Morning Routines for a Healthy Lifestyle
Want to Live a Happy, Pain-Free Lifestyle? It starts every morning
Every morning, when I wake up, I try to do something to turn my daily life into a healthy life. There are certain things I do that I occasionally muck up and when I muck them up, I notice it in how my body feels, and how I feel about the space I inhabit.
The first thing I do to ensure a healthy morning happens the night before. I go to bed before 10:00 pm. I try to be in bed by 9:30, actually. I lay down and close my eyes, and even if I am not "tired", the habit takes over and I drift off to sleep.
The second thing I do to ensure a healthy morning happens after I wake up. I drink a glass of water, whether I need it or not.
After this, I go for a little jog, or a walk if I'm feeling lazy. Doesn't have to be a long one. I have a treadmill so I can keep an eye on my kids while I'm getting my little workout done, but if the weather's nice I'll drag my kids out with me in the morning for a walk. Generally a mile or two is all I need to get my body worked out.
My wife likes to do yoga in the morning, and when I'm stiff, I might be convinced to join her. The kids tend to do yoga with mom, as best they can. The oldest one is seven, so you can imagine it's not exactly peaceful and serene...
The juice comes next. I believe in Jack Lalane. He lived with high mobility and high quality of life into his nineties, without lots of chronic pain. We juice together, and clean up immediately. Juicers are a mess. The kids like carrots and strawberries the best and generally avoid things like wheat grass and spinach greens. Too bad, I say. Drink your juice.
After this, coffee. Breakfast. A hot, cooked breakfast. Generally oatmeal or porridge, with little sugar and lots of healthy grains. Blueberries and other fresh fruits are fantastic. A little ground up flaxseed on top, too. Of course, as this should take about ten to fifteen minutes to cook, I've got time, while it is cooking to do a little household chore or two while the stuff is bubbling on the stove.
Laundry or bathroom or vacuum: While breakfast is cooking, I hurry to wipe down a bathroom, move some laundry around, fold some clothes, and run a vacuum in high-traffic areas, if possible. I've got a few minutes, and staring at the oatmeal doesn't cook it any faster. Sure, sometimes I risk a little extra cooking on the bottom of the pan, but a crispy bottom is a small price to pay for a neater house, and it's easy enough to clean off later on, anyway.
We eat breakfast as a family. We do not allow television at the table, but books are okay.
After this, showers for everyone! My wife and I generally take turns supervising the cleaning and dressing of children while the other spouse does the breakfast dishes. Generally, the dish-scrubber gets done first, and gets into the shower. After the children are ready to go, the child-scrubber gets to hop into the loo and steal a shower.
What exactly do we do that works?
A set bed time: By forcing myself into a regular bed-time, I have created a routine that my body can work with, and I have set myself up with the habit of rested sleep.
Drink water right away: The body wakes up with thirst-pangs that are often mistaken for hunger pangs.
Boxers have done this for years, running before breakfast to boost their metabolism before they eat. By running right away, or even just walking, I'm setting my metabolism up for success. You don't run a marathon, just a mile or two. And, you drink water before you do it.
Juicing: Jack Lalane was living proof of the success of juicing, leading a long, active life without chronic pain. Medical professionals agree with his prognosis: juice daily for a healthy lifestyle. Here are three tips to get the most out of your power juicer.
Cleaning something: Mindful meditation practice has talked about this for centuries, a healthy mind is well-served by a clean, clutter-free living space. Clearing out the mess in your living space helps you clear out the mess in your mind, and prevents the stress that comes from a messy living space.
Eating a healthy, hot breakfast: Preparing your own food instead of relying on pre-packaged, pre-made cereals and "nutrition bars" (which are no better than candy bars when you read the label...) protects my family from the dangers of the modern food climate in America, that is causing massive obesity in our communities. It's terrifying to consider a future where obesity is the norm, and the chronic, painful health problems that come with it are accepted as the status quo for most people.
Cleaning the dishes before leaving breakfast: Nothing attracts bugs like rich, delicious oatmeal left sitting in the sink for hours. Cleaning up right away helps prevent the inevitable invasion of vermin that would like very much, thank you, to cause illness and ill-health with their fecal matter in my home. No, thank you, vermin. It also protects us from the stress that comes from a messy house. Cleaning up as we go is something we can do to protect our sanity with three young children. Our housecleaning isn't perfect, but there's no reason to make it worse by being lazy with dishes. Imagine cooking for five with a sink you can't use, in a kitchen that's starting to smell like rotting food. Not good. Clean as you go, I say.
No Morning is Perfect
This sounds ideal, doesn't it? The perfect morning, every morning. Well, I have kids, so as every parent knows this just doesn't happen every morning. Some mornings, I get to clean massive spills that take half-an-hour and a whole bottle of carpet cleaner to coax out of the living room floor. Some mornings, I get to spend quite a long time, indeed, convincing one of the younger kids to put on pants before leaving the house. Many mornings, the kids wake up before we do, and they decide it's a great morning to make us coffee, and they don't really know how to make coffee, so it tends to overflow and burn and smell awful and there goes the time to jog.
The important thing, I think, is that we have a goal, and that we aim for that goal, and that even when it isn't perfect, as it rarely is, we do our best to maintain our ideal morning and return to it as soon as possible and also to stick to the spirit of the law in our morning. We want to make sure the family gets a little exercise, eats a healthy breakfast, and doesn't leave a mess in the house. Simple, right?
If only it were...