Morning Rituals: The Sunscreen of Boundaries

Do you have a story that ever began with, “and then I realized I forgot the sunscreen”? As a swimmer growing up, I remember this feeling when I saw myself in the mirror after swim meets. I think the best descriptor would be a cotton-candy colored raccoon, with pink covering my face except for the stark white rings around my eyes and white band across my forehead.

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Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

A morning routine can have a similar impact on our day as remembering or forgetting to pack the sunscreen. Imagine planning a sunny beach day trip, arriving, automatically applying your sunscreen, and then being able to fulfill all the fun activities you’d hoped to. On the other hand, a day with forgotten sunscreen may seem just fine, but when you get home to shower and finally feel the burn, it sinks in how impactful that one early choice could have been. Just like we can remember to pack the sunscreen next time, we can remember to make early morning choices that will impact our day for the better.

 

When we start our day off with choosing healthy routines, it tends to set the tone for the rest of the day. Below are 4 morning rituals to set a boundary for and enjoy a more fulfilled day. I’ve also included a great takeaway tool to help you feel more organized and enabled to apply these routines daily.

  1. Start with being inspired. Read or listen to something that enlightens you. This can be as easy as a positive quote or a 30-minute-study from a spiritual text like the Scriptures or a moving author like Wayne Dyer. It’s vital to start with wise reminders and truths to anchor yourself in through the ups and downs of the day.
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    Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

    Harmonize your thoughts. It’s best to start with an inspiring read, then delve into meditation or prayer because you can now consciously internalize those lessons. You can ponder a question you’ve been considering, seek for inspired support, express gratitude, or just work on creating mental boundaries for your thoughts to be intentional. It can be time used to apply some of this month’s mindfulness suggestions. Begin to gently let go of negativity and embrace strengthening beliefs.

  3. Create your day. I love how the creation story shows how God started each day with a plan. One day was light day. He said it and dedicated Himself to it until He completed His vision for that day. If we go forward with a clear vision in mind, writing down what we want to accomplish in doable actions, we’re much more likely to achieve it and feel “it is good” at the close of the day. If you write your day’s plan the night before, it’s even better. Researcher, Brian Tracy, explains that your energies focus on accomplishing those actions through the night, and you’re better prepared to achieve them the next day.
  4. Break fast. Start with drinking water that isn’t cold. This stimulates bowel motility so you can eliminate and feel lighter starting off. Then eat real, hearty foods. We’ll cover this more in detail another time, but examples include green smoothies, turkey bacon, (unprocessed) oatmeal with added seeds and fruit, or a variety of egg combinations. The more the food resembles the form it came out of the earth rather than sugary cereals with look-alike four-leaf clovers, the more sustained you’ll feel through the day.

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 7.53.22 PMYour takeaway tool!

Here’s a wonderful app to help you set goals and organize your day. I’ve been amazed that I can jot down my to-do lists, and it’s automatically populated into my iCalendar. It’s really helping my husband and I to enjoy life more just because we have more defined order and vision. The bonus is that it’s free!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/goal-setting-brian-tracy-life/id901800555?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Weekly Challenge:

If you want to look back on your day with joy rather than feeling burned, pack your sunscreen by trying these out:

  1. Create a time boundary to implement 1 new item to your morning rituals: be inspired, harmonize your thoughts, create your day, or break fast.
  2. Set a goal to make the 1 new item a habit this week, and work towards having each become part of your morning routine. You’ll likely need at least 30 minutes to effectively implement all of them. I believe you can do it as you grow in setting healthy boundaries for yourself.
  3. Share! You are a whole woman and the world needs you to link your wholeness to those around you. You can either share with us a great routine you enjoy each morning, or share with others what you’ve learned so they can pack their sunscreen and enjoy their days more too.

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    Photo by Leo Rivas-Micoud on Unsplash

Mindful Eating: A Restorative Boundary

Let’s talk about some food basics. My understanding in nutrition didn’t start in academia learning about magnesium’s effect on sleep and cramps, or enzymatic malfunctions when we eat trans fats.  It was much more of an elementary beginning (well, technically high school). It all started with a cookie.

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Photo by Jade Wulfraat on  Unsplash

My immune system had tanked when I was 14. As I was working to regain my health, I began to detect suppressive patterns. One eureka moment I had was during a church youth night where they had my favorite treats—cookies. After finishing one cookie and biting into a second, I noticed my nose started to run. Soon enough I was sneezing, had a sore throat, and my eyes were swelling and watering from the ensuing congestion. The next day I had yet another cold. I remember thinking how strange it was to come on so strongly and with such immediacy. I then began to notice every time I had a sweet treat, the same downward spiral would occur.

 

No matter our age, we can each begin to detect the positive and negative effects food has on us. Learning to recognize how foods make us feel can have a powerful impact on our health, emotions, and longevity. In fact, there is a poignant adage from ancient Eastern medicine that depicts the beautiful freedoms the foods can allow us:

If diet is wrong, medicine is of no use.

If diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” 

One simple way to know what diet is wrong or right for you is by paying attention to how it makes you feel. By learning how cookies made me feel back in my youth, I began to recognize that pastas made me feel bloated and drinking from plastic water bottles made my throat itch. I also perceived what foods were “correct” for me. Sunflower seeds became a snack that kept me satiated longer and fresh fruit curbed my sweet tooth and strengthened my immune system, thus letting “food be [my] medicine” (Hippocrates).

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Photo by Brooke Lark on  Unsplash

At our most recent seminar, I shared that the way we feel affects how we fill, and vice versa. This is putting that principle to action. So for example, if we’re feeling frail either emotionally or physically, instead of further depleting ourselves with sugar spikes or caffeine, we can savor a hearty soup, like vegetable quinoa. If we’re feeling heavy, a nice avocado and berry smoothie or salad can help us feel lighter. The other side of the coin is noticing that how we fill affects how we feel. You can check in with yourself after eating and see, “Did this make me feel sick, bloated, jittery, or did it make me feel comforted, revitalized, and healthier in some way?” This is practicing mindfulness in eating.

 

Our challenge this month is the same that I start with every patient who sees me, whether for hormonal balance, emotional stability, or digestive support: add foods that are healing. We aren’t going to focus on cutting foods right now. As Sommer mentioned in the recent seminar, we want to build off our strengths. When we start being our own barometer, we don’t have to follow fad diets, but instead be self-regulating. We can then continue on the track of keeping healthy boundaries that nurture our well-being rather than feeling pulled or torn by other’s opinions.

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Photo by Jenn Evelyn-Ann on Unsplash

Weekly Challenge

As we discuss boundaries this month in order to create more healing environments, the same end goal can be applied as we set boundaries for eating. Consider applying these goals for the next week, and work them into a new habit:

 

  • Have the end goal of being healthy so I can fulfill the measure of my creation
  • Perceive how foods make me feel—well or unwell. (Be honest with yourself)
  • Create a boundary to add and eat more foods that make me feel good

-Dr. Crystal Nix Dayton, DC, CAc