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Let’s take a look at exercise

DAY 8

WORKOUTS

Let’s take a look at exercise habits.

There are lots of changes in our understanding of exercise that have come about in the past few years. The most important one in relation to your time is that you needn’t work out for an hour per day, five days a week to get the best results.

High intensity interval training HIIT is where it’s at now. That means getting to your maximum heart rate, panting and recovering, and then going back up again.

Your practice for today is go to the park and find an open field. Warm up for 5 minutes and stretch your hips, hamstrings, ankles, and torso. When ready spring across the field at half your top speed to the other side. When there, do 10-25 push-ups (depending on your fitness level). Then sprint back to the original side at 3/4 of your full speed and do 50 jumping jacks. Take 2 minutes to recover, repeat the sequence a few times, and then go home.

All in all, your entire workout can last 15 minutes today.

This type of workout pushes your body beyond its current physiological comfort zone., which triggers hormesis, a metabolic state that expresses genes that help us grow in the right way. This kind of exercise will help to spawn new mitochondria and beef up existing ones. These are the powerhouses of our cells, and more mitochondria equal more energy to us.

Working out in intense spurts May take a while to get used to. Make sure you stretch for a few minutes, and stop if you experience any joint pain. In fact, it’s always better to work with a trainer who can monitor you and keep you on the right side of the health line. Be safe.

The moral of the story here is this: you needn’t log in the time doing the same routine on the treadmill day in day out. In fact, once you’ve hit a level where your body gets comfortable, you’re not getting any results anymore. That means you need to push yourself.

Go for intense spurts of activity to challenge your heart and your muscles, and then fully recover. This will not only give you better results in your workouts but also free up some time each day that you had (hopefully already) allocated toward exercise.

Getting out of the “clock in, clock out” mentality of working out is an important quantum leap you can make in your life. It isn’t the quantity of time but the quality.

Your time is precious. If you build a culture of moving around all day, your resting metabolic rate doesn’t dip. If you avoid sitting and stretching periodically, you get less stagnant. This allows you to then get an efficient workout. You get better results in less time.

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Making time in your schedule for you.

DAY 7

Making time in your schedule for YOU.

Today’s lesson is SIMPLE. Make a list of all the things you want to do for yourself. This should include exercise, personal time, family time, reading, yoga, massage, or whatever else you keep telling yourself you want to do. Jot down these items.

Take a look at this list and see if it’s complete. Make sure it reflects your desires for SELF CARE.

If you did these things, would you feel complete in life? Would you be rested, calm, fit, and happier?

What else would need to be there in order to feel that way? Write it down.

Next, sort these items into the order of importance you’d put them in. The most critical one should go on too and then down from there.

Now let’s do a quick reality check. Let’s open the calendar 📆. Look at your schedule this week (or any average week if you’re do8ng something vastly different right now).

What’s on your schedule? How many of the items on your list are actually reflected on your calendar? Is there a block of time set aside for you to get to the gym? How about family time? Have you scheduled time to read? Where do these things fall on your timeline?

If you’re like most people, practically none of your self care items show up on your calendar. That says something to the universe and your inner self- namely, that you don’t prioritise these things.

Here’s the rule : if it’s important enough to you and your life, then it should be on your calendar. Look at what happens to your time. The world will always serve up items, tasks, events, calls, meetings, or drama to fill your time.

Nature hates a vacuum. Your schedule will bet gobbled up by the chaos all around you unless you step in and own it.

The key lesson is to think through your needs and build them into your day. This is a process for you to practice and eventually master. Honour your appointments with yourself and you’ll reap the rewards. Hold the line and you’ll start to feel full again.

Anxious?

DAY 6

Anxious Time

The way the modern world is stacked up, unfortunately, we get a lot of anxious time. This is time very often spent in anticipation, frustration, aggravation, and, well you know.

So how can we leverage this time to become our teacher? There’s information packed into our internal state and how it is cooking at these moments, so why not leverage it for growth?

The velocity of time is oftentimes too fast when we’re anxious. The blood flow is going to the hindbrain, which is telling us to fight, flee or panic. It is being cut off from our internal organs, immunity, digestion, and higher reasoning. Again, sadly, we run a lot of miles in this lane, so let’s take this as an opportunity for greater awareness.

Scan your mind today at random times and ask yourself if you sense anxiety. Make that your mantra for the day. Keep scanning and checking in how you feel. When you identify a state that would would label as anxious, the game is on. Now, it could feel like “slightly anxious” 😟 or “agitated” and that’s good enough for our exercise today.

The key is to grab some sample data from this state to reflect on.

Okay, so you’ve identified an anxious state. Now what?

Ask yourself the next series of questions:

🛎 what does this feel like?

🛎 is it warm or cold?

🛎 where do I feel it in my body?

🛎 is it moving around?

🛎 can I attribute a quality to this feeling? E.g. is it dull, fuzzy, heavy, or painful 😖?

And then follow with the next series of questions:

⏩ where did this feeling come from?

⏩ was there a thought or a conversation that elicited it?

⏩ when did it start?

⏩ do I often feel this when thinking about the same situation?

⏩ how is this serving me?

The next step is to acknowledge he way you’re feeling and then take 10 deep breaths to your lower abdomen. Put a smile 😃 on your face and stretch your body put however you need.

Did any of it shift? Now how do you feel?

The challenge of today’s exercise is to isolate a moment when you’re feeling anxious and use it as feedback for the way you experience time and life in those moments.

The more awareness you can bring to this experience, the better you’ll get moving out of that feeling and, later on, the better you’ll be avoiding the reactions that lead to that state in the first place.

Time to chill….

DAY 5

When to lie low

There’s a time to jam and a time to chill. A wise person can know where she stands and adjust her speed accordingly. We all have deadlines and eras in life when time is tight and compressed; if we know how to protect ourselves during these time, they can be filled with energy, excitement, and momentum. But we can’t stay in hyperdrive for long, and if we don’t learn how to turn it off, we can get burned out or burned up.

That’s how our economy is set up- the constant grind. If you can work your way off that hamster wheel, you’ll find yourself in a much healthier position in life.

If you’re stuck in such a lifestyle, it is prudent to understand the ebb and flow of these rhythms and adjust your own velocity manually. This means knowing when to slow down. You still may need to go through certain motions, but the lesson is about learning to identify the moments when you need to be redlining and the moments when you can – and should – intentionally take your foot 🦶 off the gas ⛽️.

Today let’s examine the bigger cycles of your busy life. Are you in a “push hard and get there” phase, or are you between deadlines? Are you required to leave it all on the court right now, or can you ease off the gas and replenish your reserves? Only you can determine this.

One thing to take into account is your current energy level. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 Being the highest energy), how much do you have right now?

A score of 1 means you can hardly get out of bed and are totally depleted, and a 6 means you’re doing okay but certainly not feeling great. What’s your honest answer to this?

Now here’s the kicker: If you were to factor your willpower out of the equation, then what would your number be? You see, most of us are forcing energy out to keep up with the demands of our lives. We use our willpower to keep us in overdrive so we can get through, and our bodies, our minds, and our relationships are paying the price. What’s your honest number if you factor out willpower?

Now take that number and think about what you need to do for yourself to bring it up and feel better. When can you slow down? How would you do it?

Today take 30 minutes and simply only do what you feel like doing. This may turn into a nap, since most of us are usually exhausted. That’s fine. It’s a step in the right direction, which honours the spirit of today’s gong. From there, tonight start to think about what else you think would help bring balance in your life.

Can you take a week in the countryside? Maybe you can factor in a day off now and then to go to the spa and catch your breath. Perhaps you need to learn to mediate and at least slow your roll on your daily burn. Each life is different, and we all need our own medicine to come to balance. What would your medicine be?

Now that you’ve taken a honest look at your energy levels and thought about what you may need to bounce back, look at your calendar 📆 and book some downtime for yourself.

Make it a date, a trip, a sabbatical, or whatever it needs to be. Book it, and honour it. You’ll need the energy to get through life with your health and sanity intact.

When can you pull over and take a breather? Book it in your calendar 📆 today.

We’re drowning in emails….

DAY 4

E-mail time

Email has become an integral part of our lives. It became a powerful way of communicating, which quickly became the norm for businesses all over the world.

Email is great. You can attach files, pictures and videos efficiently. You get people what they need and move on with your life.

So what’s the problem? Volume. We’ve become slaves to our inventions that were created to make life easier.

Now we’re drowning in emails. Every store, car dealer, app company, and vitamin peddler is sending you emails almost on a daily basis. Spam has become an enormous issue we all deal with, and it doesn’t seem to be going away.

Today we deal with this. It doesn’t make sense to look at your email every time your phone 📱 or computer 💻 chimes. It distracts you from the task in hand and keeps you unfocused. What other people want you to look at isn’t going to get you through your day efficiently. In fact, every time you look away, you lose momentum and clarity in what you were doing.

Let’s set up some chunk time for you to check email. Depending on the volume you deal with, set for 30 – 60 minutes for email in the late morning and another block toward the late afternoon.

This is your dedicated email time. The key is to get in, handle it, and get out. One way to do this is to run through all the messages in the morning block, handle anything that can be responded to in the first 5 minutes, star the important ones you need to get back to, and delete or mark as spam all the others. You’ll have another block later in the day to get to the longer ones.

On that note, you need a good spam filter so the junk doesn’t get put in your face. There are a number of good ways to do this, and you’ll have to find one that suits your unique needs. Make a habit of marking items you didn’t elect to receive as spam within your email program. This teaches software what not to send you and helps you keep a clean inbox. With spam out of your face, look at the key communications that deserve your time and start to back your way out of long email chains that waste it.

The secret to email chunk time is to book it on your calendar, communicate clearly (so it doesn’t go back and forth), and clear your plate. This way it doesn’t sit on your mind and pester you; it also doesn’t languish unread or half answered. The sweeter result of this play is increased focus and concentration on the work you’re doing. If you’re working on a document, stay in it. Spreadsheet? Cool, get your work done there. Driving? Well, what were you thinking checking your phone anyhow?

The goal is to maintain clarity in your work and handle email at designated times. Rearrange your schedule to chunk your email time, and make this your plan for today. Try to do it again tomorrow, then the next day. In a few weeks, you’ll see the clutter dissipate and your life get better. Stick with this, and pay close attention to holding the line. Some discipline will pay off here. People may push back. That’s fine. Deliver everything that’s required of you and get your job done. Efficiency is the key. Once people learn to sync to your new rhythm, the difference in productivity and sanity will emanate from your vicinity.

The key is to get better at what you do by curating your day to serve you and free up your time.

Step outside into nature

DAY 3

NATURE

Today’s lesson is simple. Step outside and learn from the ultimate teacher. Nature is our guiding light when it comes to cycles and rhythms. She functions under a perfect ebb and flow of counterbalancing principles.

Heat and cold balance with light and dark.

Growth and decay are fully realised in cycles of the year, as are birth and death.

Nature has all the wisdom you need, packed into plain sight.

We’ve just simply forgotten to look.

Today’s practice is to step outside and spend some quiet time in nature. Even if a public park or back lawn of an office park is all you can access. I am positive that there is going to be some semblance of the natural world available to you today if you open your eyes and look for it.

GO THERE.

Sit in a comfortable spot and start to breathe deeply to your lower abdomen. Relax into your breathing and sink into the sounds all around you.

Feel the wind on your face and maybe take off your shoes and wiggle your toes into the dirt. If you have the luxury to fully immerse, get into some clay or bury your body at the beach. Break down the wall and allow for nature’s majesty to touch you and your senses.

Trees 🌳 can get to hundreds of years in age, but the pebbles below your feet are a millions of years old.

Where did they come from?

Were they part of some large rocks aeons ago?

How did they get there?

Now observe the dirt under your feet. Long time ago, certain fungal elements evolved to break down under rock and create dirt.

With the coming of bacteria, Protozoa, nematodes and multiple other life forms, the dirt started to become soil.

This allowed for other certain life forms to take inorganic materials and make them available to the plant kingdom, which then took off and spread across the planet.

Those plants adapted to drink light and create energy from the sun, trapping energy in carbohydrate bonds.

This became the fuel for certain animal to eat, and fast forward several million years, here you are.

The microscopic life under your feet created a long cascade of processes that eventually allowed you to be there as a consumer of sunlight via plants. If you eat animals, you’re capturing the sunlight they ingested via the plants they consumed.

Life: it’s all around you. You’re breathing it in right now as you’re reading this. Millions of bacteria and viruses just entered your lungs and all over your skin. They help you interact with the natural world all around you. They help to depend against invaders. They are part of the ecosystem of your body, which is part of the ecosystem of the planet. This is all going on while you go through your day, millions upon millions of life forms living their lives, oblivious to your bills and petty dramas.

Sit outside in the symphony of nature and notice the oddity scale. On the one hand, you’re this universe of life with bugs in you and on your skin, all interacting as an ecosystem. On the other hand, you’re a tiny speck on a single planet at the edge of a regular galaxy that is light years away from the next.

Up and down it’s all amazing., and you sit in the middle of all of it. You are the focal point where infinity collides into a single point of time and space.

How can you make sense of it all? The only way is to open your heart and fall into the wonder that it induces. This way, we don’t take ourselves so seriously. It helps us think about the big questions and puts into perspective where we stand in the grand scheme of things.

You only get a moment of time here as the person you think you are.

What are you going to do with it?

How to practice gratitude…

DAY 2

TIME FOR GRATITUDE

Today we pull over and take some time to be grateful for what we have.

GRATITUDE is good medicine and is always time well spent.

It helps to relieve stress and build positive energy, and it gives us great perspective on life.

When was the last time you did this?

Are you hardwired to be grateful, or is it something you have to remind yourself about?

Practicing GRATITUDE is healthy. It paints a worldview of optimism and hope.

People who practice this are consistently HAPPIER.

What tends to happen with people who are depressed and stuck is a phenomenon called STACKING.

This is when something bad happens to us and we take that isolated event and attach it to a series of other “bad” events and create a pessimistic narrative.

Let’s say you stub your toe and drop your phone. People who stack go to a place where “this always happens to me; I have such bad luck; I remember when I tripped in college and was embarrassed” and on and on.

A bill could come in and remind you of all your financial woes, or something as trivial as your favourite team losing could trigger the narrative of how you married the wrong person.

It doesn’t make sense, but it’s what we do. It’s a downward spiral that drags us into “my life sucks” narrative that doesn’t serve us. It makes us less fun to be around.

Gratitude is a wonderful antidote for this tendency. So today you will practice this.

Grab a piece of paper or pick up your phone and simply start making a list of all the things you’re grateful for. It could be your kids, your cat, your accomplishments, a tasty lunch you had recently, or the clouds in the sky. Just keep writing ✍️.

Spend at least 10 minutes doing this and don’t stop. Even if it sounds stupid write it down. It may take a second to recall some of these. That’s totally cool. The act of recalling them delivers a powerful therapeutic and spiritual value.

Once you’ve finished with your list, stop and ask yourself how you feel. How did you feel before you started, and how did you feel afterwards? Any difference? Take note of it.

As you go through your day, keep your list with you. Take a look at it a few times and do a quick read through. Stop on any item that grabs your attention and let that gratitude fill your heart. Sit with the feeling of gratitude towards whatever the given item is. Back in its sunshine, and let it fill you.

At the end of the day go back and recall how you felt in the morning and how you feel on the other side. Any difference? Chances are, it’ll be subtle but definitely there. If you like what this is doing, keep your list with you tomorrow and add to it. In fact, see about adding things as they come up for you, make this list a growing scroll of things you’re grateful for. The more you do it, the better it will serve you. Over time this practice will radically transform your life and change your mood towards all things. It takes away friction and allows us to live in a healthier, timeless space.

Tomorrow I will talk to you about nature.