What is a Healthy Daily Routine?
Written by Dr. Larry
Everyday in the ER, watching people live their lives, I think about what makes the difference between robust and kicking ass in the 80s, and toast in the tombstone in the 50s or nursing home wheelchair in the 70s. And I’m convinced more and more that it comes down to what we do everyday. Habits. A big part of that is our daily routines.
Dr. Jason Littleton MD and I talked about routines not only of his patients, but of what he actually does himself. It’s one thing to prescribe advice, yet another to actually take your own medicine. This week’s article and video are about the routines that this good doctor actually has in his own life.
And for me personally, several of the things he does have affected my own. I wonder what do you do on a daily basis? How might tweaking your daily routines make your life better, more productive or get you more of whatever it is you really want? What can you takeaway from Dr. Jason’s routines that might be worth adding to your life?
We start, not with waking up, but with the pregame. With what you do the night before. This was something I hadn’t thought a lot about before. Of planning out your day, but doing this, the night before. Not minute by minute micromanaging insanity, but general visualizing of daily goals, desired feelings/outcomes, maybe even specific tasks. Just aligning your expectations of the day to come so that you are ready to rock when you get up.
Do you do anything the night before to prep for the day? How might you use this to your advantage? (Comments, tweets, welcome. @DrLarryBurchett. I’m curious.)
So much variety here. I suspect many of us, like me, wake up at the last minute and fly out of the house. My days are always better when I get up and give some time to a few things. Like exercise, reviewing basic goals/mission and visualizing the day. Prayer/meditation, a moment of gratitude.
One thing I like about what Dr Jason does that helped me–he keeps these things short, to 5-10 minutes. Even exercise in the AM, he just does 10 minutes of high intensity. My tendency with all of these is to reflect for an hour, mull over the day for 30 mintues, workout for 90 minutes, on and on. And the day never starts. Not practical. Doesn’t work. And probably part of why those elements are not a part of my daily routines. Leaving money on the table, Lorenz.
What elements of your morning routine are the most important? Which might you add to make your day and life better, even if it meant just getting up 10 min or 20 min earlier? What works?
It’s easy to jump to the night time routine, as the business of the day often takes care of itself. But therein lies a whole chunk of routine. We could talk about anything from nutrition and exercise, to thought patterns and work habits. But I want to just focus on a couple.
First is food. Do you prioritize fueling your body during the day? Making sure you have the food to give you energy to do what you need to do? Not starving yourself because you want to lose fat, but actually using food to supply daily energy, and prevent the starvation stress many experience when not prioritizing taking in high quality fuel. How often do you eat? How do you feel, are you hungry? These sorts of questions? And how does the quality of food you eat affect your day? Are you eating healthier foods that give you good energy, or less healthy junk that slows and bogs you down?
Exercise. When can it work? One patient works out at lunch, another parent gets up early. I often like to hit the gym on the way home from a day shift–it’s easier than getting off the couch. For you, what would the best time for 30 minutes be, if any? And if you don’t have that much, could you at least squeeze in a 15 min break walk at work? Remember, we are talking about tweaking routines–if it doesn’t fit with your life, it ain’t gunna stay for the long haul. When would be best for you?
Mindfulness. I believe in the value of momentary pauses during our busy days. The pause for anything, to be present, to smell the flowers, to be grateful, to be aware of your body, how you’re feeling. Just some consciousness on a daily basis in what is all too often a day on autopilot. Live awake on a daily basis.
Jason enlightened me to the often dead zone tv time after getting home/dinner and sleep, before the bedtime routine. For him, it’s focused on his small business, his hustle. Working hard. I’m not saying you need a second job or side gig, but I like that he points out the hours of valuable time in the evening for most that are easily given to tv. Maybe that’s a good way to wind down, maybe there’s something more productive or worthwhile you can do with that time.
The bedtime ritual is huge, not only in terms of communicating to your brain and body that it’s time to shut down (dark lighting, no screen time), but in concluding the day, in letting things go. The importance of powering down that supercomputer in your head that’s been running, for most of us, almost like mad during the day. It takes more than just clicking the “power down” button to shut off our mind. Jason suggests using a journal to put down and get out the loose ends, including writing down several solutions, to help you let go. That’s a great power down routine.
What do you do now? How does it work for you? How might you tweak your bedtime routine to maximize sleep, reduce stress, and prep/be ready for the day to come?
Daily routines. So important. Daily routines -> destiny. Hope this review and video has been helpful to making yours serve you a little better.
I want to hear what you think.
Reply to comments below, or on IG/Twitter @DrLarryBurchett
Until next time
Cut the BS
Be your best. Today
Start with your health.