As sure as the rising and setting of the sun, Monday comes. Whether it means back to school or back to work, it's a chance to begin again -- if you can stay awake.
Here are 10 things you can try this Monday and every Monday thereafter to feel better, look better and work better:
1. Get your vitamin D.
One of the most essential daily nutrients, vitamin D has a range of benefits for the body. Most notably, it assists in the absorption of minerals like calcium and magnesium to strengthen the bones and teeth and supports the body's immune system to fight off threats of infection and illness. Adults age 70 and below should get 600 IU of vitamin D per day, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Adults older than age 70 should get 800 IU of vitamin D on a daily basis.
2. Stretch for 10 minutes.
Whether you do it when you first get up in the morning, during your lunch hour or before bed, stretching helps you maintain flexibility throughout the body and build strength in the muscles. Stretching also encourages proper circulation -- keeping the blood flowing throughout the body brings oxygen to all the vital organs and prevents blood clots. Stretching can also help you relax and reduce stress -- just don't push yourself to the point of pain.
3. Exercise for at least 30 minutes in the morning.
Moving the body regularly is crucial for sustained health. Aiming for 30 minutes a day will support cardiovascular health and help maintain the joints. Why work out in the morning? Training at this time will give you energy for the rest of the day and allow you to unwind when you get home from work or school. Make sure to eat within an hour of exercising and after for healthy muscles and enjoy a glass of tart cherry juice to combat muscle soreness the next day.
4. Cook to fight inflammation.
Making your own meals from scratch will not only help you save money on takeout, but also ensure you know exactly what's in your food and how it affects you. Use this knowledge to your advantage by including ingredients like garlic, ginger and turmeric, which are known anti-inflammatories. Inflammation is a normal response to injury or illness, but it can get out of control and cause physical discomfort and damage. Chronic pain can impede your productivity as well as your sleep throughout the week.
5. Take your fish oil.
While the exact benefits of fish oil continue to be studied, we do know it contains omega-3 essential fatty acids, which have been shown in published studies to benefit the brain as well as the heart. A fish oil supplement is a great way to get more of these healthy fats into your diet to safeguard these vital organs and help you feel more alert and energized. Look for one that contains both EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and store it in the fridge to maintain freshness.
6. Boost energy with a green drink.
If you normally reach for coffee or an energy drink in the morning, you probably also need one midway through the day to stay focused. That's because these drinks contain caffeine as well as sugar, which can give you a jolt of energy to start the day and then make you crash. A green drink is a more natural way to boost your energy thanks to the vitamin and mineral-rich fruits and vegetables within. Put some in a water bottle to enjoy on your commute and see how you feel.
7. Organize your goals.
Keeping yourself organized will help you stay on track all week long, so don't be afraid to plan. Make lists, make lists from those lists and do what it takes to keep it all straight. This will benefit your mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. Make sure to schedule in some time for yourself to take a bath, read or even join a local sports league. Still have trouble with stress? A supplement like passionflower can help you overcome your nerves.
8. Pack lunches.
Take some time on Monday to prep your lunches for the rest of the week. If you have leftovers from dinner on Monday, take that and then get everything else ready. Make sure to include fiber-rich foods like whole grains or produce (apples and avocados are great) to keep you full and energized throughout the day. An arsenal of healthy snacks like nuts or dried fruit is also a good idea. Getting everything chopped and stored the night before will save time in the morning -- just be sure to put a note on your bathroom mirror so you don't forget to grab it!
9. Drink plenty of water.
Whether you slept in or over-indulged throughout the weekend, many of us start the week dehydrated. Make Monday the day you focus on rehydrating the body. Aim for eight, 8 fl-oz glasses of water per day. You can also add more hydrating foods to your meals and snacks that day, such as watermelon or cucumbers. Keep it up during the week to flush out toxins, fuel your body during exercise and even give your skin a nice radiant glow.
10. Set a bedtime.
Giving yourself a bedtime and sticking to it allows the whole body to stay on schedule. The benefits of a good night's sleep are endless -- your digestive system will work better, your immune system will stay strong and you'll burn more calories throughout the day. Try a cup of chamomile tea before bed to fall asleep more easily without the use of sleeping pills. Leave your phone away from the bed and turn off the television to allow yourself eight hours of rest.
If you suffer from any medical conditions or if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with your doctor before adding any of the aforementioned supplements to your daily routine.
Change can be good. Shop for the products mentioned in this post and more at eVitamins. Have a great week!