Dr. Neale’s 10 Life Systems that keep her feeling her best no matter what life brings.
“My life is built on monotonous automation; I act like a robot. ‘Twas not an easy feat to achieve. I practice formulated monotony to sustain healthy behaviors. I never knew life could be so exciting, colorful, and spicy. My life is better tasted now that I am free from dis-ease, overwhelm, disorganization, to-do lists, and all types of clutter. My robotic lifestyle allows for room and time to play, connect, sample, and create! I have very little to maybe no stress.” – Dr. Neale
The more you can systematize healthful lifestyle choices, the better. It’s similar to having your utility bills on autopay: If the system is set, you don’t have to think about it. I encourage you to set up daily lifestyle systems that are within reach and accessible.
In order of importance:
I practice Bikram yoga on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Mondays and Sundays are bonus days if I feel super ambitious. My packed bag is always in the trunk of my car. I plan my schedule AROUND yoga. My friends, family, and work associates understand that my commitment to yoga comes before anything or anyone else. It took me 1.5 years to establish a 3 times-per-week routine. The first year I practiced, I averaged 1.5 times per week. Bikram Yoga is a complete exercise. It works all muscle groups and organ tissue, it provides high-intensity interval cardiovascular training, it stretches all muscle groups, it is meditative, it is detoxifying, it is hydrating, it is balancing, it demands present thinking and roping in the monkey mind, it is communal, it is never easy and always challenges, and it is fat burning (in 90 minutes you travel from glucose to glycogen-to-fat for energy production). It took thousands of
years to perfect yoga. It is a complete movement package. The heat teaches, facilitates, and challenges. I always take a cold shower after class for the added hydrotherapy benefits!
2. Food Gathering and Prep
My husband food shops on Mondays after work. We spend $125 or less per week on groceries and $75 per week on SunBasket . We buy food and drink for 3 dinner meals (meat/fish and vegetables), grub for lunches (either chicken and vegetable stir-fry, chicken lentil vegetable soup, chicken and salad greens, or chicken and roast vegetables), smoothies, mocktails, and Sunday brunch. We eat all organic, indulge in fancy dark chocolate and spendy coconut water, and eat high-quality animal products. We allocate $900 per month for all groceries (including Sun Basket). This roughly equals $5/meal per person.
Monday: We eat a morning smoothie or chia-seed pudding for breakfast. My husband cooks workweek lunch food in bulk on Monday evening. He also makes up an easy dinner of meat and protein (no recipe required).
Tuesday/Wed/Thurs: We eat a morning smoothie or chia-seed pudding for breakfast. Sun Basket arrives on Tuesdays. We eat whatever bulk lunch he prepared, and we cook the Paleo meals we receive from Sun Basket for dinner. The meals from the basket are always different, always delicious, and always easy to prepare.
Friday: We eat a morning smoothie or chia-seed pudding for breakfast. We eat the workweek lunch my husband prepared on Monday evening. He also makes an easy dinner of meat and protein (no recipe required).
Saturday: We eat a morning smoothie or chia-seed pudding for breakfast. We bulk cook a vegetable and bean (sometimes meat) stir-fry for lunch and we grill dinner (meat/fish and vegetables).
Sunday: We make Paleo brunch. We eat leftovers from Saturday bulk stir-fry for lunch, and we “do whatever” for dinner.
Snacks? We eat popcorn, coconut water, chocolate, mocktails, tea with honey and cacao, hard boiled eggs, baby food, kombucha, raw fruit-and-nut trail mix (no sugar added), spiced hummus, or corn chips (organic/non-GMO).
Eating out? If the urge arises, we eat out! No big. I make the restaurant selection upon what indulgences I will allow for the meal. I know WAY before I review the menu my yes/no filter. Nowadays, my filter is naturally decided because when I eat toxic food, my body has a really hard time. My body always forgives me, but it really struggles to recover. A hearty rotation of supplements accompanies our weekday breakfasts and dinners when we remember.
We use the Mint app as a way to set and monitor budgets and track our spending. We have a joint account that we each contribute to for our bills and living expenses. Our bills are on autopay, and we earn rewards wherever possible. We have individual accounts for personal expenses. We use Credit Karma to track our credit scores and reports for free!
We start transitioning from couch/TV/phone/iPad to our bedtime routine at about 10:50 pm each night. A time-for-bed alarm goes off on my phone. Our SunRizer (a sunrise simulator) awakens us at 7:05 am daily.
I deep clean my home every other Sunday (early morning). I lightly clean my home every other Sunday (early morning). I do yoga laundry as needed and all other laundry every Monday. I load the dishwasher after dinner and before retiring for our evening chill time. I unload the dishwasher in the morning before work. I straighten the house daily. Every item has a home or it gets discarded/given away or recycled. I am a want-to-be minimalist. We each have our chores and we each stay committed to keeping up on them.
7. Emoting, Spirit, and Creativity
I write morning pages every morning, which takes about 15 minutes. It’s how I get answers from God. It helps my person and spirit stay centered, and it helps me process discontent so I can show up with my best self for the day. I have a punch card to my local clay studio. It’s a cheap hobby I enjoy. I make pottery when the opportunity shows itself. I am a novice potter, but making anything from clay is pure fun.
8. Saying YES and Saying NO
I say yes only when I am SURE it’s a yes. This means I do NOT schedule social commitments more than one week out (weddings or big life events excluded) because I do NOT know what my future self will be in the mood for. I know when to say no. I am easily overstimulated and my cup gets full very quickly. Once full, the answer is no. I still test the boundaries of my yes and my no, playing with permissions and old patterns. This is my practice. Most older folks I know are very clear on what they will do and will not do. I strive to be like my elders in most ways, but especially in this sense. As a recovering to-do lister, I can relate to the fear of losing track of a to-do item. Everything that needs to get done flags me naturally right when I need to do it. It takes a bit of trust to let go of writing lists. Don’t get me wrong: I calendar and task myself, but minimally.
I Marco Polo. It is a fun and real-time platform that helps you stay connected to loved or liked ones. It’s a place you can share and stay abreast of each other’s daily moments. You can’t help but be authentic in your recordings. It is worlds better than Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, and so on and so forth.
I wear a uniform to work. I have yoga clothes for bang-around time (I love Lulu Roe!). I buy high-quality undergarments and socks so they last. I Stitch Fix and use Amazon Prime for all shopping that doesn’t need in-person attention. I’ll pay shipping fees my time is a much more valuable commodity.