric intake is used by our brain? That’s right, this high powered organ makes up 2 percent of our body weight, yet it devours 25 percent of the nutrients we feed our bodies.
Have you ever considered the vital role our brains play in literally every function of our body? Probably not. Here’s why. We can see our abs, arms and legs. But that powerful brain of ours remains hidden from plain sight. So we don’t give it much thought.
We seldom consider how our diet affects our brain, our mental health, our mood. All of which affect our overall vitality.
When we eat better, there is a direct improvement in our brain health. When our brain health improves, not only do we think clearer, but our moods are lifted and as well as our overall energy!
It’s wise to conclude that improved brain health is a legitimate marker of overall vitality.
According to New York Times Bestseller, Genius Foods, author, Max Lugavere, these are the top foods to consume to become smarter, happier and more productive while protecting your brain for life:
- Green leafy vegetables like: kale and spinach
- Grass fed-beef (if you consume red meat)
- Dark chocolate (cacao)
- EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
With dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases on the rise, it makes sense to highly consider eating better to protect our amazing brain function and improve our overall vitality.
We all know that value of a consistent exercise routine, to jumpstart our vitality. Yet, many of us are too tired to get started, let alone be consistent. My suggestion here is to experiment until you “find your fitness”. Find some type of physical exercise that you actually enjoy. Enjoyment will lead to engagement, engagement will lead to energy and that newfound energy will lead to sheer joy.
Remember this is an experiment to craft your specific fitness routine, one you can ultimately fall in love with. That’s right, I said “fall in love with”.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Start with walking: Walking is one of the quickest and easiest ways to jump start a fitness routine. It’s also one of the most underrated. Some of the benefits of a walking routine include: increased heart and lung fitness, decreases in blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, increased muscle strength, stronger bones, better mood and outlook, increased creativity, lower blood sugar levels, improved digestion. Aim for 30 minutes a day 3 to 4 times a week, but start where are. That might mean walking around the block for 10 minutes. The more you do it, the easier it will become.
- If possible, find a buddy. Research shows that working out with a fiend has added benefits.
- Create a plan and set some goals, share those goals with an accountability partner. These should center around the activity and not the outcome. For example, I will walk 3 days a weeks for 30 minutes for the next 3 months. Not, I will lose 50 pounds from walking 3 times a week. Your focus here is establishing a new healthy habit that will improve your vitality.
- Stay hydrated. Nothing trumps a great exercise plan faster than dehydration. You could easily confuse fatigue with dehydration and thereby sabotage your efforts.
- Listen to your body. You want to strike a balance between challenging yourself with over doing it and causing an unnecessary injury. Which will, by the way set you back.
- As always, check with your healthcare professional to determine whether the routine that you’ve chosen aligns properly with your physical health.
- Last, but not least, have some FUN. Remember, why you’re establishing this new healthy routine and rejoice!
Creating a proper work-life flow is an excellent way to improve your vitality.
Before we dive in, let me explain what I mean by FLOW. FLOW, as discovered by Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a highly focused mental state, otherwise known as total engagement or engagement on steroids. It is as if time is standing still because you are so engaged in a particular activity that matches your skill level. As a result, you are not bored (because it’s too easy) nor anxious (because it’s too hard).
Side note: I have entered that state of FLOW as I write this article because I am writing, researching and giving voice to subjects that matter to me, to people who matter to me!…make sense? It’s freakin’ awesome. Flow is also known as play time for grown folk. So I’m working, yet flowing at the same time.
Flow gives rise to energy.
Instead of searching endlessly for “work-life balance” (which I believe is elusive) might I suggest that work-life flow is a more valuable proposition. The more flow you create in your work, the more happy, energetic and present you are to your family and friends. Now that’s what I call balance.
Begin to take stock of your own life and notice which “work” or “life” activities give rise to the feeling of euphoria that I’m describing. Now right inside your own life as you begin to identify these moments, try to add more flow activities and reduce the soul sucking ones.
I realize that we all must DO things that we hate, things that suck the very life blood out of us, but when you start becoming more present in your own life and begin to notice when you’re in a flow state and when you’re not, I guarantee you that you’ll become more creative in delegating some of those work/life thingies that drain you. Next, you will begin to double up on those activities that deeply engage you. The result: more flow, more happiness, more vitality.
5. De stress Better
I get it. We live in a modern society, which by definition is just more stressful. We all know the devastating effect stress can take on our physical and mental health, as well as zap us of life giving energy. May I suggest, however, a few simple strategies to de stress better so we can improve our vitality and live a much happier and productive life?
- Schedule some leisure time in your busy week: A leisure activity is a wholesome activity that you find uplifting. We’ve seemed to have forgotten this. We actually feel guilty for taking a time out. You might have to experiment here to find out what this means to you. For example, I love to watch really old mystery movies. For me it’s a leisure activity that allows me to de stress and totally relax.
- Cultivate a new hobby: Making time for creative hobbies can be a huge stress buster. According to Dictionary.com, a hobby is defined as activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation, not as a main occupation. Hobbies are not just for retirees or people who live an ultra relaxed lifestyle. As a matter of fact, the busier you are the more actually benefit from the “time out” that a new hobby can provide. One study showed that the health benefits from a physical hobby, a few times a week, can actually decrease fatigue.
Hobbies can be fun and provide the freedom you need to feel in control of your life. If you don’t know where to start, try one or two of these stress busting, vitality giving hobbies: crossword puzzles, real “old school physical puzzles, journaling, knitting or crocheting, gardening or taking care of plants, playing an instrument, learning a new language, traveling to fun locations, cooking, pottery or arts and crafts, camping, running outdoors or hiking, stamp collecting, bird watching…the list goes on….there are so many fun activities to choose from.
As you can see, there is a dynamic correlation between these 5 effective habits and improving your vitality. The awesome part is that you can start today. Use the strategy of “baby steps” to pull yourself up by using these strategies in bite sized pieces. Before you know it, you’ll feel stronger, more energized and ready to conquer the world with a new sense of vitality.
P.S. BONUS STRATEGY: Joining a community of like-minded people is a great way to incorporate these lifestyle habits with success. Click here: to find out more about the Honey Rock Life Community. We’d love to meet you!