Happy October everyone!
This month, I’m taking inspiration from Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (for a great summary check out his interview from the Art of Charm podcast). So let’s keep it simple. I’ll start with an anecdote, and then give you 5 essentials.
The Anecdote: A few years back, before I went into Speech-Language Pathology, I had the opportunity to work with a good friend of mine in his neurology practice. I shadowed him both at the hospital and at the outpatient clinic. I saw patients with him, discussed cases, did some clerical work, and tried (unsuccessfully) not to faint when he stuck needles in people. Most of his patients at the clinic were there for chronic spinal pain or migraine headaches. To my untrained eye, their symptoms, though similar, seemed to have disparate causes. But to my neurologist friend, these problems could all be explained by problems in one or more of the following areas: nutrition, hydration, exercise, sleep, and relaxation. He told me that if people could optimize these 5 areas of their lives, he would be out of a job. That idea has never left me and in this newsletter, I’d like to share one essential tip for each of these 5 areas.
Nutrition: Reduce or eliminate sugar. I challenge you to go 1 week without sugar. Go longer if you can. For those of you who take up the challenge, send me an email on the day you start. We will have a contest with an awesome prize for who ever goes the longest. Why eliminate sugar? I’ll let Dr. Peter Attia take that one. Sugar 101: How harmful is sugar?
Hydration: Drink good water. Tap water is not good, unless it comes from a well. Filtered water is not much better, unless you have a really good filter (no, Brita and Pür are not good filters). I just got the AquaTru water filter for my home, and it is worth every penny. But you don’t have to pay every penny. If you are thinking about getting one, let me know and I’ll give you a promo code for a $100 discount.
Exercise: In honor of all those patients I saw with chronic spinal pain, I’d like to share this amazing back workout I’ve been using regularly since January. Low back workout with Dr. Eric Goodman. (credit to my cousin Joey for sharing this with me)
Sleep: We all know we need plenty of good quality sleep, but so often we fail to get it. It’s like my pawpaw used to say after picking hot peppers when his hands were all cut up from some other awesome grandpa thing he had been up to: “Robbie, I knew better, but I didn’t do better.” Try relaxing before bedtime by using the mammalian dive reflex to slow your heart rate down: splash cold water on your face for 20 seconds, or better yet, submerge your face in a bowl of ice water for 20 seconds. Let me know how it goes.
Relaxation: Meditate. I like to do it first thing in the morning, before coffee or breakfast. Some people prefer to do it before bed. If you are totally new to meditation, start with the Headspace App, and do their 10 for 10 program. It is a free intro to meditation. 10 minutes a day for 10 days.
Okay, that’s all for this month. I’ve really appreciated the feedback I’ve gotten from everyone and I look forward to hearing more about your own adventures in ass-kicking.
Until next month,