“The only true failures are situations in which we fail to learn.”
Failure gets a bad rap. We’re raised to succeed, to be winners. Because of this, failure isn’t often associated with positivity or good vibes. But failure is one of those topics that I’m hopeful is starting to take a turn to the better.
Because, there are upsides of failure.
What are the benefits of failure? Learning, growth, and accomplishing great things, all wouldn’t be possible without risk-taking and failing.
Remember earlier this year when Eliud Kipchoge ran a marathon in less than 2 hours, proving it’s possible? Let’s not forget he attempted that feat once before – and failed (although, running a marathon at 2 hours and 30ish seconds is hardly a failure but you see my point).
A personal story, I never would have achieved my dream to run the Boston Marathon without being brave enough to fail at running a qualifier time – which I did…twice before I finally succeeded. (Anyone looking for tips to run a Boston Marathon qualifier, I have a few pieces of advice to share).
Still, let’s be real – nobody wants to fail. There are no high-fives, praise, or awards handed out for failing…or are there?
I was reading one of my PR newsletters this week and found another vote of positivity on the topic of failure and that there is, in fact, an award out there that celebrates failure.
Coca-Cola Co. was highlighted because it takes permission to fail to new levels. The company has an innovation award that celebrates projects that fail.
The Celebrate Failure Award. It’s a real thing that Coca-Cola does every year, taking the fear out of failure and instead, encouraging the out-of-the-box thinking and risk-taking behavior that often leads to greatness or innovation…or, sometimes, a complete failure.
Not only does this encourage employees to go for it and try new things, without fear, the company turns their failures into opportunities for success.
Learning from Failure
I think there’s something we all can learn from this celebration of failure. I’m not expecting everyone to welcome failure and actively seek it out. But I think this is a good reminder that we need not fear failure.
What do you think about Coca-Cola’s celebration of failure? Do you believe it’s a great idea or takes things a bit too far?
The comments are your space to share thoughts so please do so. Or, connect with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @LindsayIRL on Twitter. Subscribe to Wellness in Real Life so you get every new blog post straight to your inbox.
“December is the month to finish what you started.”
When it comes to wellness, January gets all the love.
Everyone looks at the start of the new year as the time to set goals and resolutions, make a fresh start, and finally get around to doing what they’ve been slacking on the previous 11 months.
But December is, as this blog’s kickoff quote notes, a time for goals and hard work, too – a time to finish what you started.
Get Ahead of New Year’s Resolutions
Whether you set a New Year’s Resolution or a goal mid-way through the year to do something to better yourself, now is as good a time as any to make good on it.
As I write this, it’s December 1. That means, after today, there are 30 days left in the month. That means 30 days left to do something or several things that are good for you.
Not every workout, healthy eating tip, or wellness habit is right for everyone. My goals are different than yours. That’s why I’m sharing 30 simple wellness ideas for the 30 days left in December. They’re broad enough to suit most and simple enough anyone can try a new one each day – or, hopefully, make one a regular habit that’ll stick well into 2020.
And for those who read this today, December 1, I included a special, bonus task to bring the total to 31, one for each day in December. Have a great month, friends – and stay happy, healthy, grateful, and well.
1. Drink Water
There are no downsides to drinking lots of water – and it’s free and easy, so there’s no reason not to do it. If you need help, here are three ways to drink more water.
Similar to drinking lots of water, there are few downsides to walking – and it’s free and easy, so there’s no reason not to do it (unless physical issues prevent it).
And I’m not talking social media. I’m talking something real and tangible with a positive message, one that expands your thinking, or one that teaches you something of value.
4. Give a Compliment
Recognizing someone else may brighten their day more than yours but it’s a win-win when you’re intentionally looking for positives.
5. Food Prep
Whether hard boiling a dozen eggs, cutting up fruits and veggies so they’re easy to grab, or preparing healthy, well-balanced meals for the week, dedicating time to food prep is an investment that’ll pay back big return. Need help to get started? Here are quick, easy food prep ideas.
I know why many people struggle with this one – not enough hours in the day, right? I’m here to tell you that, however you need to re-prioritize your time to get those 7ish hours, figure it out. It’s a big deal.
(exception: parents of newborns and small children, I see you, I feel for you, I’ve been you – opportunity to prioritize sleep will come.)
If you’re not a new parent, you’re making time for other healthy habits, and you’re not consuming alcohol, yet still struggling to sleep, perhaps the next tip will provide some help…
Netflix, social media, notifications, emails – all necessary in our modern world but also can be huge, pointless time sucks that, late at night, stimulate the brain and interfere with sleep. Furthermore, specific to notifications on your phone, you don’t have to have them. So try this wellness tip and realize the benefits of disabling notifications on your phone.
8. Get Fresh Air
Oh, the irony of this in December, I know. It’s cold, there’s snow, and it’s pretty much dark all the time. All the more reason to get outside and soak in the simplicity of nature. Unless it’s frigidly cold, windy, or the snow drifts are blocking your door, make time to get outside for fresh air every day.
9. So Much Stuff
Chances are, you have too much stuff. And a ton of it is stuff you don’t need. Clutter can raise anxiety and have a negative impact on wellness so try to adopt the “less is more” mentality and rid your life of excess stuff. Consider donating it for the added wellness bonus that comes from giving back.
There’s something about writing every day that I believe is good for the mind and soul. Whether a simple, daily note or full journaling effort, try writing for better wellness.
11. Be Grateful
Speaking of writing, this is one idea to begin the effort – something for which you’re grateful. Gratitude is another practice that comes with proven health benefits, so take time for intentional showings of gratitude every day.
12. Get a Coffee
A little caffeine is good – plus, if you get it with a friend, you get the added health of connection.
The saying, “Laughter is the best medicine,” exists for a reason. Both short-term and long-term benefits come from laughing. If you need a good laugh, might I suggest the episode where Ricky Gervais dances in the British edition of The Office or the airplane scene from the movie, Bridesmaids.
14. Move Intentionally
Park far away. Take the stairs. Get up and talk to your coworkers. Move your body more, intentionally, and it does add up a little bit. Here’s a recent blog of mine that talks more about the idea of moving intentionally and moving more for better health.
15. Listen to Music
Whether hard rock, folk, pop, or country, virtually any type of music can have uplifting benefits, motivate through a tough workout, or boost productivity with mundane tasks.
Yoga is an amazing way to start the day, a quick mid-day stretch helps re-energize and refocus the mind, and a little evening wind down could help with calming the mind and lead to better sleep. Any time of day, for a minute or several, give the body a good stretch.
17. Say No
Setting boundaries and better prioritize time by saying “no” occasionally is healthy. I’m also going to go all Nancy Reagan on you and put this out there for drugs, alcohol, and smoking. None of them are good for you and they affect the health and wellness of those around you, too. So just say no.
18. Talk to Someone
Texting, emails, DMs – none of them replace good old face-to-face conversation. Talking with a friend or family member and having connection brings big benefits.
19. Run a Minute
Just one minute. That’s all. And if it feels good, do it for one more minute…and maybe another.
20. Give Grace
Everyone messes up. Everyone has bad days. And, most of the time, people don’t have outright bad intentions with their actions. Whether a coworker pissed you off or your child throws a tantrum, give them a little grace and you’ll feel better, too.
21. Say Thank You
More than just in a way to show gratitude, thank you can be better swapped for one overused phrase. We have a tendency to say, “I’m sorry,” too much; often for things we have no reason to be sorry. Instead of the default response, try instead thanking someone. Instead of, “I’m sorry I was late,” try, “Thank you for being patient.”
22. Be On Time
Piggybacking on that last one, being late leads to anxiety and stress – unless you’re one of those people who runs on their own schedule and doesn’t give AF about others’ time. So, assuming you do care, take time to plan ahead better, allow more time, and be intentional so you’re on time rather than frantically running late.
Would you believe there are health benefits to smiling? It’s true, from releasing endorphins to lowering blood pressure, the simple act of smiling more is an easy way to be well.
24. Lift Weights
Strong bodies bring a ton of health benefits – and for those who fear muscle bulk, it’s not going to happen. People who have big muscles work incredibly hard for that, in the gym and in the kitchen. No one’s getting big muscles with a day or two of weight lifting so give it a go.
25. Slow Down
Step back, take a breath, refocus energy, or simply just be for a few moments. Sometimes, slowing down is actually a strategy for productivity and getting more done. And, in my case, this advice can and should extend to driving…
26. Be Inclusive
Connections matter. And there’s also benefits that come from making others feel good. Including others feeds positivity, while excluding breeds negativity. Be the reason someone doesn’t feel left out or like they don’t belong, and it’ll make you feel better, too.
This also extends to eating – here’s why to include lots of food in your daily diet.
27. Try Something New
Going outside the comfort zone is how we grow, experience new thrills, and do great things. Sometimes, going out on a limb might bring failure – and, remember, it’s okay to fail. Permission to fail is granted, just learn from it.
28. Pet a Dog
I get it, not everyone loves dogs. Actually, I don’t get it. Dogs are the best. Petting dogs is a wonderful, happy act. And it’s good for health. Trust me, I Googled it 🙂
29. Be Kind
Whether to someone else or yourself, kindness brings wellness. Again, be the source of positivity and uplifting to others, not negativity and bringing down others.
With so many actions to take and things to do, remember that not doing something is one of the best ways to wellness. Whether planning to take a rest day from working out or simply taking time to relax instead of clean the house, run the errand, cook the meal, etc., rest does wonders for the body and mind.
And for those who want to spend all 31 days of the month working towards wellness, I have one more bonus idea for you:
31. Eat a Reese’s
I mean, if eating Reese’s doesn’t make you feel better, I don’t know what will. Preferably, the holiday Christmas tree Reese’s because they’re just better than any other type – but any Reese’s will do.
I wish you a great December!
What other simple wellness tips can you add to the list, for the next 30 days? The comments are your space to share thoughts or ask questions so please do so.
“You can’t have Thanksgiving without turkey. That’s like Fourth of July without apple pie or Friday with no two pizzas.”
Joey Tribbiani always had wise words when it came to food. While I don’t eat turkey, I respect his knowledge and I chose this quote for my annual Thanksgiving eating and exercise blog because it’s fitting for what I’d like to share.
As we head into the holiday that’s quite literally all about eating a lot and being grateful for the ability to do so, I have two key reminders:
Food Isn’t Bad and Exercise Isn’t Punishment
Reminder #1 – Food isn’t bad. Please don’t think eating is bad. You’re not bad for eating.
Reminder #2 – Exercise isn’t punishment. Please don’t feel the need to exercise to punish yourself for eating. You don’t punish yourself for eating.
Eat All the Food
Let’s all ignore the eating-to-exercise equations. You know, the posts people always share on social media, scolding you about how many miles you need to walk or burpees you need to do to “cancel out” the pumpkin pie and stuffing you ate. People will certainly share them now and forever, but that’s their problem, not yours.
If you want turkey and mashed potatoes and corn and fudge and bread – have it. Food isn’t bad and you’re not bad for eating food. Exercise isn’t punishment and you don’t need to punish yourself with exercise.
So those of you wondering how to eat well on Thanksgiving? You can read my blog from two years ago but I’m still going to give the same advice: Eat all the food. Enjoy it. Savor it. Eat it all. Stop when you’re full – or, when you think you can’t possibly eat another bit, channel your inner Joey Tribbiani and go for that piece of pumpkin pie. Then get back on track to stay true to your wellness goals.
I’ll leave you with one more reminder why food is good for you, it’s not bad for you (fun fact, there’s another Friends reference in that post). Happy Thanksgiving!
How do you feel about exercise-to-calorie charts? Do you feel compelled to burn off calories when you eat more than normal? Or are you okay with a day of indulgence here and there?
The comments are yours so please leave one. Or share with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @LindsayIRL on Twitter. Subscribe to Wellness In Real Life so you get every new blog post right to your inbox.
“I hate Daylight Saving Time.”
I mean, does anyone really like Daylight Saving Time? I know there are a few out there but the vast majority of people aren’t fans.
DST aside – and for those of you in Arizona – this time of year is tough because there’s just naturally less daylight. That Vitamin D really does do the body and mind good.
We have two choices: We can complain about something we can’t control. Or we can shift our mindset to what we can control. And that’s ourselves.
There are a few simple things everyone can do to up energy as daylight dwindles. There are ways to keep your mind and body healthy and positive with a bit of effort.
Here are five ways I’ve found that help with keeping energy, happiness, and positivity high when daylight can have us feeling low.
1. Eat Breakfast
It’s called the most important meal of the day for a reason and there’s a lot of truth in that age-old statement. Starting the day with a good breakfast is important to set the tone for a healthy body and mind.
Why is skipping breakfast bad? Everyone is different and some swear by it but, for most, the absence of food is a sure fire way to feel sluggish and lacking energy. Food itself is energy – it’s meant to fuel the body and mind to do whatever the day brings.
Not all breakfast is created equal. The right foods are key to keeping energy levels high, especially during these days when it’s often still dark when we head out for the day. Quality carbs and protein are great choices so, for breakfast, this could be a Greek yogurt, oatmeal with banana, or whole grain toast with peanut butter.
Although it sounds counter-intuitive, lack of energy is often remedied by exercise – and lack of exercise often leads to low energy. From low-impact activities like walking and yoga to more intense workouts like HIIT and running, any form of exercise does wonders for energy, positivity, and overall wellness.
Whether an early morning workout to set the tone for the day, the benefits of a midday workout (oh, I love a good runch!), or an evening workout to get through the last parts of the day with a happier outlook, the best time to exercise is whenever it best fits into your day.
3. Drink Water
No matter the problem, water is usually an answer. Whether sluggish or cranky, sick or feeling low, water can make us feel better in many different ways.
It’s proven to boost energy levels, crucial when dwindling daylight tends to zap all we have before the day is even close to done. It can boost metabolism, also beneficial when fatigue and sluggishness can lead to skipped workouts and poor food choices.
There are also scientific health benefits of drinking water like improved brain function and a happy colon and kidneys, all of which can lead to better moods and more energy.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it forever – there’s really no downside to drinking a lot of water. It’s free and easy and good for you – so do it. Bonus: here are three easy ways to drink more water.
4. Get Outside
There are Vitamin D supplements and light boxes and probably a zillion other things designed to replace lacking sunlight. But there’s no substitute for actually going outside.
Even if it’s not sunny, the simple act of getting out and taking in a few moments of fresh air and nature are enough to put a little pep back in anyone’s step.
This time of year, it’s easy to hunker down and hibernate. Instead, layer up (if needed) and make the effort to get out a few times during the day.
5. Make Time for Mindfulness
Even though fatigue is almost always felt physically, don’t discount the mental fatigue that can weigh you down, especially this time of year. When the mind is cluttered and unfocused, feelings of stress, unhappiness, and exhaustion are often close behind.
Make time, multiple times during the day, to be more mindful. Take a moment to refocus your thoughts and be present. How can we be more mindful every day? It takes work and practice. There are plenty of simple ways to be mindful – and a few tactics that detract from it.
Don’t multitask. Don’t check your phone and email constantly. Don’t overschedule yourself to the point you leave no time to think or be creative.
Do take a brief pause every so often to check in with yourself. Do give yourself a few seconds here and there throughout the day to just be. Do take advantage of downtime, like waiting in line or rebooting your computer, to notice your breath, be calm, and get perspective.
Those are just five simple ways to deal with Daylight Saving Time and dwindling daylight.
What do you do to deal with the lower energy and sluggishness that often accompanies this time of year? Any of these tips or do you have others to share? The comments are for you so please leave one.
“Just say no.”
How often do you do things you really don’t want to do? Before we get too far, I’m not talking about grocery shopping, cleaning up after your pet, or filling out expense reports at work. There are some things we have to do as part of our role as functioning adults.
I mean how often do you agree to do things that you don’t really have to do, things to which you could simply say no?
Whether joining a committee, planning a birthday party for your child, or doing workplace tasks that shouldn’t fall on your plate, how often do you say “yes” to things when you’d really rather say no?
I’ve recently seen a couple posts on social media that have made me want to write about this topic – the first, what I believe is a big part of the problem, the second, what I believe is a big part of the solution.
I’ve hesitated to write about this because I know it could come off as negative, unsupportive, or judgmental. But if you go into it with an open mind, I hope you’ll see this for what it is.
And those of you non-parents, please stick with me and read on, there’s a good takeaway in here for you, too.
#1 You’re In Control
I recently saw a long rant posted on social from a, presumably, exhausted, frustrated mother. It detailed all the expectations on mothers with a light dose of sarcasm and bitching about her (and all mothers’) unfair situation. The frustrations that we “have” to behave a certain way, parent our kids a certain way, and make time for everything when there’s no time for anything.
The first instinct upon seeing these posts, at least I believe, is to sympathize, even give it a “preach!” response. And I get why, especially for mothers. Motherhood is hard. Sometimes, it does seem unfair. But this type of post bothers me and here’s why.
I hate to be the bearer of reasonable news and piss off half the population with a dose of sensibility – but these kinds of rants remove the idea that we’re in control of our situations. They make it acceptable to place blame on someone or something else when, the reality is, the situations in which we find ourselves are largely due to our own choices.
That’s right, choices. We all have the wonderful privilege to make choices.
But Do You Have To…Really?
There are certain things you have to do. Then there are others you maybe feel like you have to do. I’ll set it straight with a few examples:
You don’t have to volunteer for a committee or fundraiser.
You don’t have to cook perfect meals every single time.
You don’t have to respond to every email, text, and phone call immediately.
You don’t have to look wonderfully put together all the time.
You don’t have to do things for the sole reason of having perfect photos to post on social media.
I don’t know your situation. I really don’t. So I get it if some days you’re stressed and tired for one thing or another. Being a parent is hard. But it shouldn’t be so hard. Life shouldn’t be so hard that we stop enjoying it and feel the need to complain about it.
You Choose What To Do – And What Not To Do
Again, I don’t know you, your situation, or why you’re in this broken place you’re in. But what I do know is that you don’t have to do any of those things I just mentioned – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Last year, I could have felt bad about not dressing up my 6-month-old son in a Halloween costume. But I didn’t. It wasn’t something I wanted to do so I decided to skip the stress of finding him the perfect costume. And guess what? He still looked adorable and had a fun Halloween.
You may feel like your inbox is constantly blowing up, you need to see what’s going on with every single social notification on your phone. But you don’t. Here’s why to shut off notifications and don’t worry about it so much – it’s something I do and it works for me.
And for those of you who work, you may feel like you have to overwork yourself to get a promotion. I’m not sure when it became not okay to be happy with your job and simply want to do it well but I’m here to tell you – man or woman – just because you’re not clamoring to be a vice president, a director, or a manager, doesn’t mean you can’t have a challenging, fulfilling career. I’m none of those things and I love my job. Bonus, I’m not working or worrying about work all the time.
My point in all this isn’t to judge other people and parents for their choices. Trust me, I’m a first-time parent and a working mom, and I’m on your side. Feed your baby formula, let him cry it out, and please don’t worry if she throws a tantrum in the middle of the cereal aisle. I’ve got your back and you’re doing a great job.
My point is to remind everyone, parents and non-parents, that nobody needs to be perfect. No one needs to do all the things. No one needs to be “shoulding” all over him/herself. No one needs to stress out to a breaking point just to appear to have it all together. And if that means setting boundaries and saying no to things, do it.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and to vent frustrations from time to time. It’s not okay to blame society, unfair expectations, and other people for a situation that’s a result of your own choices.
I think, too we can all be better in doing our part to create a world in which no one feels like they have to or should do it all. Maybe take some of the pressure off everyone feeling like they need to do it all. Let’s give each other – and ourselves – permission to not do it all. Permission to say NO.
It’s great timing that it’s November, because what a perfect time to work on saying No. I mean, it’s in the name – NOvember!
This idea also came from another social media post I saw, I’m pretty sure it was shared by my friend, fitness expert, and all-around awesome woman, Mariah Prussia. The concept of NO-vember is a reminder that it’s healthy to say no to things that you don’t want to make time for or don’t bring you joy.
Let’s extend it to just saying no as a healthy way to set boundaries, give yourself a break, help keep you sane, and make it more realistic to prioritize time for the things you really want and need to do. And do it without the guilt.
It’s Okay to Say No
When you say no to something you don’t want to do, you’re saying yes to other things that bring happiness or improve your wellness. If you’d rather not spend an hour shopping for the latest, trendy boots or responding to emails that can wait, but you would like an hour to sleep more, exercise, or read a book (but, you know, you “don’t have time” for those) consider how you’re choosing to spend your time.
I think there’s a misconception that setting boundaries, declining to participate in certain activities, and saying no are signs of being difficult when, actually, they’re all very healthy practices and good for time prioritization.
So if you don’t want to spend your time planning a Pinterest-worthy birthday party, securing donations for a charity auction, or packing perfect lunches, just say no. Or, if you do want to do all those things, by all means, do them. Just don’t bitch about how society tells you that you have to do all these things.
Okay, time for your thoughts. What do you think about NO-vember and beyond, giving yourself permission to set boundaries and just say no? The comments are yours so please leave one.
“Running saved my life.”
It was the perfect morning for a local 5k run. Chilly weather. A running buddy. And an aid station with water and donuts…wait, what? Yep, that’s right. Please read on.
Last weekend, I ran my first 5k since I was 2 months postpartum – almost a year and a half ago. My friend, Emily, recently took up running (yay!) and this was our first opportunity to run together. We played softball together, we snowboard together, and now we can run together.
My half marathon pacing season came to a close last Saturday but there’s nothing I enjoy more than a Saturday morning race, so I was super excited for the Sandy’s Donut Run, a laid-back, zero-pressure run with one of my besties.
On a related side note, it was the first really brisk race day I’ve experienced and reminded me about the best winter running gear must-haves – read that blog to learn what gear you need to keep running outside now that winter is upon us.
Let’s go back to the donuts. Yes, this annual race is sponsored by the best donut shop in America, Fargo’s original Sandy’s Donuts. We runners got donuts, not only at the finish line, but midway through the race at the aid station. I provide to myself I could indeed run while eating a donut. #winning
But the real joy I got from this run was it reminded me how fun it is to run 5ks. Also, that they’re such a great way to get people involved in something healthy and find their love for running.
Couch to 5k
There’s a reason why couch to 5k programs are so popular. Running is one of those sports where it can be hard to start from scratch – but once a person gets going, little by little, they keep going.
Plus, I believe running encourages more healthy habits like making better food choices, drinking more water, and being more mindful, and leads to better overall wellness like reduced stress and lower resting heart rate.
Running is also addictive – but, for the most part, I mean that in a good way.
Addicted to Running
There’s something about running, I’m not exactly sure what it is, but it’s easy to get hooked on it. The whole runner’s high is real, then there’s something to the idea, especially starting out, of, “I ran 10 minutes straight yesterday…maybe today I can go 12.” And it just seems to snowball from there.
Now, this can be bad, it easily can spiral out of control. I admit, when I first started getting really into running, my addiction bordered on bad. I chose running over most else. I felt anxious and awful if I didn’t run. I craved the stress relief, that badassery feeling, and feared I gain back my lost poundage if I missed a day.
But I’ve learned to manage it now and, for the most part, it’s a good kind of addiction. I think most runners find their proper cadence (no pun intended) and balance for it to be part of their lives, not take over their lives.
And, especially for people in a similar boat as me with addictive personalities who are former bad addicts – drug addicts, food addicts, smokers, you name it – running or exercise in general can be a positive, new addiction to replace dangerous ones.
5ks – the Gateway Drug…to Wellness
Speaking of addiction, have you ever heard that marijuana is a gateway drug? If you’ve seen Half Baked or recall high school health class, that’s probably not news. The theory is a person who has never touched drugs may experiment with them after they try weed. Apparently, once someone tokes up, it opens the door to other drugs.
Running was my gateway drug to wellness. It pulled me away from unhealthy addictions, behaviors, and habits, and instead lead me down a path of healthy addictions, behaviors, and habits. It sounds cheesy but running kind of saved my life. So it makes me really happy when I see others, like Emily, finding their love and passion for it as well.
Was running a “gateway drug” to your healthy lifestyle? Did going couch to 5k – and beyond – change your life for the better? The comments are all yours so I’d love to read your story.
“Here comes the sun.”
Tired. Overworked. Stretched too thin.
It’s true, most people are stressed. Between not having enough time to do everything we feel we need to do, to the everyday pressures of work, school, family, and all of it, we’re all on that struggle bus from time to time.
But what if you could minimize your time on the bus – or, best of all, make sure things don’t get to the point where you’re not just on the bus, you’re driving it.
Establish a Morning Routine
One of the best ways to have good, focused days is with a good, focused morning routine. I’ve found that when my morning routine is on, my day is better than when I begin with a scattered, hectic day.
So what does a good morning routine look like? That link shares more about mine, pretty simple stuff. It’s different for everyone and it can be anything that works best for you. I have five ideas that will give you a starting point, things that have worked well for me as part of my morning routine that I hope will work well for you.
There’s one caveat to this: Try to create a morning routine that doesn’t involve checking your phone. I’m not saying you can’t look at your phone in the morning, just try to keep it separate from this special time that’s just yours.
Here are five ideas for how you can create a morning routine that’ll set up the best days. And, keep in mind, a habit doesn’t have to be a go-big-or-go-home effort. There are plenty of small changes for better health that everyone can make and the morning routine is no exception. Each idea includes a “go big” or “go small” option to help you see how it could work for you.
I truly believe eating breakfast is among the best ways to set up a good day. Eating breakfast fuels the body and the mind for work, taking care of littles, school, or whatever your day brings.
Also, I personally find coffee to be a magical way to wake up and important part of my daily breakfast – highly recommend at least one cup of joe to start each day.
A “big” breakfast doesn’t mean eggs, bacon, French toast, and juice. When I think of Go Big on breakfast, I mean taking the time for something that needs to be prepared like oatmeal, toast with peanut butter and sliced banana, or a smoothie.
A quick breakfast can be a banana, a protein bar, a can of V8 juice – anything you can eat quickly and with no prep. Just take the time to sit down and eat it, not scarf it down in the car. Just drive while you’re in the car.
Writing down your thoughts is an opportunity to get to know yourself better, remind yourself of important things, prioritize, really anything. For more on this topic, here’s how to start a journal, based on my effort earlier this year.
A journal entry can be your aspiration statement for the day. It can include a detailed list of to-dos, priorities, and something specific about how you want to show up for the challenges and choices you’ll be presented with that day. I, for example, have a different journal entry for each day of the week, in addition to my workout journal.
A journal entry doesn’t have to be a long, detailed account of the day. A sentence or a quote are great ideas for a positive, mindful way to begin the day.
There’s something incredibly powerful about the practice of gratitude. That fight you had with a coworker, a full inbox, or a sassy toddler – it’s amazing how those things can become so minor when recognizing what really matters in life.
On a related note to my last point, if you’re looking for an idea to jumpstart daily jounaling, gratitude is a great place to begin.
A complex gratitude practice can include more than just a conscious effort to think of or write down things for which you’re grateful; it can also include a follow-up plan of how you’ll “pay it forward” so to speak, perhaps going out of your way to thank a friend for being there for you or proactively complimenting a coworker because you’re grateful to work with him or her.
A simple gratitude practice can be recognizing just one thing for which you’re grateful in that moment. I do this every morning while drinking my first cup of coffee.
Back to all those stressers like constant emails, overscheduled kid’s activities, and trying to plan dinner, our minds are far too overloaded to really be at their most thoughtful, productive, and smart. Clearing the mind and taking time to just be is a great way to unclutter and refocus for the true priorities in each day.
A large mindfulness effort can be a full five or so minutes of distraction-free, focus. It can be meditation, yoga, or very slowed-down, intentional thought.
A simple mindfulness tactic is taking a few deep belly breaths before eating breakfast or sipping coffee, a moment to be calm and just be for a moment. Bonus, deep breathing before eating can aid in digestion.
I saved the best for last. Probably the most obvious and most difficult morning habit, exercise is also one of the best ways to begin a day. If you need a little boost, check out this old blog with tips for how to exercise in the morning.
Exercise can be as intense as a long run or heavy weightlifting sesh at the gym.
Exercise can be as simple as a 10-minute yoga routine or walk.
There they are – five of my best ideas for creating a healthy morning routine. What are yours?
Do you have a morning routine that creates great days? What are your favorite things to do each morning as part of a healthy routine? The comments are all yours so please share.
“Turn it around.”
I recently shared a couple of photos on Instagram and Twitter, pics of my son and me out on a run, playing at the park, and enjoying donuts. It may appear we were sharing some fun mother and son moments, which we were, but there was more to the story.
Survive A Tough Morning Or…
Earlier that morning was one of “those” mornings. You know, where I was close to losing my shit. My child was being difficult and whiny and I was running out of ideas to distract or redirect him. And it was only 9:00.
My son is a very energetic child. Since the early days, he’s been restless, the opposite of a chill baby. He’s rarely content for more than 60 seconds and he’s a gigantic mama’s boy.
Add it all up and sometimes, this combo creates a perfect avenue for mom to lose her shit.
Out of ideas, I decided we’d layer up, go for a run, then stop at the park on our way home as we usually do. Abel loves being in the stroller and he loves the park, while I felt I could find some peace and stress relief in a run.
The only catch was, I had just run a half marathon the day before. And I’ve been dealing with an Achilles and mild plantar fasciitis issue so a run was the last activity I landed on.
You know, desperate times call for desperate measures. Also, running and having a good day tend to have a lot in common.
…Make It a Great Day
What ended up happening was one of the more fun outings Abel and I have had in awhile. About 2.5 miles in, we ran past a neighboring park and he started waving and excitedly chatting.
He can’t speak in sentences yet but I picked up what he was putting down. “Mom, let’s stop to play at this park.”
I stopped, Abel played, I stretched, and he burned some energy.
Then I noticed we were about half a mile away from Sandy’s donuts, the super awesome Fargo donut shop that had recently opened a location near our house. I’d been wanting to take him there so we made our next pit stop and he enjoyed a couple bites of his first-ever donut.
As we were running back home, my watch hit 4 miles and I realized we were still about half a mile from home. I thought, why not detour to make it an even five, then hit our usual park near our house.
We stopped, polished off our donuts, Abel played more, I stretched more, then we trekked back home.
He was calmer and happier the rest of the morning, and the run felt awesome for me. No stiffness, no soreness, just light and fast. Probably a good thing I waited to eat my donut until our last pit stop, less than a quarter mile from home.
Choose To Be Happy
What could have been a draining, forgettable morning quickly became the opposite. What could have been me zoning out and focusing on time and distance quickly became less about the run and more about seizing moments.
Great moments often don’t happen by accident, they’re a result of choices. Also, can’t share this reminder enough: life is always more that how it appears on social media. There’s always more to a story than a picture or a post tells.
The next time you have a tough day, fight the urge to “just get through it” and think instead about how you could proactively turn it around. Maybe it involves exercise. Maybe it involves play. Hell, maybe the secret is donuts. Pretty sure Sandy’s donuts could solve any issue.
I’ll leave you with one more blog for some positivity and inspiration.
As always, the comments are all yours so feel free to share a thought on this topic. Connect with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @LindsayIRL on Twitter, or subscribe to this blog so you get every week’s story sent straight to your inbox.
“I don’t know where the limits are but I would like to go there.”
I interrupt this week’s regularly-scheduled blog with an announcement: A human being is capable of running a sub-2 hour marathon.
There’s little to zero chance you heard it first here. News of Eliud Kipchoge breaking the 2-hour marathon barrier has been THE buzz since it happened on Saturday, October 12 in Vienna. I woke up to a text from my husband (he hits the gym at 6 a.m. on Saturday mornings while I sleep in until the baby is up) that read, “A guy just did the first sub 2 marathon today.”
Eliud Kipchoge – Not A Guy, The GOAT
A guy. Oh, gotta love that part from my athlete, yet non-runner husband.
Eliud Kipchoge isn’t just a guy. He’s a world record-holding runner who finishes marathons full of smiles and full of joy. He’s a guy who cares about others. He’s an accomplished and amazing distance runner. He really is the greatest of all time.
After failing at his first attempt to go sub-2, Eliud and his team made the feat a reality. He ran 26.2 miles at an average pace of 4:33. A 4:33 min/mile…for 26.2 miles. Let that sink in for a moment.
Naturally, as with anything in our modern world, the critics were out in full-force, from before Eliud began his race and after he achieved the goal. Because this run was controlled, with a team of pacers and a closed course (it wasn’t during a public marathon), apparently the feat wasn’t so impressive to everyone.
It was a huge deal, something everyone should care about, and for so many reasons other than the obvious.
Before I go on, here’s a fun fact: Eliud holds the marathon record of 2:01:39. So, haters, the dude’s still fucking fast in a non-controlled, “official” racing environment.
Achieving for All
What I applaud from Eliud is, this wasn’t about him achieving a goal. It wasn’t about a selfish glory boost. It was about showing what the human mind and human body are capable of, that there are no limits to what can be achieved. The point was to prove something great can be done.
Eliud himself said that he fully expects more people all over the world to run sub-2 hour marathons now. And I expect he’s the kind of guy who’d be there to pace or cheer them to it.
This feat and Eliud is a reminder that no one achieves anything alone. Especially in the running world, an individual sport, runners often rely on one another to achieve goals. Meb Keflezighi credited fellow runners for their work pacing and helping him to his Boston Marathon win in 2014. Des Linden famously offered to help Shalane Flanagen win Boston in 2018, then went on to get the W herself.
Lessons for All
Even if you’re not a runner, even if you’re not an athlete, even if you’re not someone who gets inspired by feats of human capability – you should care about this.
Eliud’s performance reminds us that a failed attempt at something doesn’t mean it’s not worth learning from and trying again. It reminds us that support and cheerleaders are a huge piece of achieving a goal. It proves that hard work and determination are admirable qualities, and they pay off. I think we can all take away a lot from what Eliud – and his team and his supporters – accomplished.
I’m also pretty impressed by the mental load Eliud carried throughout this process. All eyes were on him. Everyone wanted him to succeed. Part of me thinks everyone expected him to succeed. That’s pretty heavy. Yet, as I’ve read the story and watched the videos, he seemed calm and focused. I think we can all learn a lesson in staying focused amidst intense pressure.
Most of all, it’s pretty incredible to know that a human being is capable of something previously unattainable. Eliud’s quote of, “No human is limited,” brings chills. Imagine what you might be capable of that, today, you think isn’t possible. Maybe it’s something you’re willing to work hard for, fail, work hard again, then try again.
What’s your reaction to Eliud Kipchoge running a sub-2 hour marathon? The comments are all yours so please share.
Another month has come and gone so it’s time for more #wednesdaywisdom. This is wellness, health, and fitness advice in a quick, easy-to-digest format, designed to give you maximum energy and inspiration.
Think of it as eggs with avocado…only with words.
Because it’s October, this month’s wellness focus is about fear – but don’t be scared, I’m talking about overcoming it.
1. Behind the Scenes Running 26.2 Miles – Part 1: What to Expect
Ready to run a marathon? Broken down from the start line to the finish, and all the miles in between, here’s what to expect training for a marathon.
2. Staying Strong and Running Outside
It has been more than a year but we still remember Mollie Tibbets and what she reminds us about the joy of running outside.
3. The Value, Power, and Importance of Failure
Nobody wants to fail. But failure can be a good thing. Here’s my personal story of failure – more than time actually – that turned into victory.
Do you have questions or topics I can address with a #wednesdaywisdom blog or in a new, full blog? The comments are all yours to ask questions, share ideas, or, you know, just leave a comment – so do it, please!