As a society, we don’t know what’s next, and it’s easier than ever to let yourself be ruled by uncertainty.
Last week, I talked openly and vulnerably about some of the challenges I’ve been overcoming and how I leveraged my past to transform my present by getting back to practicing the fundamentals of The Miracle Morning (like I did back in 2008).
As a continuation of last week’s episode, today I want to share with you a number of actionable insights you can implement immediately to up-level your self-care right now. Today you’ll learn not only why all of us often struggle to make time for self-care, but what you can do right now to double down on your self-care practices (without letting them consume your day) and face your biggest challenges in a meaningful, manageable way.
- Five (5) primary reasons we often fail at making time for self-care.
- Five (5) things you can do right now to level up your self-care practice(s).
- One strategy to free up 23 hours a day from stress and worry.
- How to stop your self-care practices from getting “too fancy” and simplify what you’re doing to truly nurture your inner world.
- And A LOT more (I shared a lot of extra tips and strategies in this episode).
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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Hal Elrod: Welcome, welcome, welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. Hey, everybody. It’s Hal Elrod and whether you are a member of the Miracle Morning community, which is probably like 98% of our listeners, I think it’s a majority, I don’t know, I never like surveyed, or you’re just a listener of the Achieve Your Goals Podcast or you’re both, which is probably most you’re both, today, we’re going to talk about doubling down on your self-care because we are in the midst of an unprecedented time. I think that’s the most overused word right now, unprecedented. Actually, virus is probably the most overused word but, yeah, it’s unprecedented for sure. And I don’t know where we’re going. I’ve been talking with a lot of my friends, a lot of really smart people about what they see happening, not just on the surface, the mainstream media feeds this one narrative. But if you dig deeper and you look online, you tend to find out that there’s more going on than we’re being shown.
So, I would encourage you, by the way, if you watch the news, and that’s where you get most of your information from, I’d encourage you to look on YouTube, look online. And of course, it’s a crazy world out there in terms of you can find a lot of weird theories and that sort of thing, but you also find a lot of truth. And you see cell phone videos of what’s actually happening around the world. I’ve seen some pretty disturbing stuff, that it’s not being shown on mainstream media because it doesn’t fit their narrative. So, I didn’t mean to start this podcast all controversial, but I would encourage you to check some stuff out and go beyond just the mainstream media that is owned by some of the wealthiest people in the world that have various agendas that they would like us to consume and become our reality. So, there may be more than meets the eye. So, with that said, I’m going to try to stay in my lane here. My lane is helping you to help you, to optimize your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being, how can you be at your best so that you can navigate anything that life throws your way.
Hal Elrod: And so, when I say that, today we’re going to talk about doubling down on your self-care. I looked up double down. I looked up the definition of the phrase double down and there were two that I found and the first one you’re probably most familiar with, to double the original bid in blackjack in exchange for only one more card. So, if you’ve ever played blackjack before, which when I was in my 20s, I used to play blackjack occasionally. You say, “I want to double down.” That means you double your bet. You get one more card and that’s it. Well, the other definition is the one that we’re going to talk about today and that is to become more tenacious, zealous, or resolute, in a position or undertaking. So, to double down on your self-care means to become more tenacious, zealous, or resolute in your self-care. Now, whether you already have some solid self-care practices in place, which for many of our listeners, you practice Miracle Morning so you probably do.
Now, I do you want to, on that note, say if you listen to last week’s episode, which was the title was Using Your Past To Transform Your Present, if you listened to that episode, then you heard me talk about how I recently realized that while, yes, I do the Miracle Morning every day and I’ve done it almost every day, probably an average of 6.2 days a week, almost every single day for the last, gosh, 12 plus years, even though I still do it and I’ve always done it, the other a couple of weeks ago I realized that I am not doing it the way I used to do it. That like a lot of things in life the longer we go down a path, the further we often get away from the fundamentals that led us to the dance, if you will, that got us the success in any area we’ve achieved. And relationships are probably the best example of that. If you’ve been in a relationship for a long period of time, you’ve been married for years or in a serious relationship for years, odds are you’re not approaching it the exact same way you did those first weeks or months when you begin dating that person.
Because the fundamentals, those things that get us the results that we want, once we get the results, we often kind of fall off on those practices, those habits, those rituals, those routines, and all of that really roots from getting away from the mindset that we were in when we first began anything, whatever that thing is, again, a practice, a relationship, a ritual, a routine, a job, a business, you name it, an exercise routine, all of the above. We tend to get away from the fundamentals. And so, a couple of weeks ago, I realized, “Oh, my Miracle Morning doesn’t look the way that it did in 2008,” and in 2008, the Miracle Morning is what got me to overcome my depression within a matter of days. Six months of depression, gone in a couple of days of doing this morning practice. And then my income, that also increased. As the economy got worse, my income doubled. And you’ve heard me say that probably in the last podcast or two. I’ll probably keep saying that because I want to keep reminding you of that.
And when I say that what I mean is, I want to remind you that right now, you may not be in control of a lot of stuff going on in our outer world, but you’re in control of your inner world. And again, I know I’ve said that the last few podcasts. I’ll keep saying that, because I feel like that’s the greatest value I can bring to you is to continue to remind you that the most important thing for you to focus on is you, your mindset, your energy, your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. How do you optimize that all the time? So, I’ll keep reminding you of that. And then equally as important, I’ll keep giving you strategies. I’ll keep giving you simple implementable ideas, practices, strategies so that we’re reminding you to come up with your own. I won’t just give them to you out like last week. Last week’s old. And if you didn’t listen at last week’s episode, it was the most well-received in terms of feedback and positive emails and comments that I’ve ever gotten from an episode and you can find that at HalElrod.com/319 or on iTunes.
I think the title of the episode was Using Your Past To Transform Your Present. I got very vulnerable in that episode. Well, I want to tell you, by the way, I want to follow up on that because that episode was saying that I had gone from this, you know, I’ve been struggling with these side effects of chemotherapy, which are cognitive challenges or what they call chemo brain as well as anxiety and depression, all of those things, and I couldn’t figure out how to get over it. And about a week-and-a-half ago, maybe two weeks ago now, I went what did I do before the last time I was suffering from depression, which is 2008? I thought I created a morning ritual. I still do the ritual. What happened? Again, I had gotten away from the fundamentals. So, whether or not you already have some solid self-care practices in place, whether you’ve maybe you had them in place, maybe you have fallen off some of them or all of them, due to the recent disruption to your life or if you’ve never had a self-care practice, you’re just finding the podcast, today, I’m going to invite you to reflect on your current practices, and invite you to, as I said, double down to become more tenacious, zealous, and resolute in your daily self-care.
And I’m excited for this episode. I actually spent more time outlining this episode. Normally, I’ll just jot down like three bullet points, hit record, and talk to you. I’ve got like a page-and-a-half, oh, we’ve got two pages, two pages of notes. I got a lot of notes for you. So, I put a lot of time and energy into prepping today and I hope that you get a ton of value. So, first, I want to talk about why do we often fail at self-care? Why do we fail? You’ll probably relate, I’m going to give you five reasons. And you can relate to one if not all five of these. Number one, we think we’re too busy. Most of us are crazy busy with balancing personal life, professional life, trying to make money, trying to figure out, trying to – just all the things, right? Trying to keep up with emails, all the things, we’re crazy busy, and we think we’re too busy for self-care. That’s one of the reasons that we fail at it. Number two, we feel overwhelmed. Right now, more than ever, many of us are suffering from excessive stress and anxiety and fear, lack of motivation.
In other words, we don’t feel like it. We don’t feel like doing self-care. It’s enough just for us to get through the day. And then that leads into the third which is we are consumed with technology. And when we feel, number two, we feel overwhelmed, we don’t feel like doing self-care when deciding between self-care and an immediate rush of dopamine available by grabbing our smartphones or flipping on Netflix, human nature will always lead us to pleasure. It will always lead us to the quick fix that we’re looking for. And so, being consumed by technology is one of the reasons where when we’re not feeling motivated, we’re not feeling driven, we’re feeling stressed out, rather than turn to self-care, which will ultimately cure whatever ails us a lot more effectively than that quick hit of dopamine from the television or our smartphone. Number four reason we often fail at self-care is we’re not sure what’s the right or the best self-care practice. We’re overwhelmed. We’re not sure what we should do. So, rather than just do something, we end up doing nothing.
And then number five, the number five reason that we often fail at self-care according to me, these are not like the five like in definite in the universe, but I would say that we’re not sold on self-care being necessary. And it can often be because we are too busy. You go, “Well, I don’t have time for that right now. I’ll get back to that later.” And here’s what I would ask you to consider. If you’re not sold on self-care being a high priority right now, do you want to be happy? Do you want to feel good? Do you want to be healthy? Do you want to have more energy? Do you want to feel motivated? Do you want more clarity? Or are you currently facing challenges that you want to overcome? And if you answered, I can go on with that. I can just go on and on with those questions because the benefits of self-care it’s the root, it’s the foundation. It’s the core of the quality of our lives, both immediately right now today and every day and in the future. So, if you answered yes to any of those questions, then doubling down on your self-care right now is paramount to your inner world, which is the foundation of being able to improve your outer world. First, you improve yourself on the inside, you take yourself to the next level inside so that you can take your success to the next level.
So, here we go. What can you do now to double down on your self-care? What can you do now to make sure that you are taking care of yourself at the highest level? Unfortunately, you have almost unlimited options when it comes to up-leveling self-care. It’s simply a matter of incorporating some simple practices into your daily life as rituals and routines to nurture your mind, your body, your spirit, so that you can optimize your well-being, so that you can optimize your mental clarity, so you are able to act decisively and proactively to navigate your way quickly and effectively through any obstacles or challenges that right now you are facing in your life. And no matter which approach you choose to self-care, the objective is to figure out which practices, which self-care practices work best for you, and then simply incorporate them as daily rituals so that you can optimize your well-being and not only during this pandemic but forever. So, you get the benefits right now and help you during this crazy time in history in our lives and then and then will extend far beyond that.
So, what I came up with today are essentially five ways to incorporate self-care into your busy life. Five ways to incorporate self-care into your busy life. Number one, make exercise your top self-care priority. I know that’s not rocket science. And if you’re already exercising, cool. Hopefully, you’ll get an insight or two from what I’m about to share. Don’t tune out and go, “I already exercised, Hal,” but with the reason I say making exercise, make it your top self-care priority because like that I said, there’s a limitless supply of things that you could choose. Why is exercise? Why should that be the top priority in my opinion? And that’s because it positively impacts virtually every aspect of your being, your physical body. Exercise impacts your physical body. That’s the obvious one, your health, your energy levels, your strength, your stamina, and so on. Exercise obviously impacts your physical well-being but, number two, your mental abilities. So, exercise gives you improved cognitive function, right? You can think more clearly. You’re literally more intelligent.
It gives you heightened clarity and it even gives you spontaneous insights. If you’ve exercised or been on a run or a jog or a walk and it’s kind of like the shower, right? You get some of your best ideas. For me, I can sit in my house when I’m not exercising. I can sit in my house, stare at my computer, try to figure stuff out all day long, and get almost nowhere and end up more frustrated when the day ends. Raise your hand if you’ve been there before. You stare at your computer all day long. The day ends and you go, “What the hell did I get done? I didn’t get anything done. What did I do?” I bounced to check email then I went to Facebook. You just bounce around, but I can go for a walk. I can go for one walk and after staring at the computer for three hours, one walk, a few deep breaths, and I get the insight that I need and I go home and implement it and it changes everything. So, exercise absolutely impacts your mental abilities.
And then last but not least, is your emotional well-being. Exercise releases endorphins, feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. Exercising makes you feel good while you’re doing it and after you do it. And if you do it consistently, you consistently feel better. Now, so I want to give you some simple considerations. If you’re not exercising right now or if you don’t like to exercise, if you don’t feel motivated to exercise right now, I’m going to give you four thoughts here, four keys. Number one, keep it short. Keep it short. It can be as little as 10 minutes. I mean, it could be as little as one minute but that’s not really going to give you your ROIs based on the time that you invest. If you’re only exercising for one minute, when I say one minute, the reason I say that is the Miracle Morning I talked about doing the 6-Minute Miracle Morning on days that you’re busy.
And for me, if there’s a day or for whatever reason I can’t exercise, which is really BS, by the way, and I was making that excuse for the first few weeks of this global pandemic. I was so frazzled trying to figure out how to navigate my business and how to pivot and what I was going to do and in trying to figure out all the things that I wasn’t exercising. I stopped. And so, I would do one minute of jumping jacks every day in the morning, first thing to at least get my heart rate up, get my blood flowing and wake myself up for the day. So, that’s great. One minute of exercise is great, but that’s not going to give you really, really significant benefits. I would say at least 7 to 10 minutes minimum to get some real benefits. Ideally, 30 minutes. We’ll get to that in a second. But so, you can keep it short. Just exercise for 10 minutes, right? Do 10 minutes of jumping jacks in your house. If you have a set of stairs, this is what I do. When it rains, I run my stairs. I just run up and down my stairs. I’ll set a timer for 10 minutes, I’ll run and if I get tired, I’ll walk up and down and then I’ll get a second win. I’ll run again. Walk up and down. So, there’s no excuse. There’s no, “It’s cold outside. It’s raining,” whatever. Fine. Do it inside.
Number two, keep it simple. I just mentioned, do jumping jacks or turn on a free yoga video on YouTube like there’s no excuse. It’s free. Just turn on a yoga video. Go for a walk outside and if it’s raining outside, like I said, do something inside. Whether I run the stairs, I also have a little rebounder, a little trampoline which you can get on Walmart. I mean at Walmart or Costco or Amazon.com for like $30, $29, or something you got a little rebounder and that’s one of the best workouts. It’s a great lymphatic workout. It gets your blood moving, loosens up your joints, so on and so forth. It’s low impact. So, if it’s raining outside, I’ll run the stairs for 10 minutes. I’ll do the rebounder for 10 minutes. We have a little exercise bike like a cheap one that I got because I wasn’t sure how I would use it so I don’t want to get like the $3,000 Peloton or whatever. Although I’ve been using the exercise bike so I might save up and invest in the peloton. But that’s neither here nor there.
Number three, do the seven-minute workout. I’ve mentioned that before. It’s my favorite seven-minute exercise, rituals. It’s an app on your smartphone if you have a smartphone. If you don’t have a smartphone, it’s on YouTube. Now, I just saw the other day it’s on Alexa if you have an Alexa in your house. So, either way, seven-minute workout, highly, highly recommend it. And then number four and maybe my favorite tip of all is make it a relationship-building activity. So, kill two birds with one stone. So, I recently started going for 30-minute walks because I realized I was only doing 10 minutes of exercise a day. And some coaches and different people I’ve been talking to, they go, “You got to up-level your exercise.” I’m like, “You’re right. You’re right. I’m slacking.” I was only doing 10 minutes because, again, I wasn’t going to Orange Theory. I’m not going to the gym. So, at home, I would kind of get bored after the 10 minutes, but I decided to commit to 30 minutes. So, what I’ve been doing is every morning I do a 30-minute walk/jog throughout the neighborhood. So, what I do is I walk the straightaways, and then I jog or run the cul de sacs and then I walk the straightaway, jog the cul de sac, walk the straightaway, jog the cul de sac. So, that’s like my little ritual.
Now, you go, “Well, how’s that relationship-building activity, Hal?” So, about a week ago, I invited my wife to try it. I’m like, “Hey, you want to go out to walk with me? Like this is silly. We should be doing this together.” She’d be doing her own exercise in the neighborhood with some friends by the way. They’re social distanced like in the cul de sac, 10 feet apart from each other doing on their yoga mats doing exercise. But I said, “Why don’t you join me on the walk?” So, now she joined me. Now, it’s a relationship-building activity and I’m getting my exercise in, which is nurturing my physical body, my mental abilities, and my emotional well-being. And yesterday, or was it today, it was today, the first day I’m like, “Sweetheart, let’s invite the kids to join us.” In fact, I was inspired by two of my friends, Jon Vroman and his wife Tatyana Vroman. They’re doing these morning activities with their kids. They’ve been posting about it on social media. And then our other friends, David, and Tracy Osborn, they started doing morning bike rides with their kids.
And so, I got inspired and I thought, “Yeah.” So, I showed the social media post to my wife and I said, “Ursula, why are we not doing this with the kids? Let’s do some morning exercise.” So, she led the charge and she got us outside and our kids didn’t want to go for a walk. So, we said what would be fun for you? What do you want to do? They said, “Let’s go play tag in the park,” and we were parked down the street from our house. So, we walked to the park, and then we played tag and just ran around the park playing tag. So, get creative, have fun, make it fun. The point is to move your body and get your heart rate up every day for at least 10 minutes and ideally 30 minutes. So, if you want to go do more of that, that’s fine. So, number one way to incorporate self-care, just make sure exercise I think it should be your top self-care priority. We’re going to go through a lot of other options, but that would be number one for me because it impacts again, the physical, the mental, and the emotional. You could probably argue the spiritual as well.
Alright. Number two, schedule your self-care first thing in the morning. Now, you might say that I’m biased as the author of The Miracle Morning but here’s why the morning is so crucial. Number one, it ensures that it gets done before the rest of your day takes over. I mean, we’ve all been there before where we have good intentions later in the day but then the day gets in the way. I mean, where you go, I’m going to do blank later in the day and maybe whether it’s exercise or it’s whatever it is. And then you end up busier than you thought, and some fires come up that you’ve got to put out and you weren’t expecting those. And then maybe you get a headache or you’re tired at the end of the day when you were planning on doing your exercise or doing whatever it is that you were going to do. And we all know how that can happen, right? Life gets in the way, and it throws us off course. That’s one of the reasons to make self-care because it is such an important priority. It’s what enables you to be at your best so that you can give your best to everything that you do and everyone that you love and everyone that you lead. And so, scheduling your self-care first thing in the morning, it simply ensures that it gets done before everything else.
And the number two reason that’s important is it sets you up for a successful day. You know, I’ve often been asked, “Hal, Miracle Morning’s great. The six practices, the SAVERS, those are great but do they need to be done in the morning? Like couldn’t I do them in the afternoon, the evening? Does it really have to be morning? The answer is no, it doesn’t have to be in the morning. You could do them any time and if you do the SAVERS, you meditate, do affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, journaling, anytime in the day or evening, it’s going to benefit you. Those six practices are game-changers at any time of the day. The issue here and the reason the morning is so crucial is it sets you up for a successful day because all of those practices and any self-care practices, they have immediate and ongoing benefits. So, for example, if you meditate, it lowers your cortisol levels. In fact, it changes all of your biometrics. Your heart rate lowers, your cortisol lowers, you get into a state of alpha so that you’re able to think more clearly. So, it improves your physiology in so many ways.
Now, that’s great to do before bed so you can sleep but it’s also something that you want to do to start your day. The first S in SAVERS is silence that meditation, that prayer, that breathwork, it’s doing those practices first thing in the morning to get centered and calm and clear and create a space for the rest of your self-care so that you can be in that optimum state to then go tackle the rest of the day. And it’s true for every single one of the SAVERS practices, in any self-care practice. Whether you’re exercising or you’re reading, for example, if you read in the morning, a book that is specifically relevant to something that you want to improve that day or that time in your life, well, reading it in the morning, you can implement that day. Now, sure, you could read it at night and implement the next day but again, all of the Miracle Morning practices, the SAVERS and any self-care practices, exercise is one, getting your heart rate going, getting the blood flowing, more oxygen to the brain, releasing those feel-good chemicals. You want that first thing in the morning so that you feel good, you feel energized, you feel clear as you head out into the rest of your day. So, the two reasons I would really encourage you, I would implore you to schedule your self-care first thing in the morning is to ensure that it gets done before the rest of your day throws you off track and to benefit from that self-care practice first thing in the morning so that you set yourself up for a successful day. If you win the morning, you win the day, and you win at life.
Number three, include sleep as part of your self-care. The quality and consistency of our sleep can make a huge impact both on your emotional well-being and your physical well-being. And I can say from experience over the last, you know, having suffered extreme insomnia for four out of the last five months, where I was averaging three to four hours a night of sleep, I can tell you what the lack of sleep does to you. I was a mess, right? I talked about that in the last podcast episode. I went pretty deep into the anxiety and the depression but I can only imagine that sleeping three to four hours a night, some nights not at all or some nights one or two hours, that messes you up, right? That messes you up. So, sleep is so crucial to your mental abilities, your cognitive functioning, your emotional well-being, and your physical well-being. And so, I’m going to give you a few tips to get some sleep.
Number one, schedule time to worry. I mentioned this a few podcast episodes. I don’t know if I phrased it that way but schedule time to worry. And what I mean by that is if you’ve got your mind racing with all these things all day long, and you don’t have time scheduled to really dive in and focus on those things and what you’re going to do about them and look for solutions to the challenges, the things that you might be worrying about, then if you have time scheduled and to be intentional about that, then you now have given yourself permission to worry about those things 24 hours a day. So, for me, I started scheduling an hour and it’s not an hour to worry per se that I say that kind of in jest but honestly, most of us are worried, right? We have worries. So, you can call it your time to worry, your hour to worry. For me, it’s an hour to consider all possibilities and be proactive. Like that’s for me what it is, right? Consider all the possibilities in my business, in with my health, in my relationships, and to plan and to prepare for those things.
But here’s the power in that. By scheduling that hour to worry or plan and prepare, whatever you want to call it, to be proactive, to consider the possibilities, to schedule that hour, having that hour scheduled, it gives me 23 hours to not have to worry about it. If my mind starts going down the rabbit hole of, oh my gosh, what if this happens? What if the housing market collapses again like in 2008? It seems like that’s inevitable. What are we going to do then? I go, “Alright, Hal, stop,” and I open up my phone because I have an ongoing list in there. And I put in there in the list. I put in there, you know, I go, “Hey, think about or consider and plan for what happens if the housing market crashes. Okay, great.” And by putting it in my phone and having an hour scheduled to think about that, maybe do a little bit of research about that, talk to some of my friends that are really smart in the real estate space and ask for their advice about that, my friend, Matt Recor, who back in 2007, I think, 2006 maybe, six months after I bought my first house he called me and said, “Hal, you should sell your house.”
I go, “Wait. Matt, I just bought this house six months ago. I love it. I’m not going to sell it.” He studied trends and he said, “Hal, the real estate market is going to crash in the next six months or so. I’m telling you, if you don’t sell your house now, you’re not going to be able to sell it.” Well, I didn’t listen to him. I was emotionally attached to my house. I just bought this house. I’m still landscaping and I’m planting trees. We’re still painting stuff. We’re upgrading like I’m not going to sell it. No way. You’re crazy. So, I just missed this device. Sure enough, the housing market crashed. My income crashed. I couldn’t pay my mortgage. The bank foreclosed on my house. I didn’t lose it. It was taken from me. It ruined my credit completely. I wish I would have listened to Matt. I wish I would have listened to Matt when he told me that I should sell my house. And by the way, I don’t know, am I allowed to say this? I don’t know, is there any restriction to saying this? I will tell you that I talked to Matt the other day and I said, “Hey, Matt, what are your thoughts on the real estate market right now?” And Matt has amassed a fortune by timing the markets, both in the stock markets and the real estate markets.
I’m not here to give you any advice. I will tell you, though, that Matt said, “Hal, what happened in 2008 in terms of the housing market crashing,” I’ll just tell you, he said there are a lot of signs right now that point to we’re headed in that direction in the next three to six months. So, that’s what my buddy, Matt, told me. He was right in 2006, 2007, 2008, and I trust his expertise in that area. I went off on a tangent there. But the point is that having that time, that one hour schedule to focus on your to-do list, focus on your worry list, focus on your plan and prepare list, whatever you call your list or your lists, plural, having that our scheduled gives you permission for 23 hours of the day to not have to worry about it. And I share that because specific my sleep. Part of not sleeping is when this coronavirus COVID-19 thing hit, my already troubled sleep kind of got worse because I’m like, “Oh my gosh, there are so many things that are out of my control and I’m seeing this on the news and I’m seeing this on Facebook and I’m freaking out about this and this is kind of worrisome. What should I do?” And I found it even harder to sleep. And you may have found that as well.
In fact, I’ve read that there’s like a sleep epidemic right now and an insomnia epidemic because people can’t sleep. And so, for me, I’ve realized that my only objective when my head hits that pillow and not even just when the head hits the pillow. I’m talking the hour, two, or three before the head hits the pillow. My only objective is to wind down, to calm down. And when the head hits the pillow, the only objective is to sleep. So, it’s almost a meditative practice where I’ve consciously been figured out how to just let my thoughts go, let my thoughts go, let my thoughts go. All I want to do is sleep. I’m only here to sleep. I feel rested and I feel rejuvenated. So, that’s how it started, by the way, is using kind of affirmations and controlling my inner dialogue and being really intentional with my inner dialogue, to think thoughts that were calming, and that would put me to sleep. And then the other thing that I started doing recently, and actually, I think it’s on my list to talk to you guys about, but I’ll just share it right now is breathwork.
I’ve been using breathwork and what you may have heard very popular in breathwork is box breathing, where you typically you inhale for four seconds, you hold it for four seconds, you exhale for four seconds, you hold the exhale for four seconds, and rinse and repeat. And you do that until you fall asleep. So, I would encourage you to try kind of those three strategies right before bed. So, knowing that you’ve got your worry list on your phone or on a piece of paper in your journal or whatever and, therefore, you have permission to – you don’t have to worry about it before bed. You don’t have to think about those things. And if you do, think of something that’s new. Write it down and then go back to resting and relaxing. But one of those three strategies, which is number one, control or I should say be intentional about your inner dialogue, be intentional about your inner dialogue, so that you can think thoughts that are peaceful and calming, and that lend themselves to calming you so that you can feel rested and ready to sleep.
The second thing is try to use meditation. Meditate before bed to just have a clear mind. If a thought comes in, allow it to pass. Another thought comes in, allow it to pass. If it’s really crucial that you remember that thought, write it down, have a nightlight or something so you can write it down. And I recommend not keeping it just on your phone. I have a piece of paper next to my bed or actually, it’s a little tiny journal. And because I don’t want to have to take my phone off airplane mode, which by the way, it’s another thing. Your phone should be away from your bed as far away as it can be so you can hear the alarm if you have an alarm in the morning. I don’t use an alarm anymore. I should tell you guys about that. It’s another reason or another episode I guess but don’t use an alarm anymore. Just wake up naturally. Wake up every day naturally around usually 4 AM or 5 AM. But the phone is not next to my head. You should definitely not have Wi-Fi on or even the cell phone signal on because of the EMF again, that’s another episode. Another topic for another episode. But keep the phone away from your head and keep it in airplane mode. I’d encourage you to do that and keep a pad of paper next to your bed so if you have a thought, “Gosh, I got to remember that. I can’t forget that.” Just lean over, write it down and then go right back to your influencing intentionally, choosing the inner dialogue that calms you and/or meditating and/or using that 4x4x4x4 box breathing technique. Or count sheep. I don’t care, right? But just remember that at night, your job is not for your mind to race. Your only objective is to sleep so that you can get rest because a crucial part of self-care is absolutely rest.
And the last tip I’ll give you, if you want to add a supplement, I haven’t taken melatonin in years because I could never find a plant-based melatonin and I’m really big when it comes to supplements. I don’t want to take anything synthetic or artificial. I try to make all the supplements that I take whole food supplements. So, for vitamin C, I never take ascorbic acid. Little bonus tip. I would never take ascorbic acid. Look into how that’s made. It’s usually made in China. It’s synthetic. I mean there are all sorts of – just Google Health from ascorbic acid that is made and where it comes from. If it has sorbic acid as the vitamin C source I will never take that supplement and really won’t trust that company. For me, if you want to know what I take, you can go to HerbDoc.com. All of his supplements are either organic or wild-harvested, and they are all food-based. The vitamin C that I take which when this COVID-19 thing hit, it’s called Acerola Cherry. I don’t know if I’m pronouncing Acerola right, but that’s how it’s spelled, A-C-E-R-O-L-A.
Most whole food vitamin C supplements, their main ingredient, if not their sole ingredient is acerola cherries. So, I was like, “Wait, can I get that in like a powder form just pure organic acerola cherries?” And I could so I did. Which by the way, Brianna Greenspan, my good friend and the co-author of Miracle Morning: Art of Affirmations, the other day she’s like, “Hal, you have all these really healthy products that you use, but nobody knows about them. Why don’t you do an episode just on the products that you use that are helpful for you, your smoothie stuff, your supplements, any self-care stuff, any health stuff, any whatever, technology, whatever?” So, maybe I’ll do that at some point. In fact, if you want me to do that, let me know. Leave a comment under the podcast at HalElrod.com/320. You can leave a comment if you want me to do an episode on the different things that I use, products, because I’m really, really picky about the things that I put in my body especially.
So, with all of that, where are we at here? So, the point was melatonin. I couldn’t find a plant-based melatonin and I finally did. And I just started taking it only on nights where for whatever reason I’m really restless and trying to sleep so I’m trying to get off of supplements for sleep. I was going to the sleep phase of severe insomnia. I absolutely was taking every natural supplement that I possibly could except for melatonin so I couldn’t find a good one but it’s Herbatonin melatonin. And none of these are my sponsors. I should get some sponsors though so I can recommend all this stuff but no sponsors, but the Herbatonin melatonin is on Amazon and it was actually recommended to me by Dr. Michael Bruce, the sleep doctor, who I’ve been working with helped me with my sleep and he said, “Do you do melatonin?” I go, “No, because I can’t ever find a plant-based one.” He said, “I got one for you.” So, there you go, Herbatonin.
So, when it comes to including sleep as part of your self-care, remember, in the evening don’t watch anything stressful before bed. There’s another tip that I should give you, if you don’t already do this, do the digital sunset as my friend Brian Johnson calls it where you should be off screens like at least an hour, if not 90 minutes before bed. You know what, I have a few more tips. Why didn’t I think of this? These are crucial. They are things that I do. Why didn’t I think about including this? Here they go. Number one is don’t be on screens, right? Don’t watch television right before bed. Don’t be on your phone or your computer right before bed. And for me, I’m like an hour. I tried to do an hour before bed where I’m not on screens. Because what happens is it messes up your circadian rhythms because the blue light from the phone or the TV makes your brain think it’s daytime and then your brain tells your body, “Hey, wake up. It’s daytime,” and you get all out of whack.
So, you shouldn’t be on screens an hour before bed and then here’s a big one and this one might be hard for a lot of people. Don’t eat food three to four hours before bed, at least two to three hours before bed and I usually eat dinner at five. I’m done eating because sometimes we’ll have like a little green smoothie or some sort of low sugar healthy dessert kind of thing. I do chia pudding that’s very often my dessert of chia pudding with a little bit of oat milk in it. You guys are like, “Wow, that doesn’t sound like much of a dessert,” but I usually try to finish eating by 6 PM at the latest. The last bite of food is at 6 PM because I go to bed at 9 and I want three hours to fully digest my food and that will help you so that, A, you don’t have nightmares. You’re able to get into REM sleep, into deep sleep that will improve your quality of sleep. So, there’s a few different tips for you.
Number one, when your head hits the pillow, your only objective is to fall asleep. So, meditate. Manage your inner dialogue. Use that 4×4 box breathing technique, count sheep, whatever. Only focus on sleep. Don’t focus on thinking. Have a worry list so that you don’t have to worry about anything because you’ve got a list that you’re going to worry about or focus on and be proactive to find solutions to your challenges the next day. So, when you hit the pillow, you don’t have to think about it. Don’t look at screens an hour before bed. Don’t eat food two to three hours before bed. And if you really need help, if that stuff’s not working, you want to add a little boost to it, then try some plant-based melatonin.
All right, number four out of five keys to self-care, I would encourage you to choose at least one self-care activity for your mind, one for your body, and one for your spirit. Now, a lot of self-care activities impact all three. There’s a lot of crossover. When it comes to your mind, read, journal, listen to podcasts. This is good for your mind. And also, you have to be careful what you don’t listen to. Don’t watch the news, right, or minimize it. Don’t go too far down the rabbit hole on YouTube watching conspiracy theory videos, right? It’s important to be aware of what’s going on the world but I would encourage you and this is what I tried to do is I try to have at least two times positive media that I consume each day to any negative media, minimum two, but it’s usually closer to like four times. So, if I watch an hour of negative media whether that’s a video on YouTube or about the economy or the news, whatever it is, I don’t watch the news. Anything I get is from usually, yeah, from YouTube. The news I’ll watch it on YouTube but I try to watch only segments that what I feel like a need to know versus just turn on the news and watch, “Oh, there’s the murders today. Here are the deaths today.”
I don’t know if I need to know that. Is that really relevant to, personally, my objectives, for my family, for my friends, for my community, for you? I try to only consume content that’s relevant to my objectives of protecting myself being happy, healthy for me and my family, you guys, etcetera, etcetera. So, choose wisely on that content that you consume but, again, for your mind, just make sure you’re reading every day or you’re journaling, you’re listening to podcasts, consuming content that feeds your mind in a positive way for your body. We talked about it, exercise, stretch. You can do that breathwork I talked about. And by the way, Jairek Robbins, I posted a video of Jairek Robbins, real simple, in the Miracle Morning community the other day, the Facebook group, and Jairek talked about two breathing techniques, 4×4 breathing, and 4×2 breathing. 4×4 we already covered and that’s to create a sense of calm, to put you in a state of calm. And Jairek talked about your biometrics, your heart rate lowers, your cortisol lowers. Same thing as when you meditate. When you do that 4×4 breathing, you find that it’s very healthy for you. And so, if you want to calm, do the 4×4 breathing if you want to be in a state of calm.
If you want to be in a state of focus, Jairek talks about the 4×2 breathing which is inhale for four, hold for two, exhale for four, hold the exhale for two. Inhale for four, hold for two, exhale for four, hold for two. So, if you want to be calm, inhale for four, hold four, exhale four, hold the exhale for four. Rinse and repeat. If you want to be focused, make it four inhale, two hold, four exhale, two hold. Rinse and repeat. So, those are two simple breathing techniques that you can use that nurture your body. And I didn’t do a lot of research right now on this. I don’t have studies to quote but if you go study, if you go read the science behind breathwork, and the research that’s been shown, where they do lab tests, where they hook participants up to measure their biometrics. The breathing has a huge impact on your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
And number three is for your spirit, pray, meditate, practice self-love. I interviewed a few a month or two ago one of my favorite book authors, Kamal Ravikant. He wrote Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It and I’ve been doing the self-love techniques that he talks about in the book, which is using self-love affirmations, doing what he calls mirror work, which my good friend Chip Franks, who often helps hosts the podcast, he’s big on that book and big on doing the daily self-love mirror work on but self-love is maybe one of the most underutilized and most beneficial practices that can enrich our lives. So again, number four, the number four tip there, number four way to make self-care a priority is to choose at least one self-care activity for your mind, your body, and your spirit every single day and many of them overlap. Again, almost any of these self-care practices for your mind or spirit still impact your body. And things that you do for your body impact your mind and spirit. So, it all helps each other.
And then number five, last but not least, if you want, actually, let me review the first four first. So, number one, make exercise your top self-care priority because it benefits your physical body, your mental abilities, and your emotional well-being. It’s one pill that helps everything that impacts everything. Number two, schedule your self-care first thing in the morning so that it ensures that it gets done before the rest of your day throws you off and it sets you up for successful day and includes sleep as part of your self-care because sleep is crucial in your mental, emotional, and physical functioning. It’s crucial. Number four, choose at least one self-care activity for your mind, one for your body, and one for your spirit. You can do more than one but at least one for those areas. And then number five drumroll please, if you want one self-care practice that incorporates everything that I’ve talked about today, I invite you to try the Miracle Morning, which you probably already do. So, don’t tune out yet.
And specifically, the six practices that it’s comprised of which are known by the acronym, SAVERS, silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing. And here’s what I want to say about this, whether you are a Miracle Morning practitioner, whether you have never done the Miracle Morning, or whether you have fallen off or you’re like me where your Miracle Morning, you may not even realize it yet until you examine it but when I examined my Miracle Morning, I realized that it had lost a lot of the fundamentals that I started it with. And the longer you do a practice, typically the further you stray away from what was working in the beginning. And so, here’s what I would say about the SAVERS. I was asked yesterday. I did a Zoom. I was a guest being interviewed and kind of presenting on a Zoom with my friend, Jesse Harless, and Jesse right now is leading weekly Zooms to nurture his community which is The Recovery Community.
Hold on. I want to get Jesse’s website. I want to give him a shout out. If you are struggling with addiction, any kind of addiction, drug addiction, any kind of addiction, go to JesseHarless.com. Jesse Harless he’s a recovering drug addict who is now on a mission to help people around the world to overcome their addictions. So, highly recommend Jesse’s work and it’s JesseHarless.com. Well, Jesse had me on to talk to his addiction recovery community yesterday, and he had me talking about the Miracle Morning. The whole topic of the event was self-care, which is what really sparked my mind for today. But he said, “Hal, you just taught us the SAVERS. Is there any of the six SAVERS, is there a seventh? Like, is there anything you’ve added to your Miracle Morning that’s made it even better especially maybe out of it since this, this pandemic started?” And it was interesting. I said, “Jesse, I’m so glad you asked me that question because I’m going to answer it the opposite of what you might expect, or really kind of what you were leading me toward answering which is what have I added to my Miracle Morning.”
And what I told him is I basically told him the story of what I talked about on last week’s podcast, which is I’ve added too much. I said, “The problem was, I had added too much. My Miracle Morning had gotten, it was it was too fancy, right?” and I realized that what got me through the 2008 economic crash, through the depression, through my financial collapse, where I lost over half of my income, lost my house, my credit, what got me through all of that turmoil was a really simple, fundamental practice, the SAVERS, silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing, which is a fancy word for journaling. It was a very fundamental, not fancy, but proven practice that got me to turn my life around so fast, it felt like a miracle. I told my wife that. She said, “You should call it your Miracle Morning,” and the rest is history so to speak. So, I would encourage you right now to examine your self-care practices or practice.
What are you doing? How is it working for you? Is there anything that you might need to tweak? Might need to add? Might need to drop? Maybe you’re doing too much. Are you reading too many books at one time? That was one of my big breakthroughs of the day is I go, “Man, in 2008, I was reading one book at a time,” and now I’m literally I’ve got like 12 books on my shelf that I’m reading. That’s getting away from the fundamentals. It’s really hard to master a subject when you’re trying to master 12 subjects at one time. You follow? So, I am guilty of this. My meditation fell off. My affirmations, I was reading dozens and dozens and dozens of affirmations every day on different topics. I wasn’t reprogramming my subconscious mind or directing my conscious behavior in a really intentional way because it was quantity over the focus of quality. So, I would encourage you to examine your self-care practice right now because right now is the time when it’s easiest to get pulled off of those practices, to pull away, to believe the lie that, “I’m panicking. I get to focus on making money. I got to focus on my business. I got to focus on…” and that’s where I was in 2008, which almost led to my demise.
And it was when I realized, “Wait a minute. The most important thing I can do in my life right now is I need to nurture my inner world. I need to become a better version of myself. I need to become the person that I need to be to transform my life,” but it doesn’t happen by focusing merely on transforming my life on the outside. It starts on the inside. And just because you reach a level of success, what got you here may not get you where you want to go. And in the irony in that is what got you here, the fundamentals of what got you here, you may have strayed away from as I did. And so, getting back to the practices that will absolutely ensure that you are at your best every day so that you can bring that to everything that you do. So, those are the five strategies or just the five ways that I would encourage you to double down on self-care right now. It’s needed more than ever. You are needed more than ever. And so, together, let’s be at our best. Let’s help each other. Let’s support each other. Let’s keep loving each other. And let’s keep showing up every day better than we were the night before. So, that we can make the impact that we’re all destined to make.
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