I’m currently homeless. It’s really not a good look when women ask me where I live.
I’ve set foot in six countries so far this year and it’s only January 10th.
Wtf, I ask myself? How do I stay sane?
How can I create a home away from home that keeps me grounded, healthy, productive, and happy?
It all comes down to habits.
Forget your external environment– what is important is your internal environment. This way, regardless of what is going on around you, you can cope.
And these habits aren’t just for people with insane travel schedules. If you can master the regulation of your internal environment and detach from your surroundings, then you’ll be prepared when the world is crumbling around you.
Your significant other is having a shitty day? Not a problem. You are grounded. Your house burns down? Who cares, all you need is your habits. The next 9-11 strikes and people stop traveling? Put me out of business and I’ll go live in a tent and I’ll have the tools to be fulfilled.
Bring on the apocalypse bitch.
How to regulate your internal environment…
A ton has been written on this, so I’m only going to tell you the things you might not know…
-Just glancing at your phone to send a text message before bed can destroy your sleep. Remove the TV from your bedroom, don’t read your iPad, and god-forbid, don’t ever work from your laptop in bed. The blue-lights from our devices inhibit melatonin release while you sleep.
If you are one of those people who has to sleep with the TV, you need to kick this habit. Leaving the Food Network on all night will make you fat, and having Fox News on all night will make you Republican. The media is seeping into your subconscious as you sleep.
Instead, hypnotize yourself with some gentle sounds of light rain or ocean waves you can find in the App-store.
-Block out all the lights. Unplug your DVD player and iPod dock, put tape over the light on your smoke detector, and set your alarm clock as dim as possible. This is a bedroom not a Best Buy.
Try to go to sleep with the patterns of the sun. It’s what humans were designed to do. Go to sleep when the sun goes down, get up when the sun rises. I know, I know… it’s just so hard to create healthy habits when you have Netflix.
-Sober up before you go to bed. Passing out is not sleep. Monitor your sleep patterns with something like the Sleep Cycle app and you’ll see what I’m talking about. A glass of red wine will help you relax before bed, but three or four never lets your body go into deep levels of sleep.
Every morning I wake up and meditate. It doesn’t matter where in the world I am. It’s been said that one hour of meditation can replace several hours of sleep. Through meditation you can put your body into a more relaxed healing state than even sleep.
For beginners check out Omvana or the Calm app.
Meditation has helped me hone my intuition, be more aware of myself, figure out what thoughts are my own and what thoughts are from my surroundings. You know that little voice in your head. It’s probably your mom, your teacher, or a well paid advertising agency. Being aware of what is really you is the essence of knowing yourself.
Play (with yourself)
Ha, see you thought I was going to be all serious about this list. But guess what the second thing I do every single day is?
Yup, you guessed it.
If you want to have a productive, fulfilling day, you better do the most important sh*t first.
To me, that’s play. And it takes discipline. I do it early in the morning before I ever take my phone off of airplane mode. No distractions.
For me, my play is writing. It’s the thing I enjoy most in my day and the thing that is the easiest to get busy and blow off.
At the end of your life, what would you wish you’d done more of? Do that.
At other times in my life the answer was surfing, or learning Spanish… but now, it’s writing.
But wait, notice that I didn’t say spend time with friends or family, or making someone breakfast, or anything that had to do with others. True fulfillment comes from yourself, not by experiencing gratification for what you do for others. Remember how I said, “Have a hot girlfriend? She could get hit by a bus tomorrow Don Juan.” Seek your gratification from within.
This list is about fulfilling yourself first so that you can then give to others.
If you don’t play well with yourself, you’ll never learn to play well with others.
Alright, I’m not about to give you a dissertation on eating healthy, so again I’ll tell you the things you might not know.
-Your brain runs off fats. Fats have gotten a bad rap ya’ll. I’m not going to explain the science behind it in this article, but basically what really makes us fat is all the highly processed carbohydrates that are just simple sugars waiting to spike our glycemic levels and not give our bodies anything of substance to run off of.
What you should be looking into is what foods make your brain work well. Here are a few: avocados, coffee beans, vanilla, salmon, coconut oil, grass fed butter, and dark chocolate. Sounds f*cking delicious if you ask me.
-Snack. Snacking went out of style in the 90′s, just like calories, but if you are traveling, you’ll need to stock up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen some tech CEO tweet, “Just had to eat Burger King + Cinnabon at ATL airport, b/c I’m so busy and self-important.”
Okay maybe it wasn’t those exact 140 characters but people who are too important/busy to eat healthy blow my mind. A real boss would have packed almonds, dark chocolate, and their own bag of green tea to help them beast through their day.
Trust me, this isn’t easy. You have to plan ahead and commit to making your mind and body work better. And oh yeah, about the apocalypse… You’ll find me here in Costa Rica growing my own food. I’ll have three pet chickens that will lay me one egg each for breakfast.
I know, I know, this list is getting long. But let me shorten things up for you here.
Stop going to the gym for two hours. When you factor in the time it takes to go back and forth, and shower after, I completely understand why fitness is so difficult for most people.
Stop walking on the Stairmaster, going backward on the elliptical, and taking three minutes off in between your sets of bicep curls. All you need is a maximum of twenty minutes with your ass kicked.
Adam Griffin our trainer for our Fitness Trips built an app called Bodeefit that gives you a high intensity workout of the day. Some of them can be completed in just five minutes, getting your body to “red line” as he says. In this short amount of time you put your heart rate through the roof, get your cardio-pulmonary system pumping, and secrete all the good hormones that you would in a 2 hour workout. Plus when you go all out, you completely detach from thoughts. If you are sitting on the bench press in between sets, chances are your brain is still thinking about work.
It’s all the benefits of working out in a fraction of the time.
Ah yes, what the rest of the world does between the hours of 9 to 5.
I’ll save you my rant on how those hours were designed by corporations during the industrial revolution to keep factory workers in line, but just know that for the millions of years before that, I’m pretty sure humans had “flex-time”.
If the above is taken care of I guarantee you will be more productive. Your mind and body will be firing on all cylinders and you’ll be ready to eat up whatever tasks get thrown at you during your work day. Your goal should be to get sh*t done, not shuffle papers.
Now, look, let’s be realistic.
Often times work is going to be overwhelming and you are not going to do all these things.
Can’t do them all?
There is a concept I like to refer to as my residual fitness. If I’ve been doing all these things, my level of residual fitness is high. Then, if I slack off during a trip, I feel better about myself. My body + brain are still in good shape and I’m still feeling the benefits.
I’m in the middle of a three days off right now, so I’m training hard, because I know things are about to get crazy.
Even if I know I have a grueling work schedule coming up, I’ll make sure to do something fun, or go out with friends to “get it out of my system.”
If I have a solid level of residual fitness I’ll be well equipped to handle stress, especially when the world is crumbling around me.
When people ask me where “home” is, I don’t think of material things like a house or a bunch of stuff. Sure my basic needs are met– food, water, shelter, but usually what people are really asking is where is your support system?
My home is where my habits are and my goal is to create an internal support system I can bring anywhere.
Image CC by Steve Snodgrass.