Updated: May 7, 2021
Tranquil Lake Yoga & Wellness is nearly 5 months old, and we eager to grow and mature. It seemed perfect to theme this month's Blog around Growth....but not just any growth. The Growth of Healthy Habits & Happiness. May is traditionally a month synonymous with growth, success, and Love. In Northern Ohio, where I live, May is the month when flowers, trees, and fields, truly come to life. Everything begins to grow again, after another long , cold winter. It makes sense that as the world around us matures and develops, that we are encouraged to follow suit.
For many of us, it isn't a question of whether or not we want to live long, healthy, happy lives. It's a question of "How?"
How do we make better choices? How do we give ourselves and our families the greatest chance for success ? How do we optimize our time and our energy ? And perhaps most importantly, how do we care for ourselves in the midst of our chaotic world?
Simply put ,We care for ourselves by Living a Life of Intention. We take the time, daily, monthly, hopefully for our eternity, deciding what we need to be our best selves. Life is not meant to be reactive. We are not meant to be reactive, muddling through a world of upsets, inconveniences, and offenses. Our lives aren't meant to happen TO us. They are meant to happen FOR us.
What do I mean by that? I mean that all of the beauty, the choices, even the struggles the world has to offer, are really opportunities.
"Every spirit builds itself a house, and beyond its house a world, and beyond its world a Heaven. Know then that world exists for you."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
When we choose to eat a healthy breakfast instead of hitting up the drive thru line, to take a walk on our lunch break instead of hiding in the breakroom , or to play outside with our children after dinner instead of watching mindless television, We Are Building Our World.
It's all a choice, and it's all about taking the time to plan which choices we are going to make. I have been reading more books then ever before, talking to successful Boss Mom's and observing Excellent Family Managers. And guess what they all have in common? They plan. They plan their schedule, their meals, and their down time. By planning and allotting time for such activities as healthy meals, house keeping, vacations, sleep, Friday night movies, and playing with children or grandchildren, they are creating the opportunity for relaxation and spontaneity. I can guarantee that fun is a lot LESS likely to occur, if you don't make time for it.
According to skilledatlife.com, "Planning your life is equivalent to having a road map that helps you reach your desired destination. Unless you have already been to the place you want to go numerous times and already know how to get there, you will need a good map. It would be foolish to get in your car and drive around aimlessly, hoping to eventually reach your destination. Despite this, so many people in the world today fail to plan their lives and end up lost or stuck where they are."
Read the full article @ https://www.skilledatlife.com/why-planning-our-lives-is-important/
So lets start at the beginning. How do you start your day ? Even better, how do you WISH you started your day ? First impressions are so important, and this holds true for our initial glimpse of morning.
There isn't a single prescription for "The Perfect Morning"...because my opinion of the ideal morning(sleeping until 630am, practicing 30 mins of yoga, showering and dressing for a lazy yet fashionable morning, having chai tea and fruit on a waterfront patio ) may be drastically different from yours. But there are a few actions proven by science to be beneficial for everyone.
Be an early Riser. Waking up before your family allows you time to yourself. This is an opportunity to read, make your coffee in peace, meditate, or perhaps review your calendar for the day and set an intention . If waking early just doesn't work for your life at this stage, opt to choose a consistent wake time each morning.
Move Your Body. Your Body (and your Brain) like a consistent signal that sleep has ended. Begin by peeking outside to see the sunrise. The natural light helps mediate melatonin levels ,which assists in healthy sleep/wake cycles. Next, choose a favorite activity. Walk outside while you listen to your favorite podcast. Stretch your yoga mat out on the living floor, and perform 3 to 5 Sun Salutations. Ride your bike around the block. The specific activity isn't that important, just choose an exercise that uplifts and energizes you.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast .Breakfast remains one of the most important meals of the day. Breakfast can wait until after your morning workout, but if you push it too far back, you are likely to get hunger spikes and over eat for Lunch . My spring/summer go to is Light Greek Vanilla Yogurt, topped with sliced fruit (my Favorites are bananas, blueberries, or strawberries) and almond granola. I eat the exact same breakfast most mornings, I enjoy the routine and it just makes mornings simpler.
Delicious Breakfast Recipes Can Be Found @
Next, let's discuss the choices you can make throughout your day, that will lead to a Happier and Healthier outlook. These choices are built around planning your day, being honest about your time, and practicing gratitude.
Always have a game plan. You should start each day knowing what you plan to accomplish with the next 24 hours. You can create your plan in monthly increments, by spending a few hours at the beginning of each month mapping that 30 days out. But weekly, and then daily, make time to review your appointments, goals, and responsibilities for the upcoming day. Aim to set a minimum of 3 goals per day( for example, wash the car, grocery shop, take kids to library) and check them off as you go, or at the end of the day. Also, be sure to plan for healthy meals and snacks while at work. The healthiest and least expensive option is to pack all of your meals And snacks ahead of time. This will help you feel prepared, accomplished, confident, and set you up for success.
Be honest about your time. This is a multifaceted strategy. First , you need to know how much time the activities in your calendar actually require(if you're unsure, you can track your time for 3-5 days). Accurately allotting your time will save you the frustration, guilt, and possible embarrassment of running late or over-committing. The second part of being honest with your time is much more fun. When you know you have an hour between errands, you have the freedom to say Yes when a friend invites you out for lunch at your favorite local coffee shop (mine is Brewed Awakening, the Caprese Sandwich and Lattes are amazing)!
Develop an "Attitude of Gratitude". We all know that no matter how well we plan, things are still going to fail. Traffic jams, kids getting sick, or your dog literally eating your presentation are all realities. We cannot stop these "mishaps" from occurring, but we CAN change how we react. Scientists recommend practicing gratitude daily, in the form of journaling, post it notes, or sincere in person "Thank You's", every single day. While we aren't going to thank our children for getting sick, expressing heart felt gratitude towards your husband for running to the store for Tylenol will 100% change your perspective on the entire situation. The following article provides further research on Expressing Gratitude .
Finally, the way that we wrap up or end our evenings is the true icing on the cake. If you're similar to the way I used to be, you spend so much energy running around during the day, that you literally fall into bed exhausted...only to lie there with your mind spinning, or awaken at 3am, unable to go back to sleep. Thankfully, there has been a great deal of research on sleep hygiene !
According to my absolute favorite coach Jay Shetty, "We live in a society that’s bad at sleeping. Mornings are early and nights are late. While we’re busy making room for lots of living, we often forget what’s equally if not more so important— retreating for deep and frequent rest.
Sleep influences every aspect of our lives. When quality of sleep improves, quality of life improves. "
Read more from Jay @
There are several things that you can do to increase not only your quality of sleep, but the quality of your evenings. Evenings are so precious , I know for many of us, the evening hours are the only times available to spend with our families. Do we really want to use those hours staring at screens, or frantically cleaning the house? I certainly don't.....
Here are a few tools to help streamline and soothe your evening routine.
You probably already guessed it-Choose a consistent bedtime, even on the weekends. Veering an hour or more from this time may produce exhaustion akin to Jet-Lag...not a great way to start your weekend.
Limit screen time , stimulating activities, and foods or drinks with high sugar or alcohol content for 1-2 hours prior to sleep. This doesn't mean you can't enjoy evenings together-maybe choose a board game for your party, with fruit, cheese, and lowlighting. Or read to or read with your children. Better yet, start a party at 5pm and end it at 8pm. See? You can have it all.
Choose your bedtime routine, and cherish it. Just like your morning routine, this will look a little different for everyone. My bedtime routine starts at 830pm , and consists of getting my children to bed with a book, taking a warm bath (with Epsom salts, bubbles, or essential oil , depending on my mood) , slipping into soft pajamas, applying a relaxing essential oil to my wrists, and then reading by lamp light until 10pm. I do this every night-if I skip my routine , you can bet I am also skipping a good nights sleep. Your routine may take time to create, and will also require some trial and error. Don't give up-perfecting your bedtime routine is a worthwhile investment.
Suggestions for creating your bedtime ritual can be found @ https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/healthy-sleep-tips
I hope you found this blog to be helpful! I truly enjoyed writing it. Tranquil Lake will continue to send Yoga, Health, Fitness, Wellness, and Community Content your way, every single month. If you have been following our blogs, visiting the studio for classes, or following us on Facebook, please leave us a review in the link below !
We would love to get the word out about our studio, the more people that know who we are, the more people we can guide to a life of Health & Happiness, Close to Home .
Thank you so much for your time,
Megan Lake-Smith , Tranquil Lake Owner