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The beginning of the year is an ideal time to reset daily habits, shed practices that aren’t working and recalibrate yearly objectives. I take a few days off over the holidays each year and, without fail, find myself with more perspective, drive and energy upon my return.
After a decade of fine-tuning my workplace regimen, I’ve developed a toolkit that keeps me coming back more focused and productive and less stressed each year. Here is what’s in my toolkit for 2021:
1. A Morning Routine That Includes A Digital Detox, Meditation And Intention Setting
The benefits of a morning routine have been well documented. It doesn’t seem to matter much what takes place during the first hour upon waking, as long it contributes to personal clarity, energy and productivity. Practices that I depend on within my morning routine include:
• Drinking a large glass of warm water with lemon first thing in the morning. Hydration supports every system in the body, including brain function and digestion. I like to start each day with a lukewarm glass of water to get things moving and prepare me for the day.
• Delaying turning on my phone. I set aside 30 minutes after I wake up to be completely free from screens, and I avoid checking messages and emails until after this time period. I use this quiet morning time to tune into my energy and ask my body and mind what they need in that moment.
• Setting my daily goals and intentions. I also use this period to set my goals and intentions for the day. This practice gives me time to concentrate on what really needs to be done to achieve my big-picture goals and what I need to prioritize each day before the parade of messages arrives.
I seal off every morning practice with a meditation and a set of positive affirmations. My morning routine allows me to begin each day feeling calm, grounded and focused.
2. A Clean, Decluttered Office
I strive to keep my workspace orderly, spending a bit of time each day to ensure that the environment around me reflects the mental state that helps me succeed: sharp, clear and organized. Researchers have found that a clean and organized space can contribute to improved cognition, emotion, behavior, stress and anxiety levels, and relationships. I also keep my office clean with natural cleaning products and air-cleansing plants because research demonstrates that productivity increases when there are fewer particles in the air and dirt in the environment.
3. Grounded Energy
Frequencies from everyday electricity can disrupt sleep quality. Prolonged sleep issues can negatively affect brain and body function, as this is the time when your body restores itself. In order to keep myself regularly energized, I disconnect from phones and screens each night and even keep these items out of my bedroom.
To balance out the energy from electricity exposure during the day, I make sure to get outside and connect with nature sans screens for at least 10 minutes a day. I also keep a pair of blue light glasses on hand to minimize strain on my eyes and avoid further disturbance to my sleep cycles, and I make an effort to utilize EMF protection tools.
4. Nutrition For Focus
As a nutritionist, I place a great deal of importance on what I am putting in my body throughout the day. I have found hydration to be absolutely crucial in driving focus and energy. I drink at least my body weight in ounces of filtered water every day and limit dehydrating beverages such as caffeine and alcohol. I focus on incorporating highly nutrient-dense foods and superfoods into all my meals and snacks.
More important than any one type of food for me is eating smaller, well-balanced meals full of whole foods as much as possible. These meals tend to lend me the most enhanced mental clarity and endurance. For instance, my go-to lunch is a small grain bowl full of ancient grains, leafy green vegetables and plant-based fats and proteins. I also take daily high-quality supplements, which include ingredients such as supergreens, antioxidants, ginkgo, phosphatidylserine and acetyl-l-carnitine, to support my brain function.
5. Stress Management Tactics
Small amounts of stress can actually increase productivity, but if left unchecked, stress can negatively affect mental and physical health. Prolonged stress can lead to adrenal fatigue and inflammation, which can spiral into much more serious conditions; many chronic diseases are preceded by inflammation.
I’ve found that the key is to learn to manage the stress, using a little bit to drive myself toward my goals, and releasing the rest through practices such as daily meditation, journaling and energy balance. I also take high-quality supplements, which include ingredients such as ashwagandha, ginseng and 5HTP, that help calm my nervous system.
I’ve been a health and wellness provider for more than a decade and have found that the practices in this toolkit truly support my productivity in the workplace. That being said, I am constantly experimenting with new methodologies and technologies and refining my current routine to continually find ways to bring more focus and energy and less stress into my workday. I encourage you to do the same.
If you don’t know where to start, I recommend seeking out practices that seem exciting to you. Notice how you feel after you’ve tried a method for about a week. Do you feel energized and clear? If not, maybe that practice isn’t for you. Yoga classes or the vegetable du jour aren’t for everyone, and that’s OK! The more you understand what nourishes your unique energy and drives you to succeed, the more effective your wellness regimen will become.