Categories
Health & Nutrition Self-care

My 6 AM Morning Routine For Energy & Productivity

I am not someone who naturally wakes up in a good mood. Quite the opposite. A lot of mornings I actually wake up with a lot of anxiety, and sometimes depression. I swear I could sleep most days until noon if I let myself. To combat this, I’ve developed a morning routine for optimal energy and productivity.

A quick disclaimer

Let me make something clear: My morning routine is not rigid. My morning routine may change based on my hormonal cycle or sleep patterns. It usually changes based on the season as well.

I am certainly not trying to tell you how to live or what you should do for your morning routine. Everybody is different, and this is just what works for me right now.

6 AM wake-up call

As someone who loves to sleep, waking up is always the hardest part of my day. However, there are a few tricks I’ve come up with to make sure I get out of bed on time.

It starts with the night before when I put my phone on airplane mode and set my alarm clock. When the alarm goes off at 5:45 AM, I hit snooze and give myself until 6 AM to sleep. Those extra 15 minutes give me the satisfaction of the snooze button, but to ensure that I actually wake up, I have a little trick that I want to share with you.

My early bird life hack

To make sure I actually get out of bed at 6 AM, I came up with a strategy that guarantees I wake up on time: I pay for an early workout class that I put on my calendar, which forces me to make that commitment and get myself up. This holds me accountable, because if I’ve already paid for a workout then I know I’ll be eating money if I don’t show up.

My 6:30 AM HIIT workout at DMN8 in Santa Monica

HIIT or hot yoga comes first

Moving my body first thing in the morning is essential for me. I switch every other day between hot yoga and HIIT training. This is the perfect balance between strength & cardio and mobility & recovery.

On this particular day, I am going to a HIIT workout. After brushing my teeth and getting dressed, I head out the door by 6:15 AM and drive to Santa Monica Beach to make my 6:30 AM DMN8 workout. No matter how hard I try, I usually end up being just one or two minutes late. There’s always a water bottle to fill or that one red light that slows me down. If I didn’t love hitting that snooze button so much, I think I would definitely make it on time!

Exercising for my mental health

Kick-starting my day with a challenge and a good sweat is always worth it. As someone who sometimes wakes up not feeling my best, choosing to start my day with a workout or hot yoga, helps me shift my mood immediately.

It may be a challenge, but there’s something about getting out of the mind and into the body that builds my confidence. I always leave my workout feeling like I can take on anything!

morning routine workout
I alternate every other day between hot yoga and HIIT training. This helps me have a balance between strength & cardio and mobility & recovery.

The ice bath

When I get home from my workout at 8 AM, I gear up for one of the most extreme parts of my morning routine: the ice bath.

I usually start with some movement exercises to get myself ready, which may include some very weird shaking movements, but I swear it helps get that adrenaline pumping to take on the ice. 

morning routine ice bath
Before getting in the 40-degree (Fahrenheit) ice bath, I do some shaking and movement exercises.

I choose to incorporate cold therapy in my daily routine for many reasons. First of all, doing ice baths has done absolute wonders for my mental health. The ice bath teaches me how to find contentment and presence, even in a challenging and uncomfortable situation, which is such incredible training for life! 

Learn more about why I still do ice baths and the Wim Hof Method!

In addition, the ice bath is fantastic for strengthening the immune system. Research has shown that cold therapy increases white blood cells, which help fight disease, and significantly reduces inflammation in the body.

morning routine ice bath
I spend 2-3 minutes in the ice bath while staying focused on my breath and gratitude

Time to slow down

From 8:15 – 8:30 AM, I treat myself to a warm shower. Shifting from the ice bath to one of the more relaxing parts of my morning routine always feels like stepping into a new reality.

morning routine bed making
I cannot start my workday without making my bed and cleaning my room.

I also love using this calming time after my shower to clean my room and make my bed. Honestly, I cannot start my workday until my bed is made and my space is clutter-free.

Red light therapy, journlaing, and meditation

By 8:40 AM, I dive into some infrared light therapy. This incredible practice has so many benefits including regulating circadian rhythms, promoting anti-aging, improving our skin and cellular health.

morning routine red light therapy
Journaling and meditation in infrared light therapy

I use this time bathing in the red light to get clear on my intentions and to do some journaling. I use a lot of journaling techniques I learned from my mindset coach.

Then, I call in the energy I want to attract for the day and do my Dr. Joe Dispenza meditations until around 9 AM.

I love Dr. Joe Dispenza’s meditations in the morning!

Morning nutrients

At 9:15 AM, I head on over to my juice bar to make some cucumber juice. This has been my go-to summertime drink because it’s super cooling and refreshing. 

morning routine cucumber juice
Cucumber juice has been my go-to summertime drink! after drinking this, I wait at least 15 minutes before having anything else.

Then, at 9:20 AM, I slow down with a warm drink I invented. I call it “The Blue Zone Drink” because I make it from this special Maya nut powder I found in Nicoya, Costa Rica, which is a “blue zone.” The Blue Zones are areas of the world where residents live the longest, healthiest lives.

The Maya nut has been shown to improve longevity and includes tons of nutrients and minerals including fiber, zinc, potassium, magnesium, protein, iron, and copper. 

morning routine Blue Zone drink
The Blue Zone drink is made with Maya nut powder!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need if you’d like to blend your own Blue Zone Drink at home:

Although the Blue Zone drink can be a little chalky, it’s still pretty tasty and knowing that it’s packed with nutrition, makes it a little easier to drink. Since I quit caffeine, this has been a great coffee alternative.

Wrapping up my morning routine

morning routine work schedule
I usually start working by 9:30 or 10.

From 9:30 – 10:00 AM, I head into my home office and get to work. I usually give myself a good two hours of productivity before treating myself to the final part of my morning routine…

Breakfast!

Is it really a morning routine until you’ve had your avocado toast? I know this is basic AF, but there’s a reason why we all love avocado toast so much! 

morning routine breakfast
I do fine with gluten, as long as I get high-quality sourdough bread, which I pick up on Sundays from the local farmer’s market.
My morning routine is not rigid

I want to make it clear that I am not in any way “rigid” or “strict” about this routine. This happens to be working well for me right now, but my morning routine often shifts and changes based on the season. My morning routine may also change based on my hormonal cycle or sleep patterns.

Especially during my luteal and menstruation phase, I am a lot more gentle with myself. During this time I usually do a lot more yoga than HIIT workouts and I give myself plenty of rest and sleep. This is really important to consider being a woman with a shifting hormonal system called the infradian rhythm.

I also want to mention that this is my typical morning routine during weekdays. On weekends I definitely give myself more time to sleep and move slower. I have found it super helpful to take plenty of time to rest and slow down during the weekends so that I have plenty of energy to tackle the workweek.

Reflecting on my morning routine

Although my morning routine may shift and flow based on the time of the month or the season, I have found it highly beneficial to commit to some type of morning routine on most days. From getting myself to a 6:30 AM workout, to diving into that ice bath and taking time to set intentions and meditate, my morning routine sets me up for how I want to feel for the rest of the day.

My morning routine has massively improved my energy, productivity, and how I feel.

Watch the full YouTube video here!
Categories
Mindfulness Self-care

I Hired A “Mindset Coach” And Couldn’t Believe the Results

I never planned or expected to “hire a coach.” To be honest, I sort of thought that any type of “life coach” was a bit of a scam. But after working with a mindset coach for the past four months, I can honestly say that I feel quite differently now.

Why I “hired” a mindset coach (it sort of fell into my lap!)

Let me explain how this all went down. At the end of the summer, I received a random email in my inbox from a woman named Christina Spinazola, who told me that she is a “mindset coach” and felt strongly that I am someone who would “thrive” with this kind of coaching. 

At first, I was both confused and skeptical. Mindset coach? What does that even mean?

But what made me give Christina a chance is that she is also a big fan of Dr. Joe Dispenza. She explained that her style of coaching aligns with quantum physics and many of the models that Dr. Joe discusses. Because I have grown so much through learning about Dr. Joe and doing his meditations consistently, I warmed up to Christina. And when she offered me four months of FREE coaching… I could not pass up the opportunity.

I went into this with an open mind, to just see what might happen.

Meet my mindset coach Christina!
My amazing mindset coach, Christina Spinazola!

My mindset coach Christina Spinazola is a certified professional coach and a master practitioner in the Energy Leadership Index Assessment. She is young, adventurous, super smart, and found her passion for coaching during her own healing journey. You can read more about Christina on her website.

Christina has helped me get tangible results in my life through mindset coaching and I can’t believe how much of a transformation I have experienced throughout the past four months of working with her.

If you’ve been following Sky Life for a while you’ll know that I am super into personal development, meditation, manifestation, and mindset. I have tried all different types of wellness, spiritual, and personal development methods and modalities to improve my physical and mental health.

Some of what I have tried, I hold onto and continue with… like Dr. Joe Dispenza meditations… and others I never bother doing again, like this artificial intelligence workout bike named CAROL.

So when I began trying out mindset coaching with Christina, I had no idea what to expect or what kind of results I might see, if any.

Tangible Results

Before I continue and discuss how mindset coaching works, I want to list some of the real results that have come into my life since working with Christina. I am certainly not claiming that all of these things are a direct result of mindset coaching because there is no way to measure that. However, I strongly believe that mindset work has been a major contributing factor to all of this goodness coming into my life!

Granted, I am also in Witch School right now with Mia Magik, but I am not sure if the magic would be working as strongly if I didn’t have the mindset work to back it up.

So here are some REAL results that I have seen over the past four months:

  1. Subscriber growth on YouTube has doubled (per month)
  2. Revenue has increased significantly
  3. “Manifested” my dream new home
  4. “Manifested” a FREE, luxury vacation to Costa Rica
  5. Experienced the most magical New Year’s of my life

And these results did not happen because I was working more hours, strategizing, and taking more action. Christina helped me shift my beliefs above all else and actually do less. Wait… what?! How does that work?!

How does mindset coaching work?
Journaling exercises have been a huge part of working with my mindset coach.

Mindset coaching helps us witness and look at our thoughts objectively and with neutrality, so we can decide if our thoughts are serving us or hurting us.

“We think about 60-80 thousand thoughts per day,” Christina said. “But most of those thoughts are subconscious, meaning they happen on autopilot.”

Depending on our conditioning, it’s likely that our autopilot thoughts are not serving us. They are keeping us stuck. Mindset coaching is about taking back the steering wheel and deciding how we actually want to think and feel. It’s taking our power back to become the boss of our monkey mind and decide how we want to think and therefore live.

So often, we think that we need to take more action to get the results we want in life. However, all of these results truly start at a thought level. In order to change our results, we must start with our thoughts and beliefs.

I was definitely stuck in this limited way of thinking, where I believed that if I wasn’t working myself into the ground that I couldn’t possibly succeed. I am shocked and thrilled to say that these tangible results actually all happened when I started doing less and focused on being more.

What I did to change my mindset

Christina and I meet every week for a one-hour session. She helps me bring neutrality and objectivity to my beliefs and thoughts and see things from a different perspective. This is a game-changer when it comes to those pesky limiting beliefs that we all carry. Sometimes we can’t even see our own limitations. Christina is like my objective accountability buddy to call me out and question my own blocks and limiting beliefs. In doing this work, we have to be willing to get uncomfortable and take a hard look at ourselves. But that is where the growth comes from.

Journaling Exercises

Journaling exercises have been a huge part of this journey for me. I still wake up nearly every morning with anxiety. But instead of letting that dictate the rest of my day, I’ve learned that I have the ability to transform and transmute that anxiety into excitement.

I write down all of my “junky thoughts,” as Christina calls them, simply to identify what’s going on in my brain. Then, I work on my “bridge thoughts,” which are simply new thoughts that open me up to possibility, instead of limitations.

Shifting from limitation to possibility.

By simply writing, “It’s possible that…”  and coming up with a few ideas around pure potentiality and possibility, I am amazed at how quickly my brain and body can shift from anxiety to excitement. When we step out of fear and worry into possibility and excitement, we decide to live in a new dimension where we align our frequency to new outcomes that we may have been shutting ourselves off from before.

Quantum meditation
Dr. Joe Dispenza’s guided meditations are a great tool for mindset work.

Although meditation is not necessarily required or a part of Christina’s mindset coaching program, it’s something that has become complementary and important for me to really maximize the benefits of working with her.

Because mindset coaching is very aligned with quantum physics and the quantum model of the Universe, Dr. Joe Dispenza’s meditations have been a staple for me throughout the past four months. I typically do the “morning meditation” on most mornings, and I sometimes do his “evening meditation” as well. If you want to learn more about Dr. Joe, my go-to source is Gaia, the world’s largest streaming platform for conscious media. It’s basically like the “Netflix of spirituality.”

Would I recommend mindset coaching?

From my experience, I have absolutely loved mindset coaching with Christina and plan to continue working with her. Based on the results I have seen and how different I feel, I would absolutely recommend mindset coaching with Christina. If you want to sign up for her group coaching program Uninspired to Unstoppable (starting this month) here’s the link. With that being said, I always say this with everything that I try… I cannot promise or predict if this will work for you or not. But if you feel the call, then why not give it a try?

To learn more about my experience trying a mindset coach, watch my YouTube video about it! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS0vnfmDAk4&lc=Ugwi7TQ3nc6tYmfyyMV4AaABAg
Categories
Self-care

How I Hacked My Sleep in 5 Days

Sleep is something that I frequently struggle with. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love sleeping, but so often my sleep feels all over the place.

It’s now clear from a plethora of scientific research that sleep affects everything from our metabolism, to hormone production, our mood, and cognitive functioning. And after learning more about the research on sleep and how important it truly is for pretty much every part of our lives, I decided my sleep really needed an upgrade! 

So I spent one week trying out all sorts of sleep hacks to see if I could take my sleep to the next level.

My Sleep Hacking Experiment

For this experiment, I interviewed Dan Pardi, a sleep researcher at Stanford University, about the science of sleep. Then, I tried various sleep hacks based on Dan’s science-based recommendations. 

“Over 50 percent of Americans are getting unsatisfactory sleep,” he said. “There are a lot of things that are going to influence our sleep. Probably the most important is light.”

Dan explained that light affects our circadian rhythm, which is our body’s natural 24-hour sleep/wake schedule. Depending on the type of light we are exposed to, our circadian rhythm can be thrown off, especially in a world where blue light from technology is so invasive. 

Dan told me that according to research, blue light actually inhibits the production of melatonin, a hormone produced in the pineal gland of the brain that increases at night in order to help us sleep. So when we are on screens at night before bed, we are actually tricking our bodies into thinking it’s daytime, which will prevent melatonin production, disrupt our circadian rhythm, and prevent us from getting good quality sleep.

Hack #1: Controlling Light 

According to Dan, the key to good sleep actually starts in the morning. He recommended I get direct sunlight upon waking up. Because I normally wake up before the sunrise, I purchased a special alarm clock that imitates the sun as it wakes you up. I usually use my phone as an alarm, so having an actual alarm clock allowed me to remove my phone from my room before bed. 

In addition, I turned off technology an hour before bed to minimize the absorption of blue light. Upon Dan’s recommendation, I also wore blue-light blocking glasses throughout the day to mitigate the effects of staring at a screen for so many hours. I have never needed glasses, but I’ve always secretly wanted them because I think they are super cute, so this was a great excuse to wear these adorable glasses from Felix Gray! 

Hack #2: A Nightly Routine with Essential Oils 

Dan stressed the importance of developing a nightly routine to help the mind and body wind down and prepare for sleep.

During my nightly routine, I drank chamomile tea, journaled, read, and used my essential oil diffuser with pure lavender oil for relaxation.

I asked Dan if there was any science to prove the effectiveness of essential oils for sleep, and he explained that there is scientific research to show that smelling an essential oil does in fact affect the part of the brain known as the amygdala, which controls our parasympathetic nervous system, or our rest and relaxation response.

Another thing I love to do before bed is use my crystal face roller. I’ll put it in the freezer so it’s nice and cold and then apply some rosehip oil to roll out all the tension in my face. It feels amazing and is such a great way to wind down before bed.

Hack #3: Meditative Breathwork 

The next sleep hack I tried was breathing exercises before bed. Dan suggested the box breathing method, where you inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and hold again for four seconds, repeating for about 2-5 minutes. This breathing method worked so well and completely put me out like a light!

Hack #4: Controlling Body Temperature 

The next sleep hack that Dan recommended was controlling my body temperature. He told me to take a warm shower or bath in the evening before bed. He explained that this actually helps lower body temperature after getting out, which is optimal for sleeping. It has also been shown that sleeping in cooler temperatures promotes better quality sleep, so I opened the windows at night to let in the cool air. In the morning, I took a cold shower to wake myself up.

How does alcohol and cannabis affect sleep?

Because so many people use alcohol or cannabis to fall asleep, I was curious to know the effects of these substances on sleep quality.

“Both of those substances are problematic,” Dan said.

He explained that the consumption of alcohol affects the neurotransmission of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain and cannabinoids interfere with the neural repair that happens during sleep as well as mitochondrial function, which is critical for energy. 

Hack #5: Weighted Blanket

The last hack that I tried was not one that Dan recommended to me, but something that I had been wanting to try for a while. Sleeping with a weighted blanket is supposed to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve sleep quality, so I got a COOLMAX weighted blanket from a company called Weighting Comforts, which is designed to keep the body cool and dry throughout the night.

Right off the bat, I noticed that the weight of the blanket made me feel safe and relaxed. I ended up sleeping fantastic with it and woke up feeling so well rested! 

My Results

About halfway through the week, I noticed I was feeling more restful and less tired throughout the day, whereas normally I feel exhausted between 2:30-4:30 in the afternoon. By the end of the week, I was feeling so rejuvenated and was shocked by the results I saw in just five days.

Overall, this was a successful experiment with some pretty great results. I learned so much about sleep and felt my sleep improve in such a short amount of time. 

If you are someone who struggles with sleep, I know how frustrating it can be. I hope that you can try some of these hacks and experiment with what might work for you!