I have a confession to make. I am 36 and have been a nocturnal guy for most of my life and career. My most productive parts of the day (okay, night) would be from 11 pm to 2 am, where I used to get most of my creative work done. I thoroughly detested waking up in the morning for an early meeting with clients. Social commitments were a stretch, as most events happen first thing in the day, and I would end up groggy-eyed in the wedding, stifling yawns till I could drag myself to the food counters.
I had a bunch of colleagues who used to prod me into trying a morning routine (yes, we all have those friends) and I used to berate them for trying to change me and my lifestyle. But one fine day, I happened to chance upon 2 books, ‘Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod and ‘Why We Sleep’ by Mathew Walker and that book changed my perception of trying a morning routine. I know, I see your eyes rolling on such a cliched trope, but here is why and how it went down.
My daughter’s school started at 8.20 in the morning, and I used to miss this opportunity to bond with her while dropping her off to school. A few more years and she would be doing that stretch by herself, and I would end up regretting it in my final days, that I lost the chance to have this quality time with her. So I decided I had to give my morning routine a shot. I had this nagging fear in the back of my mind that I might end up like a sloth-man constantly playing catch-up with sleep, vainly trying to find my outlet in the absence of my previous nightly slot.
“Your habits will determine your future.” – Jack Canfield
I started out doing the SAVERS technique which Hal elaborates in his book. And while I think it is a crummy acronym, all of the techniques work well, if you do them consistently. The reason why I am writing this is to provide additional commentary to the SAVERS technique as a recently-turned-morning person and how you too could benefit from making that shift as a nocturnal person.
Start slow and easy, the night before
Please do not try to drag yourself to bed at 9-10 pm, thinking this would help you wake up in the morning. You might only end up staring wide-eyed at the ceiling until 2 am. The things that will help you hit the bed at the right time to wake up refreshed are the activities that lead up to your bed-time routine. Some of them might be patronizing (I felt the exact way you are reading through this), but I decided to keep my prejudice aside for trying this out once to see if it helped.
- No Alcohol or caffeine after 7 pm: I am a teetotaller, but I drink copious amounts of coffee (no time was a bad time for coffee, according to me) so abstaining from reaching for that coffee mug after 7 pm was tough. I ended up replacing the 8 pm coffee with a 10 pm hot chocolate (without sugar) and that worked wonders in settling me down for bed.
- No TV and mobile viewing an hour before bed: This was the most unsettling part. We used to watch TV during and right after dinner as a routine, and there was always Instagram and LinkedIn (beware that endless scroll) to browse through in bed. This was tough too, but agreeing on this routine with my wife helped make both of us accountable, and a few days of bickering later, we were able to make it work.
- Affirmations for bedtime: The affirmations that Hal talks about to perform in the morning work well in your bedtime routine too. Consistently telling yourself that you need to wake up at 6 am right before you sleep, is a subconscious way of telling your brain that this needs to happen. It might take a few more alarms before you internalize it, but give it time.
Take a power nap, if you have to
Settling into a morning routine in the first week is tough, and you might find yourself frequently hitting the lows as early as 11 am. Chances are you reach out for the coffee mug and you hit the depth again right after lunch. Then you go down that endless spiral of pumping yourself with caffeine until you get to finally go home and crash.
To avoid this unfortunate series of events, it is better to yield and time yourself for a short nap of 15-20 min. Now before you cry hoarse and say you will get fired if your boss caught you napping, I am only recommending this right before lunchtime. Take a bio break or catch these winks in a break room, and if you work remotely, take a quick nap on the couch. These 15-20 minutes have helped me reset my sleep patterns effectively and give me a boost in productivity, way more than any coffee would grant me.
Run the morning errands
If you feel running errands is no mighty purpose to give up on sleep in the morning, think again. It has been widely studied that making the bed first thing in the morning helps stimulate a sense of accomplishment and sets the course for the day. In my case, setting the bed, getting the daughter ready for school and getting the morning walk in the sun has made a huge difference in the motivation to wake up every day. Again, sharing the motivational goals with the family helps. My wife takes the evening shopping done, while I step out in the morning to finish household chores.
These simple techniques, combined with the SAVERS technique by Hal Elrod, have helped me get into the morning routine and (brace for it) also start enjoying it. I get my creative streak to write in multiple intervals during the day, and not just in the wee hours of the night. And last but not least, I get to talk to my daughter every day on our bike ride to school and she waves to me right before she enters the school gates, which is the best reward any father could ask for to make his day, every day.
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We all strive to be better every day. Most of us want a new day to bring something new, and we plan for it as well. Of course, the execution is debatable as procrastination is real and it becomes an overwhelming feeling at times. Also, not to forget the customary practice of making resolutions on new year’s eve! All of us are fascinated by the thought of preparing long lists of resolves to mark the beginning of a new year. Not sure how many people are able to translate these resolutions into functional realities. (more…)
4 Reasons Why Content Is Pivotal For Mental Health Healing
One of the most important things for an entrepreneur’s mental health is expressing their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. This is where content creation and writing becomes pivotal. Whether you read something that resonates with you or you write a compelling blog post, the act of expressing yourself through content can help to put a smile on your face and make you feel better about things.
Most entrepreneurs don’t spend as much time taking care of their mental health as they should. Over the course of your career, you will experience a lot of ups and downs; these emotions have the potential to take a toll on your mind and body if you don’t learn to manage them properly.
Here are four reasons why expression through content is pivotal for healing, slowing yourself down, and giving yourself grace when the going gets tough.
1. Content can be a form of self-expression
When you are an entrepreneur, you frequently face feelings of insecurity, doubt, fear, apathy, and exhaustion, just to name a few. Some days it feels like no one is on your business’s side and everyone else has it all figured out. On those days some of us try to look at our website’s analytics to cheer up.
But an even more freeing task is creating content. You create content to improve your business and reach more people’s lives. But, there is something special that happens when you write with the intention of expressing your thoughts and feelings — you open a door to yourself.
Content is inherently personal, which means content creators open themselves up when they share their thoughts on a platform. Everything from the title of the post, the keywords they choose to include, and even the content itself helps you to understand who the author of that post truly is. And as an entrepreneur, this can be an important experience because it allows others to empathize with you.
As you think through what to write about and how to express yourself, the process of self reflection is a valuable step you need to go through. You’re able to reflect on the blessings you have, assess what you learned from the negative experiences, and create a plan on how to maintain the positive experiences you’ve had.
There are a few ways that self reflection can help you with mental health healing. The act of reflecting on your experiences helps to create clarity in feelings, thoughts and emotions which will eventually lead into acceptance for what has happened or is happening currently without feeling overwhelmed by it all. This process also leads people towards finding new things they enjoy doing. Self reflection is therapeutic and can be implemented anytime you feel the need to overcome overwhelm.
“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” – Hal Elrod
3. A sense of belonging and camaraderie
It is important to have a support network of people who will listen and understand what you are going through. When you post a blog or upload a video on YouTube, there are others who feel the same way and experience a sense of connection with you.
When you put time, attention and thoughtfulness into your writing, it is amazing when someone reads what you’ve written and comments on it thanking you or expressing how they resonate with what you’re going through. It’s hard to put into words how powerful it feels when someone who has gone through the same experience and reads your words then reaches out. There is power in expression but miracles happen when people bond over a similar experience.
4. Library of content to share with more people
It can be very difficult to know what content to share with people as the symptoms of mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, etc.) vary from person to person. But as you accumulate more and more content, this will increase the number of articles or videos available for readers to choose from depending on their specific purpose. It also builds your personal library of resources you’re able to share to different people you encounter or engage directly with.
As chaotic and distracting social media can be, it can also be a beacon of hope with the right content. Many people share viral posts, or content that interest them. Since your content is valuable and personal, the more you share it, the more likely it is to be shared with the right audience.
You never know who is watching (reading)
Your content is speaking to someone and even though they may not be actively engaged, their experiences with your work are impacting them. Think about the last time you watched TV: did everyone in the room have something entertaining to say?
You never know who’s watching because there’s always somebody reading your posts or viewing your videos-even if they just skim through it briefly. This is why creating content worth consuming is critical, not only to get you out of your funk, but also to serve your audience. Be authentic and stay true to yourself; make every post count as an opportunity for connection with your best self and for potential readers to bond with you.
5 Ways To Invest In Yourself and Change Your Life
Warren Buffett once said, the best investment you can ever make is in yourself. Time and money spent on bettering yourself are never considered a waste. Whether it’s through learning how to make money online, exploring new ways to increase your financial security, or watching TED talks to expand your knowledge. Do not be stingy when it comes to self-improvement because it will definitely pay off in the end.
Need some ideas to get started on your journey to becoming a better you? Here are 5 ways to invest in yourself and transform your life.
1. Change Your Self-Concept
Having a negative self-concept can have a tremendous impact on your life. Limiting beliefs and self-doubt are some of the main reasons why many never achieve or attempt to pursue their dreams. Take a moment and think about all the negative thoughts you have repeated to yourself throughout your life. How have these thoughts impacted the way you live life? From now on, create a new self-image by turning these negative thoughts into positive ones and appreciate your good qualities.
2. Sign Up For An Online Course
If you’ve been wanting to brush up on your Photoshop skills or learn how to code professionally, this is the perfect time to get started. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can access an endless amount of valuable information online. For example, sites like Coursera and Youtube are both awesome resources for online learning. With a few search strings and clicks, you can find all the information you need.
3. Learn From a Mentor
No matter which stage of your life you are currently in, working with a mentor can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. Not only can they guide you in the right direction, but also transform your vision, provide you with new insights, and connect you with amazing resources. If you’re feeling unmotivated or unsure about what you want to do in life, consider finding a mentor to help you navigate this process.
4. Start A Side Hustle
The salary from a 9-5 job would rarely allow you to reach your maximum income potential. Why not achieve financial success while pursuing your passion by starting a side hustle? Whether it’s through starting an ecommerce business, freelance writing on the side, or starting a Youtube channel. There are infinite numbers of ways to make money, and there is bound to be one out there that fits your passion and skills.
5. Nourish Your Body
As many may say, “health is the new wealth”. Without a healthy and functioning body, living a fulfilling and comfortable life becomes difficult. To take care of your body and prioritize your wellbeing, start with small habits such as eating healthier foods and exercising regularly. Bike or walk to work instead of taking the car, and opt for a healthy protein bowl instead of greasy burgers at Burger King. With time, these small habits can make an incredible difference.
Check out the infographic below, to see more ways you can invest in yourself:
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