This article serves to complement the previous guide, “The 8 Best Ways to Start The Day.”
Prioritizing these suggestions as regular extensions of life and mindset will allow the mental, physical, spiritual, relational, and professional lives to flourish. The key is to commit to positive change for the future journey. Setbacks inevitably occur, but every day countless opportunities present themselves to “right the ship.” Recognize the end of the day not as an end, but the initial opportunities to prepare a firm foundation for the day to follow.
Prayer/Reflection: Prayer and reflection are integral practices for the bookends of the day. Extend thanks for the day’s granted opportunities, pray for future strength and guidance, and focus on those in need of divine intervention. Reflect on the day’s successes, setbacks, and if actions reflected desired mindset. Renew personal resolve for the demands of tomorrow and plan specific ways to draw closer to the vision of change.
De-Stress: The sources of stress can be constant and stress will inevitably manifest itself in the form of illness, disease, weight gain, or mental and emotional instability. When in the “stressed” state, hormones are released to signal to our bodies to store fat as a survival instinct (overwhelmingly stored as abdominal fat). “De-stressing” is an often overlooked aspect of weight loss and avoiding stress or developing healthy “de-stressing” strategies can have a profound effect. Examples of “de-stressing” include deep breathing exercises, prolonged stretching, yoga, relaxing music, and positive imagery.
Friend or Family Time: Make regular time with friends and family a priority after work, class, or before bed. Share meaningful conversation and show a vested interest in life greatest companions. Plan simple shared outings to maximize precious time together. Growing as individuals becomes remarkably easier when the journey is shared together.
Post-Dinner Walk: De-stress and allow the body’s metabolism to work efficiently after a healthy, balanced home-cooked meal. Better yet, be active with a family member, friend, or neighbor and develop an affinity for Mother Nature’s timeless beauty.
Make Tomorrow Easier: When time and energy are available, start the next day off right the night before. Do some extra cooking if time will be at a premium and refrigerate for the days to follow. Other examples are to scan the planner, pick tomorrow’s outfit, do a little extra cleaning (usually last on my list!), or work ahead with any other future task.
Reconnect: Make it a daily or habit of reconnecting with a special friend or family member every night, by text, letter, phone, visit, email, message in a bottle, or smoke signals. How is not near as important as why. Positive human relationships are a powerfully compelling force and should not be compromised for the sake of convenience, fear, or any other excuse. Displaying care towards loved ones will keep the cycle alive and mutually benefit both parties.
Unplug and Unwind: Rather than a routine of dinner, television, bed, replace extended periods of inactivity with any of the aforementioned activities. Artificial lighting and an over reliance on television can impair sleep, make relaxing difficult, and provide unnecessary stress at the end of the day.
Sound Sleep: Adequate sleep (7-8 hours for most people) seems to be compromised too often to make more time in the day. Getting enough quality sleep, allows the body to release high levels of the hormones necessary for rebuilding and repair. Eating prior to bed unduly keeps our metabolism’s “hands on deck,” and compromises the healing process. To improve sleep keep the electronics away, minimize artificial lighting, and add a favorite “de-stressing” strategy to the pre-bedtime routine.