High Leverage Moves in Self-Care

Leveraging Time in Self-Care

Time leverage is not just about business productivity.  Apply it to self-care(nutrition, exercise, recovery and resilience) and see your benefits explode!

We All Have 10 Minutes!  Leverage your 10 minutes by 4X and more!

“2-fers”, “3-fers”, even “4-fers”!

Leverage in Nutrition

Eat whole foods – 4X

Simply stay on the outside wall of the grocery store!  No aisles!  On the outside wall, you will find protein, vegetables, berries, fruit, and dairy.  Staying on the outside aisle of the grocery store saves time going up and down aisles!  But won’t cooking add time?  Sear fish or a steak in 10 minutes!  Or oven cook and work at the same time.  Cooking whole foods simply need not take time.  You save time: you have more energy, productivity and less time going to the doctor! 

Eating whole foods helps you avoid disease-linked sugar, processed foods, fast foods.  Easting whole foods is a 4-fer because if you stick to foods from the outside wall, you also avoid these nutritional villains. 

Eat prebiotic foods – 4X

Most have heard of probiotics such as yogurt and fermented foods, which populate our gut with “good”bacteria.  This is great, except we need a balance of good and bad bacteria.  The average person (if that person exists) is eating so much junk and fast food that probiotics help because their “bad” gut bacteria is likely running the show.  However, probiotics just add certain good bacteria, risking a less diverse and less balanced microbiome.  The most effective way to encourage microbiome diversity is to directly feed those organisms rather than try and“re-populate” them.  

Prebiotics are mostly not digestible until they arrive at the microbiome.  Bacteria feed off prebiotics, helping re-balance and increase microbiome diversity.  Feeding your microbiome with prebiotics supports improved gut health, less leaky gut, improved vagal tone, and improved mood.  Prebiotics are an excellent source of fiber which also helps us feel full. Examples of prebiotics are raw garlic,onion, leek, asparagus, and Jerusalem Artichoke.

Intermittent Fasting – 4X

Intermittent Fasting (IF) gives you back time!  That’s leverage!  No breakfast preparation!  You fit your eating into two meals instead of 3.  This style of eating takes us closer to our ancestral roots of hunter gatherers. We have been hunter gatherers for 180,000 years before we started farming 10-20,000 years ago.  While you are fasting, Autophagy, the cleaning out of sick cells, kicks in.  As part of your natural circadian rhythm, a cortisol boost gives you energy to wake up.  When we eat, some energy is used to digest. Fasting through the morning allows us to use all that cortisol energy to work productively and work out energetically. What can you drink while fasting? Nothing with carbs as Autophagy will stop if insulin rises.  Drinks that will not raise insulin are coffee with heavy cream, coconut or butter (no sugar), plain tea, and water.  Juices are heavy in fructose and will raise insulin.

Leverage in Exercise

Walk in nature, at sunrise or sunset – 4X

Walking is the king of exercise.  A brisk walk builds aerobic capacity faster than running (which risks taking you into anaerobic range, and risks more injury).  And I’m an ultramarathoner!  Walking in nature can boost your vagal tone(flexibility to calm down quickly after stress) and if you are walking on an ancient forest floor, kicking up some magic dust, and breathing through your nose, you can improve the diversity of your microbiome.  If this walk is at sunrise or sunset (not the safest time if you are in that forest, fyi), then you can get more in rhythm with the rise and fall of the sun, and improve your sleep by resetting your circadian rhythm.  All that oxygen,aerobic energy and positivity allows us to see more options, boosting creativity and generating wonderful new ideas for life and business.

Dance or yoga or martial arts –4X

Certain types of yoga are more aerobic, as are dance and martial arts. At home you can do these between zoom calls, 10 minutes at a time.  When I am fitting in yoga, I just do poses that will work in the shoes I am already wearing, just standing on my floor.  That allows me to fully utilize my 10 minutes.  Yoga, dance, and martial arts have multiple benefits of increased confidence, flexibility, longevity,and positivity.  Doing something aerobic that is more creative and different is great for long term brain health.

Weightlifting or Body Weight Resistance – 4X

Never lifted weights?  Don’t want to go to a gym?  No problem. Start where you are!  

You perform body weight exercises everyday: getting up and down from a chair, couch or toilet.  Start by doing those more mindfully, slowly lowering down or getting up.  First squat done!  Then you can try repeating these movements.  Then move to air squats, or even lowering down to a stool that is lower than your chair.  Go at your pace.  If you lift something heavy, repeatedly, you are doing weights.  The most beneficial are full-body core survival exercises: squats, pull-ups, push-ups, planks,sit-ups, and lunges.  Be mindful if you sit all day, sit-ups add to that motion of crouching over.  After sitting all day, it’s great to focus on rear chain exercises (hamstring, back, etc., the back of your body) like plank,squats and pull-ups. Download the My10Min App for 10 minute routines.

Weight training builds a great foundational infrastructure for long-term health and injury prevention.  Confidence increases, positivity increases and your metabolism increases.  Your body shape improves.

Leverage in Recovery & Resilience

Meditation – 4X

Meditation has been scientifically shown (via fMRIs) to rewire your brain, increasing positivity, resilience, and productivity while improving your vagal tone (calming effect of vagus nerve).

For so long, I avoided meditating.  I thought I was too hyper.  And who has the time?  Then I took one class.  The teacher stated “The only thing you know for sure is that you are breathing.  All the rest is a matter of perspective!” 

How can you meditate in 10 minutes?  Find a comfortable place to sit and do a few movements or stretches so you feel you could sit still for 5 minutes.  Put on relaxing music and a 5-minute timer.  Close your eyes and say to yourself: “I breathe in”, then “I breathe out”, as you experience your breath.  If thoughts wander to matters of the day, go back to noticing and stating your breathing.  When the timer chimes you are done.  I started at 5 minutes and then do what I feel like, up to 15 minutes.  Nothing to add pressure to your day.  You could try it out right now!

Yoga – 4X

There are many options for yoga,from heated and very difficult to Yin and Stretch yoga.  For resilience, gentler yoga styles will serve you.  Standing still increases your strength, as does holding any pose. Relaxing yin yoga improves flexibility through letting go.  When people are under anesthesia, they are very flexible!  Yin yoga emphasizes NOT trying to get your biggest gains.  This is an especially powerful skill in societies which value action.  As you increase physical flexibility through letting go, your brain learns to let go. Yoga acts as a moving meditation to train you to let go.  This improves your vagal tone.  Higher vagal tone is associated with a healthier heart, lower blood pressure, lower stress, stronger immune system and higher physical and mental resilience! You feel centered!

Self-Therapy and Reflection –4X

fMRIs (Functional MRIs) have shown Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to drive the most physical change in the brain.  You can literally rewire your brain (or with the help of a CBT professional, whichever is better for you).  CBT psychology is similar to Stoic Philosophy.  In CBT, you reflect on the locus of control.  If something is under your control (your thoughts, feelings, actions, and immediate environment) then focus on it.  If it is outside of your control, then only question how you think, feel, act towards it.  Do not try and change what you cannot.  Timeless wisdom repeated often with the Serenity Prayer.

Thoughts become feelings.  How do you question them before they are embedded as feelings and emotions? Notice the thought:
  • “He doesn’t show up when he said he would.” = External event, not in your control
  • “He doesn’t care.” = Thought
  • “I’m broken hearted and don’t love him anymore.” = Feeling

Challenge and Undermine Negative Beliefs

What can you do?  The moment you notice the thought, “He doesn’t care”, start creating multiple conflicting and equally possible thoughts like: “He had an emergency”, “He’s embarrassed”.

Why does introducing conflicting thoughts work to short circuit negative thoughts and emotions?  Your brain experiences cognitive dissonance and tosses out all of the thoughts since there are so many conflicting ones.  This process short circuits the path to you changing how you feel.  You wait for further evidence, rather than reacting to each small moment. This process is not meant to stifle intuition, it is only meant to stop us from suffering by reacting without the facts.

Is there an Upside/Downside?

The upside is challenging negative thoughts reduces our own suffering.  The downside I have experienced is that negating thoughts can SOMETIMES lead to delaying a needed change.  Pain can be a valuable message.  If you keep challenging the same negative thoughts, it may be time for action!

Summary:10-minute Leveraged Self-Care:

  • Nutrition: Eat Whole Foods, Fermented Foods, and Intermittent Fast
  • Exercise: Walking, Dancing, Weightlifting
  • Resilience: 10 minutes of Yoga, Meditation, and CBT

Feel free to download the My10Min App for high leverage 10 minute tips on the go.

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