The way we start our day sets the pace for the rest of the day. If we begin in a frenzied rush to get out the door, the day proceeds as scripted. And unfortunately for those of us on the road to conception, increased stress means increased hormonal imbalances.
In the book Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life: Achieving Optimal Health and Wellness through Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, and Western Science Dr. Claudia Welch offers a prescription for starting your day, and continuing through it, which leads to decreased stress and greater balance.
I am trying it out, and what I am learning is just how tense and full of tension my days usually begin. When we become present to paying attention to our rhythm’s, or lack of them, we begin to notice where our bodies are out of sync, or ill at ease. Addressing these areas leads to greater fertile health.
Note: one suggestion I would add to Dr. Welch’s is to spend 2-3 minutes at the end of your shower allowing hot water (as hot as is comfortable) to gentling knead your neck and shoulders. After a few minutes turn the water to cool for a few seconds. Implementing this practice will help to alleviate stored up tension to start your day.
How-to-jumpstart improving your lifestyle:
1. Wake as early as you can (predawn is ideal) and meditate, engage in quiet contemplation, or read inspirational material. Do this for five to sixty minutes or longer, depending on the nature of your spiritual practice. If you don’t have a meditation practice, this could be a time of prayer, or for gentle breathing exercises that you can learn from a yoga practitioner. In any case, whatever you do should quiet the mind. This is useful for calming the spirit and sets the pace for a less stressful day. . . . feel free to start in increments as brief as five minutes. Do whatever you can do.
2. Apply warm oil to your body. This can take as little as 2 to 3 minutes or as much as twenty [more on warming and administering oil in a later post]. This has an incredibly calming effect on the nervous system. Having a less trigger-happy nervous systems means less stress hormones circulating, and this leads to more balanced hormones.
3. Bathe, dress, then exercise for 20 to 30 minutes. This can be a combination of brisk walking, gentle stretching or yoga, tai chi, qi gong, hiking, or biking, depending on your energy and stamina.
4. If you won’t have time to cook later in the day, cook in the morning for the rest of the day. Try to avoid keeping hot foods or liquids in plastic containers. If you keep food in plastic containers, just make sure it is cool before you put it in them.
5. Have breakfast (see THIS POST for breakfast suggestions), lunch, and dinner at the same times every day.
6. Remember to breathe deeply throughout the day.
7. Slow down, in general. Stop multitasking. It dissipates energy. Studies have also shown that multitasking has a detrimental effect on mental processes, even when you are not engaged in it. Do one thing at a time. This will encourage focused calmer energy.
8. As one of my teachers told me when I was eight years old, “Keep good company. Good company makes a man great.” Spending time with loving people who have healthy habits supports our own healthy habits.
9. Watch less than ten hours of TV a week.
10. Spend the evening quieting the mind and the body, in preparation for bed.
11. Retire at the same time each evening.