Saturday, June 21, 2014

Five Things: Summer Non-Negotiables

It's summer! That only means one thing for me, since I don't work summer as a teacher -- I have all the time in the world to get into a healthier lifestyle. During the first few weeks of summer break, I have to admit, I went all-out by sleeping in until 1pm, having dinner at 9pm, and going to bed at 4am! It was fun while it lasted, but being a total couch potato eventually made me feel extremely sluggish. Couple that with the hot summer days in the Southwest, it's like welcoming unnecessary stress with open arms.

I am a huge believer of starting each day right, and no matter how 'boring' a daily routine may sound, keeping a healthy, daily habit actually reaps more benefits for your body, mind, and spirit. So, I've made a commitment to do precisely that this summer, and hopefully even after that, by practicing five daily habits religiously each day for a better, healthier, happier, and more balanced lifestyle.

#1: First Thing in the Morning -- Warm Lemon Water

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This summer, 7:30 is my usual wake-up call. After getting up, kissing my still-sleeping-hubby good morning and letting our dog out for morning potty, the very first thing I do for my body each day is to drink a glass of warm lemon water. It's a great way to kickstart your morning, before eating anything or working out. It perks me up and it's also a great way to help your body detox.

#2: Breakfast -- Porridge

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I know I live in America and everyone here calls it 'oatmeal', but for some reason, 'porridge' sounds better! This is where the routine really kicks in, because I eat porridge for breakfast every single day. I use steel cut oats, which I prepare the night before and heat up in the morning. I love my porridge with non-fat milk (still trying to eliminate dairy from my diet but it's hard!), honey, a fruit of my choice (usually half a banana or strawberry slices), and cinnamon. I don't get tired of porridge. It's yummy and it fills me up that I don't need to snack at all until lunch time.

#3: Workout Routine -- Quick and Foolproof

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I currently can't afford a gym membership or attend yoga classes, so I opted for an easier, more convenient but still effective way to get some movement in. My 10-minute morning workout includes:

50 jumping jacks
15 body weight squats
15 push ups
15 reverse lunges
30-second plank
(repeat 3 times)

Three times a week, I put in an extra 15-20 minutes of strength training by lifting weights.

#4: Green Tea

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I learned this all-day-everyday habit from my grandmother, who is a cancer survivor. I say 'all-day-everyday' because I drink green tea three times a day. I do worry about the caffeine sometimes (I have yet to find a good decaf green tea), but so far, I have no complaints, but rather, only the greatest things to say about a daily green tea regimen. I drink it instead of coffee in the morning, and it keeps me pleasantly awake. I drink it after lunch and dinner, and it's a great top-off to a heavy meal.

#5: Curl Up and Read

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I always, always make sure that I put in at least an hour (sometimes more) to read a book each day. It's my way of shutting off instant gratification (disguised as Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Netflix) and feeding my brain and spirit by going back to the simplicity of reading and spending time with myself, my imagination, and a great story.

What is your daily routine like? I hope everyone has a healthy and happy summer!

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