Have one glass of alcohol with dinner. The alcohol in red wine has tremendous cardiovascular benefits, and the resveratrol (from the grape skins that give the wine its color) helps cells live longer. Lean toward a meal with healthy fat, protein and fiber, and use small plates to help control portion size. Cover half your plate with vegetables. You're eating early enough that the rich pharmacy of chemicals and calories in your food will be digested and won't interfere with your sleep (or deposit themselves on your thighs).
Hug someone. (Someone you know, preferably.) Make it a good one.
Pop the other half of your daily supplements (including multivitamin, calcium and magnesium), then handle any household bills and chores you need to finish. If you're doing tasks, assign everyone in the family a job and work together; the teamwork builds not only a clean home but also a close family.
For bills, tuck away 10 percent of your income into an emergency account—not retirement, but rather a true financial ER that can bail you out of an emergency to help relieve one of life's biggest stressors: cash (or rather, lack of it).
Call, e-mail or IM a friend, your parents or your grown children. This isn't necessarily your buddy, but if it is, lengthen the time. You need to make efforts to connect socially with someone whom you care for and understands your passions and can help you hit your goals and passions; that's one of the elements that will help you grow and develop a more spiritual side. Nobody home? Then write a note of thanks to someone who's influenced your life. Pick anyone: a middle school teacher, your first boss, the volleyball coach who instilled in you that practice is just as important as the game.
Do a 20-minute exercise band workout to help you increase your lean muscle. It will help you burn fat, add tone and change your body shape. Or do a yoga workout to strengthen and lengthen your muscles. The added flexibility, balance and muscle tone will make you look and feel strong, energetic and ready to take on and face the frenetic world around you.
Add 10 minutes of focused work on your core (mainly your abdominals and lower back) to develop your biological back brace. Not only will it help you develop a showstopping belly, but it will also protect you from injuries that will send you squealing for the ibuprofen.
Stay active while enjoying your favorite shows or hobby. Put a stationary bike, elliptical cross-trainer, rowing machine or treadmill in front of the tube so you can pedal or do other physical activity during your favorite shows, or do the plank position during commercials.
Play with your kids. It's a great way to teach each other, and you learn a lot from their behavior.
When you're done, lie down with them when putting them to sleep, since they're tired and let their guard down. They'll speak more honestly and will listen better. It's the opportunity to pass along your wisdom—one of the greatest gifts you have to offer.
You can also read to them or just make up stories to stretch your mind and their imagination.
Lock yourself in the bathroom, take a seat and get into a meditative state. Spend five minutes humming the word yummmmm. That will help you clear your mind, de-stress and start thinking of higher purposes—and meanings of life beyond just getting the kids' lunches ready for the next day.
Now that your mind is clear of minutiae, take the opportunity to jot down a few ideas about how you want to live large and find a purpose bigger than you. Some ideas to get you going:
- Ask yourself the best way you can help others—be it with your time, talents, money or emotions. Giving to others is also a heck of a high that you can give yourself (plus, you'll live longer to keep doing good). Prove to yourself that you are something more than you thought you were.
- Assess your career situation and make sure that you're following a passion more than a paycheck, and that the company you work for has the same values that you do.
- Figure out some rituals that you can instill into your own family—be it a regular dinner or Saturday outing or some other regular routine that keeps you close and connected.
Prepare tomorrow's batch of drinking water. Fill up your bottles and stick them in the fridge so that you have cold, filtered (not bottled) water to drink throughout the next day.
Prepare yourself for bed with any cleanup duties. Brush your teeth (yes, two minutes). Wash and exfoliate your face (wash with fragrance- and residue-free soap), and use a moisturizer with vitamins A and C (remember, you're feeding your face at night, when the sun cannot denature all the restoring antioxidant vitamins). Make sure the lights are dim and the room is cool so you can gently slip into restorative sleep rather than attempting to abruptly "fall" asleep after sending out a few e-mail blasts while watching the late shows.
Mutual massages with your partner: Start with the feet and stay there as long as you like. The benefits are more than just emotional bonding; a massage with oil (aromatherapy) has also been shown to have de-stressing health benefits.
Have sex. Feel beautiful. Tell your partner what you need (and ask your partner the same). On alternate days (days, not weeks!), you can read a few pages of invigorating prose.
Drift into sleep with a peaceful meditation, thanking your higher power of choice for the beauty of the day. Remember what made you most grateful today. Please note that you have nearly eight hours before you have to awaken. The perfect day.
Get the schedule for the rest of your day!