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Make Use Of The Last Of Summer!

Make Use Of The Last Of Summer!

As summer starts to wind down there always is a sense of depression that comes with it. The days get a bit shorter and returning to school looms; it still strikes dread into me even though it’s been so long since I had to worry about getting all my school supplies in order!

Yellow #2 pencils still make me break out in a cold sweat and to this day the sight of a school bus leaves me on the sidewalk in the fetal position.

So with the fall and start of the school year being the second New Year in my mind, here’s how you can make the best of the end of summer.

1. Enhance Your Diet By Embracing The Fall Harvest

If you are a foodie then this time of year is like Christmas. When the fall harvest begins to kick in a real abundance of true local and organic food becomes available.

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Many people look to January 1st and the New Year to start getting healthy or losing weight but to me the end of summer and the fall is when you really want to undertake it. This is the time of year when you get food in its purest and healthiest state and it will be right in your own backyard.

Apple picking becomes a bigger activity and things like corn and squash are available everywhere. These are great, real whole foods that should make up the cornerstone of your diet. Do yourself a favor and start looking for farmers markets in your area as the amount of fresh local produce is at an all time high for the year. At a farmers market you know you are getting local, organic and most important, seasonal food.

So many of the foods we eat now are out of season as they are available year round, but getting foods when they are meant to be grown gets you a little more in tune with your environment and ultimately your health.

So get online and see what’s nearby you. The USDA has a Farmers Market Directory to search for them but you can even just do a Google search, and you might be surprised what’s close by! I pride myself on eating as natural and local as I can and I feel I’ve got my finger on the pulse of the local food scene where I live, but have recently searched online for other farmers markets in my area and found two within five minutes of my house! I had no idea they were even there, so get out there and meet the people that are actually growing this high quality food.

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2. Make Use Of The Outdoors For Exercise

As a personal trainer I always tell clients to get out of the gym for the summer and make use of the outdoors, sunshine and warmer weather. I live in Canada and when we are buried up to our necks in snow half the year we crave those few months of summer. It’s what I dream of when I almost get hit by snow plows trying to dig my car out of ditch.

The one issue in summer is when it gets too hot and exercise outdoors is not the healthiest thing. Poor air quality from humidity, smog and blazing heat can actually do more harm then good. There is the potential for heat exhaustion, sun burn, sun stroke, and dehydration. When the weather starts to cool at the end of the summer and we go into the fall it becomes the ideal time to get outside to get healthy.

You still can get that healthy sun exposure and fresh air and the cool crispness of the weather has a motivating and energizing effect. So this is a great time for those longer runs, hikes, hill sprints, long bike rides, outdoor boot camps, yoga and even early morning walks.

Once again, get a jump on things earlier and embrace that crisp, healthy late summer/early fall weather.

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3. Instead Of A Spring Cleaning, Do An End Of Summer Clean

This is where I will stress the point of looking at the fall/back to school time as the real New Year; and that means getting things organized and removing the clutter from your life.

Don’t wait until after a harsh winter to start making things fresh, get a jump on it at the end of summer while the weather is still good and really organize the things around you. The more clutter and disorganization around the more it impacts other areas of your life.

This is a good time to keep tackling those projects around the house, the yard or anything you can do to get things organized around you. That way, when you get out of those winter months you are farther ahead in the game than you normally would be.

Wrapping It Up

I love summer and I know you do too, it’s the time of year when things get to move a little slower and it feels like we can finally take a deep breath and relax. Just because it’s over doesn’t mean you need to lose motivation and feel let down!

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Use the end of summer and the start of fall to make some improvements in your life, your health and your fitness and use that momentum to tackle the rest of the year and the winter head on.

But everyone needs to take it easy with all the pumpkin spice products and lattes…

Featured photo credit: amira_a via flickr.com

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Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on September 10, 2019

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

1. Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

Gratitude-Quotes

    2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

    This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

    For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

    What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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    Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

    3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

    This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

    Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

    An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

    Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

    write down goals

      4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

      According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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      There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

      5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

      Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

      Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

      6. Rise Earlier

      The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

      For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

      So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

      Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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      7. Listen to Uplifting Music

      Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

      Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

      It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

      Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

      More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

      Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
      [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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