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The perfect 24 hours

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A few years ago, I read a book called "Own The Day, Own Your Life", by Aubrey Marcus.

The premise is right up my alley: how to craft the perfect day, each and every day, in terms of your health, performance, and fulfillment.

While it has some mature content suitable only for adults, this seemed right in line with our self-care theme for educators and afterschool professionals.

I thought it was a unique and exciting approach to a book- to start with optimal strategies from the moment you wake up all the way until you fall asleep.

And what I love is he’s not afraid to challenge the most commonly held assumptions.

While I don’t do every single thing from the book, it has definitely changed my habits for the better and I’ve noticed a correlating increase in health, mood and performance.

Change #1: Don’t drink coffee first thing in the morning

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I used to be one of those, "don’t talk to me until I’ve had my morning coffee" people.

One, because I used to rely heavily on caffeine to stay awake. Two, because I loved (and still love) coffee.

But then when I started skipping breakfast for intermittent fasting, I’d have 2 cups (ok… 3+ cups- I said I love coffee) before putting anything in my stomach. And I would feel gross from that, mentally and physically.

Then, I read Own The Day, Own Your Life. The first part of the book is Marcus convincing people like me to resist that urge to drink coffee first thing in the morning.

My top takeaways for why we shouldn’t go coffee first: 

  1. We are dehydrated when we wake up. We can lose up to a pound of water per night, haven’t drank water since we fell asleep and caffeine offsets any hydration from water in your coffee.
  2. When you’re dehydrated, he equates drinking caffeine first thing to setting off a fire alarm in your body because of how fast the caffeine enters your bloodstream. Or "like you’ve been woken up chased by a predatory cat." Maybe it’s effective first thing in the morning, but it’s not as effective for the rest of the day or as healthy long-term.
  3. If you’re so tired you can’t function without your coffee, you might need to look at your sleeping habits.

Since then, I’ve relied on the morning trifecta instead:

Change #2: The morning trifecta

1. Morning Cocktail

clear glass bottle with white flowersPhoto by Brittney Weng for unsplash.com

  • 12 oz water
  • 3 grams sea salt
  • ¼ lemon, squeezed

This helps your body rehydrate after 6-8+ hours of dehydration.

While I don’t always do the morning cocktail itself, I do always drink water and a greens mix before I drink coffee if I’m fasting, and if I eat breakfast I typically eat before I even have coffee.

2. Sunlight

green trees and brown dried leaves during daytimePhoto by Michael Held for unsplash.com

5-10 minutes of direct exposure to sunlight is step 2. This is harder during Chicago winters, but much easier during the other months and even more so with our new puppy, Pam.

"Biologically, we are supposed to wake up with the sun and go to sleep with the stars. This is the timing that our body patterned for millennia, and the essence of circadian rhythm."

3. Movement

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This doesn’t have to be a morning workout, just 1-3 minutes of more intense movement (burpees, for example) or 5-10 minutes of light movement (yoga).

My morning movement looks like catch and/or a walk with Pam, a 5-minute mobility routine, and later in the morning a morning workout.

Change #3: Naps

seal laying on benchPhoto by @jackmanchiu for unsplash.com

I’ve always struggled with naps. This book not only gave me permission to nap, but encouraged it.

Our circadian rhythm (mentioned above) actually encourages us to nap,

It’s why the siesta exists in other countries.

I don’t nap every day, but now when I feel tired in the afternoon, I turn on a Harry Potter audiobook and at least close my eyes for 30 minutes instead of pouring an afternoon cup of coffee.

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These are only a few of the common assumptions Aubrey Marcus challenges in this book, including saturated fat, cholesterol, dessert and working out.

And as the successful founder of Onnit, he has some credibility.

Get Own The Day, Own Your Life on Amazon

Here’s to your perfect day.

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