From my friend, Isabelle:
Whenever I find that I have gotten myself back into a cycle of reaching for a coffee first thing, I implement this quick fix. In fact, whenever I find that my health or happiness are not where I want them to be, I implement this.
Like most of the better fixes in life, it is very simple, and works 100% of the time you actually DO IT.
Wake. Walk. Water.
Wake - ideally to no alarm.
Walk - outdoors for 15-60 minutes. Do this immediately on waking. Do not pause. Do not delay. Do not turn on your cell phone, and do NOT check your email. You CAN stop and leash up the dog(s) but no other distractions until AFTER the walk.
Water - Water yourself, to the tune of about 1.5 liters, consumed during your walk.
If you are a true caffeine hound, then doing this the few first times is going to be really hard…. for about 5 minutes. Then you will find that you are waking up, feeling pretty good, and ready to face the day.
All that, and DRUG free… AMAZING.
Let’s look at the simple benefits of Wake. Walk. Water.
Hydration: if you are even partially dehydrated, mental and physical performance can suffer, leading to lethargy and fuzzy thinking. I don’t think we need to walk around carrying a bottle and sipping water all day, but start your day out fully hydrated by knocking back 1.5 liters in your morning walk and I guarantee you will thank me for it.
Light sensitivity and neurotransmitter activity: our brains are pretty well cued to run off LIGHT as a signal for when to get up and go, and when to lay down and face plant. (No screens late at night and pitch black room for sleeping, anyone?). Now we are simply offering the opposite trigger. SUNLIGHT. Body and brain take note, it is wake up time.
Vitamin D and the sun: I don’t push the D3 in a bottle much mainly because I MUCH PREFER THE SUN. This is an opportunity to get outdoors, and get some sun. Ensuring adequate levels of Vitamin D is easily one of the most important factors in total health and happiness.
Movement, oxygen and neurotransmitter activity: when was the last time that going for a brisk walk made you feel sleepy? There are complete university degrees on what happens to our body when we exercise so going into it in detail could take me up to four years. The short version: There is not a SINGLE hormone in your body that won’t thank you for going for a walk. Movement rocks. Sunshine rocks. Being outdoors rocks. Once again, even a little bit of movement (especially coupled with the light) will induce a nice natural release of all those wonderful transmitters you need in order to focus and think clearly.
Connection with nature: walk in the most natural environment you can find. Like the nasty food most people eat, our modern lives tend to be very far removed from our ancestral norm in terms of connection with nature. Even little bits of exposure to nature are good for happiness and stress levels.
Wake up each day without reaching for a drug. In this case, caffeine.
Improve health and happiness.