top 4 tips to get you back to a balanced routine in style
The end of summer is here and with it comes the inevitable post-holiday blues.
Unfortunately, some people turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms to help wave goodbye to the long summer days and acclimatise to Geneva’s ‘back to action/la rentrée’ period.
Autumn can be tough that’s for sure, but it’s also one of the most exciting seasons: new beginnings, new activities to try and the next trip to plan are just some of the many experiences that are waiting for you.
In today’s blog post, we explore 4 health tips that will snap you out of any poignant memories and get you back to your routine in style.
All of them have complex neural pathways that work together to help you achieve the highest level of productivity and balance in your life.
Challenge accepted? Great, let’s go!
Tip #1: Harness the power of Intention
Looking at your “to-do list” might make you want to throw your agenda away and take the first flight to an exotic destination and never come back.
Going back to work, taking your children to school, walking the dog, grocery shopping, making dinner, and being ready to start all over again tomorrow can often be overwhelming.
It can make you feel a little empty, so it’s important to focus on a greater purpose.
Start by simply making a list of your main intentions for the next 3 months.
Find the time to ask yourself what you would like to achieve in the short term and things will become less subject to circumstance.
‘Our intention creates our reality’, as Wayne Dyer states in his book ‘The Power of Intention’.
When you focus your mental energy on an intention, you’re able to give it more brain power. By giving yourself a destination, your mind’s innate intelligence works on creating the roadmap to help you get there.
It will bring you back to your greater purpose whenever you lose focus or find yourself experiencing moments of despair during the day.
This could be anything from starting that painting class you have always wanted to attend, getting more hours of quality sleep, or spending more time being active with your children.
Just find your motivations, write them down and watch your journey unfold.
Tip #2: Plan, prepare, prosper
From breakfast to dinner, seven days a week – there are lots of meals to prepare for yourself and the family.
Poor meal planning and rushed lunches could force you to make poor food choices, which can directly affect mood, energy levels, and body weight.
Convenience foods are often highly processed foods high in sugar, fat, and salt which trigger our dopamine system. This makes us want more and more but they are usually low in vital nutrients, making us quickly hungry again whilst consuming more energy with fewer benefits.
According to ZOLA’s Nutrition Specialist, one way to optimize your gut health is by simply planning and preparing meals in advance.
Anna Caesar, our clinical dietician, suggests ‘better-planned meals are not only more nutrient-dense, but they also create a non-stressful eating environment – which leads to a relaxed gut that can break down food better.’
Another important thing to remember is to be conscious whilst you are eating.
The fact is that we often don’t pay attention and we tend to do other things in the meantime: working, watching tv, checking the news, you name it.
Remembering to chew properly, taste the food, breathe, and give your body time to digest can help you to avoid overeating. Swallowing large pieces, or swallowing air when you eat quickly can cause bloating, increase abdominal pain and restrict the digestive system.
If these aren’t reasons enough, planning your food intake is also more cost-effective and helps to reduce waste 😉
Tip #3: Breathe-in, breathe-out
Although it may seem simple, breathing is a complex chemical interchange that is part of the autonomic nervous system.
It’s the system that assists your body to cope with stress and threats – among other things.
In other words, it’s the secret weapon to enhancing both your physical and mental state almost instantly.
Conscious breathing in any form is a fundamental ritual to awaken the body and mind.
While it’s true that breathing can be involuntary, it does not mean that we always breathe well. Many of us breathe without using the entire respiratory system which includes the diaphragm, chest and abdominal muscles as well as the lungs.
If you rush to make coffee and check your phone as soon as you wake up, try spending at least the first 5 minutes of your day doing some breathing exercises instead.
Here’s one to get you started.
Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose, concentrating on the air coming in through the nostrils and down into the lungs. Pause for a moment at the end of your inhale, then let out a slow exhale through the mouth. Feel whatever sensation is present in your body after you’ve fully emptied your lungs. Repeat the cycle by taking in another breath through your nose.
If you notice that your mind has drifted off, bring your attention back to your breath and start again.
For optimal results, practice this exercise for at least 3 to 5 minutes, ideally in the morning before breakfast.
You may find it hard at first, but don’t give up!
As they say, “practice makes perfect” and once you’ve developed a regular conscious breathing routine, you will get a lot more out of your day.
Tip #4: I like to move it, move it
Movement doesn’t need to be complicated.
From a brisk walk around the Geneva old town to practicing yoga in Parc Bastions, or doing stand-up paddle on the lake, any physical activity can serve as a great way to an optimum routine.
No need to be a sports star.
ZOLA’s team of Movement Specialists strongly believe that even a few little changes in your everyday routine can make a big difference.
Your office is on the 3rd floor? Why don’t you avoid the elevator this time and take the stairs instead? To get the biggest bang for your buck, try taking two steps at a time and push through the heels as you rise up. Use your arms for momentum and it’s basically a lunge in disguise.
Or why not swap public transport and bike/walk to get to work? It may be hard to imagine if you’re a slow starter in the mornings but passing by Geneva’s cafés and its picturesque alleyways can always surprise you.
Besides, when you avoid crowded public places and skip the traffic you may be lucky enough to catch an epic sunrise or sunset.
So, stop procrastinating, and let’s move!