Advice From A Life Coach: Bookend Your Days

by Meghan Sylvester
Taylor Magazine Minimalist guide to life

Ready for change? This one simple step will seal the deal.

There is a lot we are supposed to think about. There is a lot we are supposed to do, say, be, live up to. There is just a lot. But it is this notion of ?supposed to? that gets us into trouble. The fact that we are doing things because we are supposed to rather than the fact that we want to is the ultimate paradox when it comes to constructing your health and wellness goals.

Do you want to be healthy for reasons of your own? Or do you want to lose 10 pounds so you can look better for other people? Do you want to be healthy so that you can find that vitality and energy to help you achieve your dreams, or are you reducing your caloric intake because your doctor told you so? What is your motivation? Take some time to think about the reasons you want to embark on a wellness journey (or strengthen the one you are already on).

I challenge you to find the reason that resonates at your heart center. Find your WHY. Why do YOU want to become a healthier happier version of the reflection you see in the mirror? Once you find that why you can start to build goals for yourself, always going back to your why.

As a health coach, the thought of a one-sized fits all wellness approach makes me cringe. We all need different forms of healing – healing from an addiction to sugar, healing from a sedentary lifestyle, healing from a lack of self-love. And we all need goals that resonate with our own unique ultimate vision of health. Health and wellness is not purely the absence of disease or illness, but a balanced, optimally functioning, harmonious relationship between the physical body, mind and soul. With this principle in mind, we can continue to grow and travel down our path to wellness. The journey does not just end once you are disease free, or once you have been cured of a particular symptom. The process continues and flows.

As with all endeavors, tools, structure and customization increase your chance of success. The journey to wellness is no exception. Blindly throwing yourself into the mix can become overwhelming thus leading to surrender. Surrender to the donut, surrender to the stress, surrender to the sedentary day. Throwing in the towel early on in the wellness journey happens. It happens because of lack of support, a lack of truly understanding your why, or simply because the old way of life was just way easier to go back to. I would like to present to you a strategy that has greatly contributed to my overall health. And the best part?it is easy. The only tool you need is commitment.

Bookend your day.

Sandwich your why with rituals that become the bedrock of support you need to go about your day. Create and cultivate rituals that stimulate and encourage your expression of health – mind, body and soul. Create morning and evening routines that give you the support and motivation you need to manage the goals you are working toward. Give your mornings and evenings special treatment, beginning and ending your day with the intention of self-care. This includes making sure you create the perfect environment in which to get a great night’s sleep. Take a look at the best mattress of 2020 as a starting point, as comfort is key, and think about the kind of lighting and temperature that makes you feel relaxed. Will power is not endless and decision fatigue happens.

By creating stimulating morning experiences that turn into habit, you are reserving brain power that can be used throughout the day rather than first thing in the morning. An evening ritual can become the conduit you need for reflection and self-growth. You know that expression, never go to bed angry?let us flip that on its head and say, go to bed comforted. Create a ritual that will bring you peace, solace and tranquility. End your day by provoking thought, by provoking reflection, garnering clarity and lessons learned. Create a ritual for your evening that inspires you for your day ahead.

Commit to your bookends. Make time.

Take a peek at the bookends I have created for myself. This is what works for me. Perhaps you will find a practice or two that resonates with you.

Morning Ritual

– Wake up an hour earlier than the rest of the household. One hour earlier than I normally would to be at work on time. I suggest easing into this. Start waking up just 15 minutes earlier, then 30, then the full hour.

Give thanks. Before I even open my eyes, I give thanks for whatever is on my mind. Even if it is just my lovely pillow, I give thanks. Or maybe that crazy dream I just had – I give thanks for the messages received.

Drink Water. I drink 2 full glasses of filtered water on an empty stomach right after rising. You have spent about 8 hours without drinking water. Now is the time to rehydrate. Drinking water on an empty stomach flushes out toxins and promotes colon health – allowing for easier absorption of nutrients. When I started this practice, I lost three pounds within the first 10 days.

Get the blood flowing. I do a five minute yoga series to stretch out the body and get the blood flowing. I usually just scroll through you tube or go to my bookmarks to find a practice. It is so nice to release the tightness and tension in the muscles after 8 hours of laying down.

-Meditate. I once worked with a medium who described mediation to me as an emptying and filling of a can. Imagine your mind as a can, you need to empty it out so that it can be filled up again. Use this time to empty your mind of thoughts and feelings that do not serve you so that you can fill it back up with loving and supportive energy. I meditate for 10-20 minutes. I always do a guided meditation in the morning. I find that my brain welcomes the imagery and company of a guided mediation it the morning. I use YouTube, mediation podcasts, especially Hay House Meditation, or an app called Insight Timer.

Detox. I drink Warm lemon water on an empty stomach. This practice helps your liver detoxify your body by stimulating the release of uric acid (yay science!). Then, I take shot of apple cider vinegar (ACV) right from the bottle cap. ACV not only regulates the bodily PH levels, but it promotes gut bacteria, detoxes the body and balances blood sugar among many other benefits. This practice takes approximately 1 second. So why the heck not?!

Eat breakfast. No matter how rushed the morning suddenly becomes, I always make time to nourish my body even if it is adding two tablespoons of collagen to my coffee. My go-to picks.

Coffee, collagen & MCT. ? For those super rushed mornings? Collagen has about 11 grams of protein in 2 TBS. MCT oil is a form of healthy fat. This quick and easy breakfast gets you the nutrients you need for solid brain and body functioning.

Smoothie ? protein, frozen blueberries, cinnamon, greens, Himalayan salt, MCT or avocado oil. Protein, fiber, and healthy fat! Plus the phytonutrients in blueberries increase brain functioning. Yes, please! The frozen blueberries also act as the ice for me giving my smoothie a thicker consistency.

Supplements for cognitive functioning. When people ask me about supplements, I always suggest doing some sort of lab to figure out which supplements you truly need. I did a neurotransmitter lab through a company called Neurogistics and learned that my neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine, were all out of whack. Now I am taking the proper supplements to restore balance.

Inspiration. On my bathroom counter I have a deck of affirmation cards. Once I am done with my makeup, I say a prayer, asking for guidance. I then draw a card from the deck and reflect on it. I leave this card sitting out on the counter until the message is fully absorbed. Sometimes this means the card is sitting there for a few days!

  • A note on cell phones; I am guilty of a nasty habit. I check my phone way too early in the morning. My morning alarm is my iPhone. I find it so difficult to not instantly start checking emails, scrolling through social media, etc. It is an awful habit that poisons your well-rested brain. My solution to this is to buy a good, old-fashioned alarm clock and charge my phone in another room far, far away from my bed.
Evening Ritual

After dinner has been eaten and quality time spent with the family, I begin my evening rituals.

Mirror talk. This practice has given me so much confidence. I repeat the words ?I am? followed by the personal goals I have set for myself. I look myself straight in the eye and keep repeating my affirmations. It took me a bit to not feel silly doing this, but now that I have embraced it, it is a practice that my soul craves.

Mediation & Reflective Journaling. I usually sit with rose quartz in the evening because who cannot use a little extra love at the end of the day? I usually start with a guided meditation to get the juices flowing. Once that is complete I transition to instrumental music created for mediation. Once I am ready, I open my eyes, open my journal and write. I do not set any expectations on the subject matter. I just write. I ask that guidance come through onto the pages of my journal. This one practice of journaling right after mediation has expanded my mind more so than any other practice that I have instituted into my routine. My absolute favorite part of my evening ritual is this: Once I am done journaling, I close my eyes and ask that for deeper guidance. I then begin to draw circles in random spots throughout the passage in my journal that has just been completed. Once I know this is complete, I open my eyes and take in the words that were circled. I write them down on a clean page and reflect. What did this day teach me? What were the lessons? What is the Universe telling me? What energy do I bring to tomorrow?

-Inspiration. I love reading. I find books that speak to my soul and give my guidance. I love ending the day by reading for a while with the salt lamp on. It lulls my brain into a hazy state and serves as food for thought before I lay my head down. There are some gorgeous Himalayan salt lamps out there so do not be afraid to take a look online to find one that suits your personal style.

So there you have it. My bookends. Beautiful rituals cultivated to get me through my day and put me on course to achieve my why. Health is not only about diet and exercise. It is about a symbiotic, healthy relationship between mind, body, and soul. Remember; the true path to health starts with your desire for it. Set yourself up for success by implementing meaningful personalized tools that promote your capacity for healthy change.

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