Happy New Year!
With a new year comes the inevitable new year's resolutions. And for this year I want to share with you what I've been doing for the last few years after experiencing years of awful sleep and sluggish mornings. Keep reading as I am going to explain to you my morning routines and how they have completely transformed my days, feeling healthier, stronger, more clear minded with a fully improved mental health.
As a quick backstory, my brother and I completely burnt out in 2016. It wasn’t until we were presented with functional mushroom teas that our breakthrough, and the complete transformation of our mental health and our physical ability to achieve our goals, commenced.
What mushrooms have taught us is simply the importance of mind, body and soul before anything else.
Mushrooms have given us a new lease of life and have allowed us to discover many old ancestral and new natural tools to hack the body to consistently improve our wellbeing. It’s our mission to share what we have unearthed, so you can take action and elevate your days!
For this newsletter, I'm gonna share the tools I’ve accumulated over the years to nail my morning routines. I promise you, you will feel amazing, brand new and ready to pound your chest to the sunrise with a great and mighty roar!
How my mornings used to be before mushrooms
For years I was waking up feeling sluggish and tired, with no motivation, anxious and always in a rush. I rarely arrived at the office on time and NEVER had a moment to check in with myself.
This is how my typical morning used to look:
7am: A sudden shock of the alarm erupting in a repetitive siren. Waking up with a panic-stricken fight or flight feeling. I revolt with frustration and routinely hit the snooze button for an extra 15 minutes (twice).
7.30am: Sit up, grab iPhone, race through notifications: IG, Twitter, dating apps, emails, Whatsapp.
7.45am: Stumble out of bed into the bathroom, throw cold water over my face to kick-start the day. A mediocre attempt at brushing my teeth, and no time for a shower or shave.
8am: Never knowing what to wear, I rummage through my wardrobe. I race downstairs for a strong black coffee, routinely looking into my study and seeing my laptop and notebook lying on the desk, and my gym stuff still wet in the washing machine having forgotten to put it on the line to dry!
8.15am: Rush to get everything packed, no time for breakfast, out the door. The train is a mile walk which is too far, so I waste money on an uber.
8.30am: I arrive at the office completely tangled in thoughts, brain fog and anxiety.
As I completely burnt out, I forced myself to look into alternative natural and preventative approaches to improve my wellbeing, and to transform Sluggish Simon. There are only so many pills I could take before realising it was me that had to make the change.
Knowing this was not going to be an easy project, I spent years going to lectures on understanding the body, sitting with neuroscientists, psychologists, and buying books on natural preventative approaches. I listened to countless podcasts on sleep, neuroplasticity, longevity, brain health and motivational talks from Navy SEALs, athletes and successful entrepreneurs.
Did you know it takes 63 days – or 3 cycles of 21 days – to break down a habit or pattern of thinking and entrench a new one? I learnt this recently from Neuroscientist researcher Caroline Leaf, on the Lewis Howe Podcast.
Studies show that Days 1 and 2 are easy as we get a rush of neurotransmitters in our brain that are motivational and make us feel driven. After Days 3 and 4, these chemicals subside and we can feel flat and unmotivated. Many people give up between Days 3 and 5 because there’s no longer that rush. I took these facts and put them into practice for a new way of living.
Below are my simple hacks to allow you to own your mornings going into 2022.
Because categorically when you own your mornings, your days will be amazing. I promise you that.
Side note: To be up before the world wakes up puts you ahead of others. It allows you to take time to appreciate everything and do all the things you would not normally be able to do. Be the first to experience the sound of the dawn chorus and tell me how beautiful it is and how it makes you feel.
5am: Use the sound of nature as an alarm to calmly wake up. Remember, it takes 63 days to change an automated habit, so ensure you repeat this process. The more you repeat this cycle, the more you will wake naturally without an alarm. I always keep my iPhone on Airplane mode and away from my bed. I use this Calm Singing Birds Zone on Spotify. Within no more than 2 minutes of waking up, I rise, get out of bed, make my bed military style with the mantra in my head ‘Task Completion’. Waking with these positive affirmations shifts the brain chemistry into a positive focus state of achievement.
5.15am: I take a cold shower for anything between 2-5 mins. Psychologically it feels good to interrogate fear and the science is as compelling as the action: from allowing you to adapt to general stress, improve immune health, and burn unwanted fat, the activation of electrical impulses to your brain jolts your system to increase alertness, clarity, and energy levels. Endorphins, which are sometimes called the happiness hormones, are also released. This effect leads to feelings of well-being and optimism. Now who doesn’t want to experience that first thing!
5.30am: I stand next to my bed facing where the sun rises, stretching my arms out above my head, eyes closed. I then draw an imaginary circle with my arms, finishing with the palms of my hands opened to commence my blessings and gratitudes. I keep this very simple but acknowledge everything from the blessings of waking up, feeling healthy and hearing my heartbeat, to the gratitude for the loved ones in my life. I am grateful that today I will start anew and aim to achieve more than yesterday. Waking with an appreciation of the simple things in life and the ability to be better than yesterday will put your mind in a content state.
5.40am: I spend 10 mins stretching, doing light movement on my yoga mat in front of my infrared LED light. As the sun is rare here in the UK, this device imitates the rise of the sun offering insane benefits: the production of vitamin D, the activation of ATP (the cell that creates energy), the production of more testosterone increasing libido, the rejuvenation of skin health, strengthening the immune system, and recovering damaged muscles or tissues.
5.50am: I go to the bathroom and spend 10 mins oil pulling coconut oil, which has so many benefits from strengthening teeth, gums, and the jaw, and ridding of oral bacteria, to preventing tooth decay, dry throat, and cracked lips. Whilst oil pulling, I lay my clothes on my bed (ironed and pressed the night before), grab my swimming gear (I’ll explain shortly) and double-check I have everything in my bag which I prepared the night before (laptop, books and research papers).
6am: After oil pulling, I then down a pint of water with organic squeezed lemon and ginger, which is great for hydration, a good source of Vitamin C and great for skin health. It also initiates hydration to the brain, so I can pour a DIRTEA Lion's Mane from my flask in preparation for meditation. (Over 2,000 years ago, Shalin Monks would use Lion's Mane tea to deepen their meditation and activate their Chi). As there's no sound this early in the morning, I sit comfortably on my yoga mat and meditate for 15 minutes. I use the app Brain.FM, which cleverly uses different sound frequencies to push your brain into deep meditative states with the option of guided or non-guided meditation. This is one experience I constantly recommend to those who are pessimistic about meditating.
6.15am: I pour a DIRTEA Mushroom Coffee and add another teaspoon of Lion's Mane. I then sit down and read for 30 mins. I am currently reading Dr Caroline’s Leaf’s new book: Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress, and Toxic Thinking.
7am: I ride to the Serpentine Lake on my Vanmoof S3 where I meet with the DIRTEA tribe to take a morning dip in the cold.
7.30am: The sunrise dip. We do this as a tribe. Together we jump into the lake, form a circle and spend 10 mins in temperatures as cold as 2 degrees. We invite fear and push each other to breathe beyond what we would normally believe we could achieve. The aim is to get comfortable with not being comfortable. Not one of us breaks the circle and we push each other to stay tight using chants, laughter and synchronised breathing led by our breath master Jamie Clements. It’s the wildest experience, because once we leave the lake together we may be cold, but the flood of endorphins firing through the brain puts us all in a state of euphoria. In the next newsletter I’ll share more about this morning dip and the profound benefits for your mind and body.
DIRTEA is not just about our mushrooms, but also about building community. I would love to welcome you. If you are interested just drop me a message on twitter @dirteaworld.
You won’t regret it!